Owners of Paradis Valley Honey, Ginette and Danny Paradis, both come from long lines of beekeepers. It is only fit that they own and operate their own honey and bee pollen business in the heart of the Peace Region. But just how did their families get into beekeeping in the first place?
It’s frequently mentioned on the website and on social media that Danny is a 7th generation beekeeper (teenage son Ethan is the 8th generation!), and the Paradis family’s story is outlined here for you to read.
Ginette’s family’s story begins all the way across the pond in France. Leonce Bouilly (Ginette’s great-grandfather) grew up in France in a family of small beekeepers; they maintained a couple hives at the time, just enough to stock the kitchens of their family and friends with fresh honey. In 1934, Leonce moved to Montreal, Canada with his wife and three children. Shortly after World War II ended in 1945, the Government of Canada announced it was selling large portions of land in the Peace River region of Northern Alberta. War veterans had first pick of the land, and it was sold to them at low prices as a recognition gesture for their service in the recent war. Other civilians were also able to purchase the land, and could also buy at a fair price, but on the condition that they had to make that land profitable.
Leonce and his family took up the offer by purchasing three plots of land in Guy, Alberta. Given his past knowledge of keeping bees, upon arrival in Alberta, Leonce purchased some beehives from Mr. Sicotte, manager of the Coop in nearby Falher at the time. In 1947, his new honey production business was underway. Leonce’s daughter, Madeleine (Ginette’s grandmother), eventually married a man named René Soucy which kept her in the area. Madeleine’s brother Pierre, moved back to Montreal, while her other brother, Jean moved to Edmonton to pursue a career in the aircraft industry. Thus Madeleine, the only child to have stayed in northern Alberta, took over the small apiary and continued to produce honey for several years.
Approximate map (courtesy of Pierre Boily, August 2018) of the land divisions in Guy, Alberta 1947. *Pink plots belonged to Madeleine. **Blue plots belonged to Leonce.