Son of Five Rivers Blog

For the advancement of Entrepreneurship, Sustainability & the Ecology of Everyday Life

Keeping Bees at Fairmont Hotel, Vancouver


Graeme Evans, director of housekeeping at Vancouver’s Fairmont Waterfront hotel, opens a hive last week to show off the bees and their honey to guests. A beekeeper, Evans keeps beehives on a deck at the hotel. And no, he doesn’t wear protective gear. Photograph by Gerry Kahrmann, The Province

Bees cause buzz at Fairmont hotel

Three hives on third-floor deck provide kitchen with honey, guests with stories

Graeme Evans is undoubtedly Vancouver’s nattiest – and most hospitable – beekeeper.

You won’t catch Evans in one of those bulky, netted helmets and spacesuits that most of his colleagues don when tending their hives. He looks after his trio of nests while wearing a dapper, crisply pressed suit. And tie.

Then again, Evans is director of housekeeping for the posh downtown Fairmont Waterfront hotel.

And beekeeping is just part of his busy day ensuring that guest facilities pass muster.

Those facilities grew to include the hives, and a lush, bee-friendly garden surrounding them, several years ago when the international hotel chain decided to adopt a signature environmental program for each of its facilities.

Evans thought immediately of beekeeping, given what he knew of the massive threats faced by the world’s bee populations and their key role in agriculture everywhere.

The hotel liked the idea and set up the hives in what was once a pretty but nectar-free stretch of ivy bed on the north side of the hotel’s third floor above the busy downtown streets.

The hives, just metres from the spa’s outdoor pool and just across the roof from the hotel’s kitchen garden, are thriving.

And Evans’ idea has caught fire with the hotel chain. Toronto’s Royal York and New York’s Algonquin hotels both host bees now, too. So do the chain’s hotels in Dallas and Singapore, he says.

Locally, it’s meant heavier pollination of plants within a six-kilometre radius, including Stanley Park. Ultra-locally, it’s meant the hotel kitchen gardens bear massive loads of everything from apples to pumpkins.

By Christina Montgomery,
The Province Newspaper
June 7, 2009

September 12, 2009 Posted by | Business Model, Creativity, Great Ideas, Marketing, Sustainable Community Development | | Leave a comment

The $10 Price Scannig Code (Free?)

Links: Retail Council of Canada & Competition Bureau of Canada

Code of Practice: Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code

If it’s Scanned Wrong Its Free or its $10 Off

Canadian retailers are committed to accurate scanner pricing. Incorrect prices can result in poor customer relations and legal sanctions. Consequently many retailers are now implementing a variety of procedures that were developed to help achieve and maintain accurate scanner pricing.

The Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code (“the Code”) evolved from the collaborative efforts of Retail Council of Canada (RCC), the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores (CACDS), the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG), and the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD). These associations are composed of national, regional and local retailers selling a wide assortment of general merchandise, as well as pharmaceutical and food products.

This diversity in the Canadian retail environment underscores the advisability of a voluntary code that can be widely used.

The Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code has been endorsed by the Competition Bureau.

The purpose of the Code is to:

  1. Visibly demonstrate retailer commitment to scanner price accuracy;
  2. Provide retailers with a consistent national framework for dealing with scanner price accuracy issues; and
  3. Provide the retail industry with a mechanism for consumer redress in scanner price accuracy cases, to be managed by the industry through an industry committee.

The Code applies to all scanned Universal Product Code (UPC), bar coded, and/or Price Look Up (PLU) merchandise sold in stores, with the exception of goods not easily accessible to the public (e.g. prescription drugs and behind-the-counter cosmetics), and individually price-ticketed items.

The Code does not apply in provinces or territories where existing legislation or regulation covers these concerns.

A retailer adopting the Code must abide by the policies outlined below.

