World Biodiversity Day

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On this World Biodiversity Day, we wanted to tell you about the work of the Grey Nuns beekeepers in Châteauguay. The apiary on St-Bernard island has its origins in a swarm of bees that settled on the eastern slope of the garden in 1920. Composed then of five hives, the apiary operated by the Grey Nuns was still modest. Community chronicles state that ‘these bees, in addition to serving to fertilize the orchard, provided honey for the manor staff’. The apiary was expanded to fifty hives in 1947. A laboratory was built at the same time to allow the sisters to extract honey.

In addition to Châteauguay, two apiaries operated by the Grey Nuns produced honey at Ferme St-Charles (in Montreal) as well as at the Métairie Saint-Joseph (in Nicolet).

ASGM, L004, CFEC-01, Ressources of the St-Bernard island, apiary, n.d.
CFEC-05, Ressources of the St-Bernard island, honey extraction, n.d.

ASGM, F123, Châteauguay, sisters beekeepers, around 1960 :