Plenty of buzz from Bee-utiful public art in historic Whitby


Published June 4, 2024 at 10:45 am

Bee art
Honeycomb bee art carving by Ryan Locke (thetimberripper)


A bee-utiful public art piece in Whitby’s historic heart is creating quite the buzz, with the trunk of a century-old black walnut tree preserved and transformed into a hive of activity to celebrate Whitby’s status as a Bee City.

The Town commissioned tree carver Ryan Locke, known by his Instagram handle @thetimberripper, to bring his expertise and passion to the project and he didn’t disappoint, turning the old tree into a honeycomb with intricately carved bees – highlighting the important role of bees in the local ecosystem and giving the tree new life.

Located in a prominent spot within the Town, across from Whitby’s historic Centennial Building and Courthouse Theatre, the art piece was the first public art project completed under Town’s new Public Art Policy passed by Council in February.

The project was completed in time for World Bee Day May 20.

The piece celebrates environmental conservation and recognizes Whitby’s designation as an official Bee City in 2022.

The reaction from residents has been overwhelmingly positive:

  • “Just drove past it – it’s BEE-utiful!!! Fabulous artistry! A wonderful new life for the old tree.”
  • “This is amazing way to go!!”
  • “Will have to bring the kids by to admire it.”
  • “We saw this today. It looks fab.”

The Town of Whitby is committed to becoming a healthy, sustainable and complete community, with its status as a Bee City one of the ways it is accomplishing that goal. The Town, which takes care of 15,000 bees, hopes to ease some of the pressure pollinators face from pests and diseases, habitat loss and climate change by implementing several initiatives, including:

  • Operating the Seeds for Bees Native Plant Nursery
  • Developing a Community Greening Program in partnership with LEAF to increase the native tree population of Whitby
  • Volunteer tree and shrub planting events hosted by the Town and LEAF.
  • Pollinator Project Native Plant Grant

“By adopting honeybees, we are helping change people’s perspective of the urban environment and reconnecting our community with the subtle wonders of nature.”

For more information on the carving and other Whitby’s Public Art projects, visit the Town’s arts trail and go to @ExploreWhitby on Instagram.

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