See full size image

Retailers will implement an Item Free Scanner Policy as follows:
1.1 On a claim being presented by the customer, where the scanned price of a product at checkout is higher than the price displayed in the store or than advertised by the store, the lower price will be honoured; and

    (a) if the correct price of the product is $10 or less, the retailer will give the product to the customer free of charge; or
    (b) if the correct price of the product is higher than $10, the retailer will give the customer a discount of $10 off the corrected price.

1.2 Where the same error recurs in scanning multiple units of a given product during a given transaction, the retailer will correct the scanning error in respect of each unit of the given product purchased, but is obliged to apply the policy set out in 1.1 (a) and (b) in respect of only one of the units.

1.3 Paragraph 1.1 only applies after the final sale price of the purchased item has been displayed at the checkout, including relevant rebate, discount or promotional coupons.

1.4 To be eligible for the Item Free Scanner Policy, the product must match the product description on the corresponding shelf tag.

1.5 The Item Free Scanner Policy does not apply if the barcode or shelf label for a given product has been tampered with.

1.6 The Item Free Scanner Policy does not apply to a product where, in respect of that product, the law:

Signatories to Scanner Accuracy
CACDS Supporting Companies:
Shoppers Drug Mart
The Groupe Jean Coutu (NB and Ont only)
Lawton Drug Stores
London Drugs
Lovell Drugs
Pharma-save (BC and Sask)
Pharma PlusCCGD Supporting Companies:
Canada Safeway Limited
The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company of Canada Limited
Loblaw Companies Limited
Sobeys Inc.
Metro Inc.
Thrifty Foods
Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd.
Co-op Atlantic
Federated Co-operatives LimitedRCC Supporting Companies:
Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd.
The Home Depot Canada
Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd.
Toys r Us
Wal*Mart Canada Corp.
Giant Tiger Stores Ltd.
The North West Company
Best Buy/Future Shop
2 Home Hardware franchisees
CFIG Supporting Companies:
Thrifty Foods
Overwaitea Food Group
The Harry Watson Group
Longos Brothers Fruit Markets
+ 1374 independent locations

    (a) establishes a minimum price (or specified price); or

    (b) does not permit the retailer to offer a discount or a rebate.


2.1 Once a scanner pricing error is brought to the attention of the retailer, appropriate steps should be taken as quickly as possible to correct the source of the error.

2.2 When a retailer cannot immediately correct a scanning error in respect of a product, it will post a correction notice in a conspicuous place. Once such a notice has been posted, the Item Free Scanner Policy is no longer in effect in respect of the relevant product.


3.1 Retailers will apply the Code, both in letter and in spirit.

3.2 Retailers will establish appropriate internal policies and procedures for maintaining a high level of scanner price accuracy.

3.3 Retailers will display the sign attached hereto as Attachment 1 at all store entrances or in a conspicuous location near the store entrances. Retailers will display the sign attached hereto as Attachment 2 at each checkout station within their stores.

3.4 Retailers will train staff on the Code generally and the Item Free Scanner Policy in particular.

3.5 Retailers will have copies of their current advertising material (e.g. flyers, etc.) available and readily accessible for customer reference.


4.1 For those products that are not individually price-ticketed, a clear and legible label must be affixed to the shelf next to the product.

4.2 The shelf label (peg label, basket label) must contain an accurate description of the item and shall include the price of the item or, where the item is sold at a price based on a unit of measurement, the price per unit of measurement.

4.3 The price on the shelf label must be in at least 28-point bold type print, and product description in at least 10-point type print.

4.4 A sign for a given product within the retailer’s premises which is not displayed with that product (i.e., is displayed elsewhere within the retailer’s premises), shall comply with the minimum requirements described above and be at least 38.71 sq. cm in size.


5.1 The cash register receipt provided to the customer for a transaction must contain, at a minimum, the following information:

  • the retailer’s name;
  • the date of the transaction;
  • the nature of each item purchased and/or any distinguishing mark (subject to the system’s limitations); and
  • the price and description of each purchased item


6.1 A Scanner Price Accuracy Committee (“the Committee”) will be created to review the Code on an annual basis and to recommend required amendments. The Committee should be composed of representatives of CACDS, CFIG, CCGD, RCC and the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC).

