A bee bit my bottom line: TIFF buzz crosses the line into the insect kingdom

A bee bit my bottom line: TIFF buzz crosses the line into the insect kingdom

In an example of a festival pun gone too far, 10,000 “buzz”-crazy bees had the honey harvested from their hives on the rooftop of the Fairmont Royal York yesterday morning. Three queens and their colony have been staying at the hotel in the “V.I.Bee Suite,” the “Honey Moon Suite” and the “Royal Sweet” since early in the summer, producing the fresh ingredient for a new $22 drink called Festival Buzz.

In what is probably one of the more baffling TIFF media assignments, the cameraman sent to cover the story for CBC was allergic to bees and was clearly freaked out. “The last time I got stung, I woke up in a hospital,” he said.

Because he was wearing shorts and there were no more protective jumpsuits, staff ordered an oversized kitchen uniform for him to wear. “I don’t want them going up your pants,” said Cathy Kozma, chair of the Toronto Beekeepers Cooperative, the group performing the harvest. The cameraman had trouble keeping the drawstring pants up, though, which drew a few giggles from reporters on the scene.

Kozma said the bees that are “less aggressive” and more resistant to temperature changes were chosen for the urban environment. Actually, it’s better to say less “temperamental,” she corrected us, because it makes the bees sound less scary.

In this town, everyone’s worried about bad PR.

The Festival Buzz cocktail is:

• 1 oz. white peach purée• 1/4 oz. Royal York hotel honey• 4 oz. Moët champagne

It’s available at the Fairmont Royal York Library Bar until September 14.—Melita Kuburas