6.2 The Committee should be responsible for keeping the Code up to date.

6.3 The Committee should meet at least twice a year in order to supervise national implementation of the Code and consider any recommended changes to it.

6.4 The Committee should create sector specific panels (i.e. Grocery, Drug or General Merchandise). Each panel should:

    (a) be composed of representatives of the respective trade associations and the CAC;

    (b) review any outstanding complaints arising from the Item Free Scanner Policy; and

    (c) recommend ways of resolving the complaint and provide relevant direction to the appropriate contact person.

6.5 The Committee shall prepare an annual report for the Competition Bureau concerning the number of complaints received and their resolution.


7.1 When a scanner price error occurs, the cashier will be authorized to implement the Item Free Scanner Policy.

7.2 A customer dissatisfied with the cashier’s decision will be directed to the store manager or supervisor.

7.3 If the store manager or supervisor cannot resolve the dispute, the customer should be directed to a designated company representative.

7.4 The time period for considering a particular complaint should be left to the discretion of the retailer. However, generally complaints should be resolved as expeditiously as possible and, in any event, no later than one month after the error is alleged to have occurred.

7.5 In the event that the dispute between the retailer and the consumer cannot be resolved:

    (a) either party may refer the complaint to the Scanner Price Accuracy Committee; and

    (b) if the dispute remains unresolved it may, at the request of either party, be referred to a designated arbitrator on a cost recovery basis.

2007, Retail Council of Canada — The Voice of Retail

September 5, 2009 Posted by | Ads, Brochure, Business, Business Model, Creativity, Great Ideas, Marketing | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Idea: Breakfast Franchise – Cora’s

BrunchPhoto of Cora TsouflidouChez Cora

So if I was going to choose a breakfast franchise to open, this would be the one I would run with.. I think this would pass iHop, De-dutch, Denny’s etc.

Here’s a a little article about Cora Tsouflidou from the CBC show Fortune Hunters:

Sometimes it’s more than a desire to make money that causes someone to open their own business — sometimes it’s out of necessity.

No one knows this better Cora Tsouflidou, the self-styled “Canadian Queen of Breakfast” and founder of the 100-location chain Cora’s Breakfast and Lunch.

Born in a small town on the Gaspe Peninsula, Cora grew up poor with dreams of becoming a writer. “I spent my whole youth studying to become a writer, that was my passion – I figured I would become a teacher and then jump into writing.”

After attending just two years of university, majoring in classical languages and literature, Cora met her future husband, got married and had three children and was happy as a housewife and mother.

But after 13 years of marriage, Cora’s husband left her with three young children, no money and no job.

“At 40 I found myself alone and I had to do something,” says Cora. “Studying I guess didn’t teach a trade to earn a living, so I sold the family house and opened a little snack bar. Not because I wanted to do a big breakfast chain, I didn’t even know about it, but I just needed to feed my kids and what I loved was cooking.”

Her first location wasn’t much – just a 29-seat snack bar, with Cora behind the grill. She quickly discovered that breakfast was the busiest time of day.

“Suddenly, we were the talk of the town,” she says. “Everyone was talking about the Cora breakfast.”

Cora began partnering with friends and family and opening locations throughout the Montreal area. Until a chance encounter put franchising on the menu. A woman approach Cora and asked for a franchise.

“‘Franchise, what is Franchise?’ I ask her,” recounts Cora. “And she say ‘I pay you money and I open a store and you show me what to do. Do you think there’s a Ronald McDonald in each McDonald store?”

From there, Cora quickly spread her Morning Glory through the province of Quebec and then on into Ontario and the rest of the country, extending her reign as Canada’s Queen of Breakfast, opening their hundredth store in January.

And as for her dream of becoming a writer? “A few years ago a publisher asked me to write a book. This is my message: if you believe it, you can achieve it.”

September 5, 2009 Posted by | Business, Business Development, Great Ideas | , , , | Leave a comment

The Golden Ratio of Design & Development

August 30, 2009 Posted by | Art, Business Development, Business Model, Creativity, Great Ideas | | Leave a comment

Business ER Hotline

Business BC Launches “Business ER Hotline”:

Economic Climate a Hot Topic for Small Business Sector

Vancouver – Small Business BC (SBBC) has launched the “Business ER (Emergency) Hotline” providing BC’s small businesses with the solutions and business strategies to deal with the current economic conditions.

The Business ER Hotline, 1-800-667-2272, will enable SBBC to quickly address and respond to crisis-related business issues.

In addition to a 1-800 number, clients can ask questions and access information via email, or they can go to the Business ER Hotline website,, or visit the SBBC Vancouver office in person, 601 West Cordova Street.

SBBC Consulting CEO, George Hunter, explains the reason for launching the Business ER Hotline: “Our staff has noted a significant increase in questions relating to changes in the economy.  For example, people want to know what kind of training programs are available for upgrading skills, or, which sectors are showing promise for new business opportunities, such as BC’s healthcare sector.  There are many people newly out of work who are now exploring the idea of starting a business.”

SBBC also reports an increase in questions regarding financing options and business strategies for tougher economic times such as how to cut expenses and build revenue, as well as a significant number of inquiries regarding labour standards.

“The Business ER Hotline offers a direct way to get timely information out to business owners and their employees as well,” says Hunter, “The small business community is important to our economy and SBBC is pleased to be able to provide a link to current information and provide support as small business owners navigate a changing economic landscape.”

Hunter encourages small business owners to contact SBBC via the Business ER Hotline, or go to their website,, to find out more about the comprehensive services SBBC offers, such as financing options and sources, government acts and regulations, one-on-one business counseling, market research and consultation, business planning services, business seminars, e-business information and an education and resource centre

August 29, 2009 Posted by | Ads, Blogging, Brochure, Business, Business Development, Business Model, Creativity, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Government, Grants, Great Ideas, Human Resources, Investment, Marketing, Micro Credit, Packaging, Products, Sales, Services, Venture Capital | , , , | Leave a comment


Imagine a future in which wireless electricity makes everyday products more convenient, reliable, and environmentally friendly.

WiTricity Corp.Cell phones, game controllers, laptop computers, mobile robots, even electric vehicles capable of re-charging themselves without ever being plugged in. Flat screen TV’s and digital picture frames that hang on the wall—without requiring a wire and plug for power. Industrial systems and medical devices made more reliable by eliminating trouble prone wiring and replaceable batteries. WiTricity Corp. is working to make this future a reality, developing wireless electricity technology that will operate safely and efficiently over distances ranging from centimeters to several meters—and will deliver power ranging from milliwatts to kilowatts.

WiTricity Corp.’s vision is to develop a family of wireless electric power components that will enable OEM’s in a broad range of industries and applications to make their products truly “wireless.” Wireless electric power delivered over room scale distances, and with high efficiency. Wireless electric power that is safe for people and animals. Wireless electric power—imagine no more… it’s here!

examples of consumer applications for WiTricityexamples of industrial applications for WiTricityexamples of transportation applications for WiTricityexamples of other applications for WiTricity

August 29, 2009 Posted by | Business, Business Model, Creativity, Great Ideas, Information Technology (I.T.) | , | Leave a comment

Portable Work Station

These LEED (Leader in Energy & Environmental Design) and Built Green Building Certifications are the in thing when it comes to new development.   This means that those who ware developing news sustainable and homes and commercial units are bring more work with them to the job site.   That’s why I think this is great product and a great idea.


Is It Transportable? From Louis Vuitton to the Finley Plan Station, we are intrigued by transportable designs. They usually take up a lot less space, and are well suited to a more mobile lifestyle. They often display clever use of materials and hardware, and ingenious design ideas. And, like the Finley Plan Station, they don't always cost the earth. More: Less is More: Fold Away Wall Desks Room in a Box: You Can Take it With You Credit: Finley Products

August 28, 2009 Posted by | Construction, Creativity, Geothermal, Great Ideas, Green Roofs, LEED, Packaging, Products | Leave a comment

Green Roofs are changing Architecture and Planning

Here is a great look at what is possible in the field of green roofs.

Many thanks and CREDIT to: Erik Christensen via Wikipedia, Credit: Alyson Hurt in Wikipedia, Credit: Vancouver Convention Centre, Credit: Green, Credit: Lloyd Alter, Toronto, Credit: Tree Hugger, Credit: Scott Torrance, Credit: Credit CPG Consultants via Greensource, Credit: Fred Ballerini (project biologist, green roof design and installation) Architect: Carver + Schicketanz, via Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

Green roofs are not new; they have been used for thousands of years because they helped insulate, thrived in the sun instead of rotting, and other than the increased structure, they were cheap as, well, the dirt that they were planted in. Then flat roofs came in and were covered in tar and asphalt, which needed a lot of maintenance. Engineers and architects didn’t worry much about them; nobody could see them. Roofs became parking lots for equipme

Sometimes they developed naturally and organically, like this rooftop garden in lower Manhattan that like Topsy, just grew. And grew, and eventually evolved from a New York roof garden into what they now call a Green Roof.


They are showing up everywhere, even when they don't quite fit the architectural idiom. The new green roof at the Vancouver Convention Centre is big and on its own a lovely thing. But an earlier phase of the Convention Centre, designed by Canadian great Eberhard Zeidler, was designed to be light, airy, and to create a dramatic profile reminiscent of sails. How does a green roof compare?


Oddball green roofs are also beginning to show up in oddball locations, like this one that looks like a putting green on the top deck of a cruise ship. It got special recognition this year at the Green Roof Awards for Excellence, which started its explantion with: Most people find the idea of a garden or lawn on a 15-storey building quite unusual. Now imagine a grassy playing field, 15-storeys up on the deck of an ocean-going cruise-ship.


Lisa Rapoport had an equally difficult challenge with the roof of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; here were the fanciest tables in the high end restaurant on in the Daniel Liebskind addition, overlooking an ugly black tar roof with barely any structural capacity to hold the roof. She designed a complex and elegant sliver of a green roof that weighs barely three pounds per square foot, but will definitely improve the view.


Scott Torrance has even designed what might be called a temporary green roof; the tenant wanted one, but the landlord wanted to be sure it would or could go away. So it is all in planters and trays, sitting on top of the existing roof.


It didn't take long before green roofs started seriously influencing the architecture itself. Renzo Piano's museum, located in the middle of a park, is covered with glorious hills of green roof that are among its most dramatic features. The green roof defines the building; No architect would have designed it that way if it was asphalt or EPDM. More at Jaymi's tour: A Trip to the California Academy of Sciences (Slideshow)


When one of the Giants of Architecture, Kenzo Tange, designs your university and puts in a 200 acre park as the "green lungs" of the campus, what do you do? The designer,Hoong Be Lok of CPG decided to make a "non-building building" that would allow it build on the central green space "without taking away from it." It is a lovely green roof, but nobody can call it a "non-building building", it is as real as any other building on campus unless you work for Google Maps. Would Kenzo Tange have approved? Or are green roofs being used to put a new green sheen on projects that might otherwise have been more problematic to get approved? More: With Green Roof, Nanyang University School of Art Tries to Disappear


Green roofs were originally thought of as a technology that reduces heat island effect, helped manage stormwater and improved air quality. Perhaps to everyone's surprise, they have turned into planning tools to help put buildings where no building has gone before, are radically changing the architectural form of buildings, the way architects present buildings (see the rash of aerial perspectives-who ever showed rooftops before?) and the respective roles of architects and landscape architects. Like this 2009 award winner, a guest house and garage 200 yards away from the Pacific ocean, they can help produce great architecture and they can help hide bad or inappropriately sited architecture. Let's just be vigilant to ensure that they are not misused and brought into disrepute by using them as excuses to put buildings in places they shouldn't be, just because they are green. More: Are Green Roofs the New Mirrored Glass?

August 28, 2009 Posted by | Business, Business Model, Clean Energy, Community Economic Development (CED), Construction, Creativity, Great Ideas, Green Roofs, LEED, Products, Solar, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saving The Bee’s Project

Most of the world’s crops depend on pollination by bees. Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, “man would have only four years of life left”.

“This newly created hive of bees was overwhelmed by a wasp attack … every single bee was killed … all the eggs and larvae were eaten … all the honey was stolen by the wasps … I found a large pile of dead bees on the mesh floor … no living bees in the hive at all … hundreds of bee-wings scattered … I could see legs, heads, thoraxes by the hundreds … I didn’t realize that wasps physically dismember bees, biting off wings, legs and heads … possibly they do this to carry away the bees’ abdomens, which they may use to feed their own larvae … I made six new wasp traps today and placed them around the hives … there were dozens of wasps inside the traps within 15 minutes … so the local wasp population evidently is really high this year …”

The predatory nature of wasps actually helps balance things in certain ecological systems.  Their action against harmful caterpillars, for example, can be useful in the Sierra foothills in California.

But more than half of fruit and vegetable crops may be pollinated by honey bees. They are honored by many entomologists, in fact, as among the most beneficial of insect species – and that’s before they produce 200 million pounds of honey annually.

Wasps are not the only threat to bees. The so called Colony collapse disorder (CCD), is a relatively new phenomenon, which causes whole colonies of bees to disappear. CCD is believed to pose a serious threat to pollination in the future and stresses why we have to protect bees.

When wasps raid beehives, it never goes well for the bees. They’re no match for the larger, more powerful wasps. A single attack normally takes out an entire hive, as is described in the August 2008 account excerpted above, from California.

The significance of the design name “6.40mm,” then becomes quickly evident. The girth of the average bee is only 6.40 millimeters, a third of what a wasp’s may be. And by creating cell-shaped holes big enough for bees to enter a modern hive, but too small for wasps to follow them in, a group of designers from Seoul and Hong Kong believe they are able to make an effective intervention in this cycle of destruction.

“The new beehive we designed is totally similar to others at first glance,” the team writes in its documentation.” But in addition to the smaller hole, the new hive is made of six wooden boards. The top cover contains a steel piece to hold the body of the box together. The bottom has two legs for air flow. An instruction manual is engraved on the interior. And the “queen excluder” – which keeps the queen bee safely in the “brood chamber” – is positioned under the storage area for honey.

“Through a little change of thinking,” the team writes, “we can change big.”

no bee’s no pollen,
no pollen no plants,
no plants no animals,
no animals no food.

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Creativity, Great Ideas, Life, Packaging, Products, Sustainability | , , , , | 1 Comment

Sheltering the Urban Homeless

Here’s an Idea, an inflatable igloo-looking shelter, the ParaSITE is meant to attach to the exhaust points of urban buildings’ heating and cooling systems – in a sense, making a parasitic relationship to the air needed to inflate the shelter.

Though the creation of permanent housing must always be of first priority Parasite propose a possible temporary solution. The paraSITE units in their idle state exist as small, collapsible packages with handles for transport by hand or on one’s back. In employing this device, the user must locate the outtake ducts of a building’s HVAC system. The intake tube of the collapsed structure is then attached to the vent. The warm air leaving the building then inflates and heats the double membrane structure.

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Community Economic Development (CED), Creativity, Earth, Family, Government, Great Ideas, Not for Profit, Packaging, Products, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development | , , | Leave a comment