Why Butterflies?

Butterflies of all species have long been a symbol of celebrating new beginnings, transition, and renewed hope for the future.  Our painted lady butterflies will become a treasured part of your memories, whatever they may be.

In many cultures around the world, the butterfly (and often the moth) hold deep cultural or spiritual significance. These animals are often seen as messengers between the spirit world or the ancestors and ourselves, or they are seen as symbols of rebirth and renewal.

So too, in many ancient languages the word for the human soul and the word for butterflies or moths were often synonymous, if not the same. 

The Butterfly is nature's way of reminding us that there is always hope.

When the caterpillar is no more, the butterfly is born in ultimate freedom and beauty.

Ethics of Butterfly Releasing

We work exclusively with Vanessa cardui (Painted Lady) butterflies, which are not problematic to release due to their wide distribution, erratic migratory habits, and genetic profile. Many other species, including Monarchs, do not fall into this category in our location (Northern Alberta).

All of our butterflies are hand reared and inspected carefully by the entomologists in our laboratory for both disease and genetic disruptions. NO butterflies are captured from the wild and no sick animals are released.

Unlike doves, or highly pollutive balloons, Painted Lady butterflies are beneficial to their environment. Releasing these animals does not negatively impact wild populations; they are a beneficial pollinator and will help maintain our flowering plants and habitat, just like native bees. They have a variety of host plants across Canada and will continue their life cycle once released, helping to restore balance to their habitat and involving you in the sacred cycle of life and rebirth.

As conservationists, we hope to encourage people to become more aware of butterflies, and to understand and improve wild habitats to allow these amazing creatures and others like them to survive and thrive in our changing world.

About our Butterflies

Our butterflies are Painted Ladies ​(Vanessa cardui).

Although Monarchs are generally known as the most "popular" butterfly for release, we do not breed them in our Edmonton laboratory. Monarchs are only occasional migrants to Alberta, and our province does not have their only host plant (Milkweed) in quantity, meaning they lack the necessary habitat to breed. Although we do have a few Monarchs who may make it all the way up here during their yearly migration, their numbers are too small to be considered stable. The genetics of the migration may also be under threat in remote locations such as ours. For these reasons and others, we do not support the releasing of monarch butterflies in Alberta.

 Painted Ladies on the other hand have numerous, readily available host plants including any mallow such as Hollyhock (very common in urban gardens), nettles, thistles, and other asteracea.  They are known as "erratic migrants," and are well-adapted to sudden changes in climate. They are genetically robust across their distribution (which is widespread across Canada), meaning that they will be resistent to human interference and distance releases. The wild breeding population is also very stable; they can be released in any quantity. Though they may be small, they are mighty, and we believe they are very special animals.

If you live in an area where Monarchs are more common, such as British Columbia or Ontario, you will have to buy elsewhere. We are sometimes able to refer to other Monarch breeders.

​​​Painted Lady Butterflies for Special Events


Creator made butterflies out of only the most beautiful things in His creation. He took black from the children's hair, yellow from the warm summer sun, orange from the flower blossom, and blue from the rivers and waters of the earth. But He did not give them a voice, as they were His own special creatures, and more beautiful than all others.

If you have a secret wish, a dream, or a secret, capture a butterfly and whisper your heart's desire to it. Since butterflies make no sound, they will carry your wish to Creator, who alone knows the thoughts of butterflies. By releasing them into the wild you are helping restore the sacred balance of nature, and your heart's needs will surely be granted.











Butterfly Wings N' Wishes respectfully acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples including the Cree, Saulteaux, Niisitapi, Metis, Nakota Sioux, Dene, Inuit, and many others whose histories, languages, and cultures continue to influence our business, our way of life, and our community. Their spiritual and practical relationships with the land create a rich heritage for our learning and our life as a community.

Ordering Info

Release season is from May 31-September 1, pending weather: if we have unseasonably cold, windy, cloudy or smoky conditions, we will reduce our release season. 

We cannot accomodate events on Mondays or Tuesdays, due to shipping times, unless you are in Edmonton.


Price breaks are offered as quantities increase

24 or less painted ladies:                                             $12.50 each

25-49  painted ladies:                                                  $10.50 each

50+ painted ladies:                                                      $8.50 each 

Please Read:

  • Release season is based on bloom times and year-to-year weather patterns in Alberta (where we are located), and we respectfully ask that you prioritize the survival and well-being of the live animals. 
  • Release season can fluctuate: it is often shorter than these listed dates, depending on seasonal conditions. 
  • Please be aware that all releases are weather permitting and can be cancelled at any moment due to weather or atmospheric conditions like cold or smoke: we have to do what is right for the butterflies.
  • Minimum of 6 butterflies per order.
  • We generally require a minimum of 4 weeks notice: that's how long it takes to raise butterflies for you. We keep small amounts on hand for memorials and funerals on shorter timelines than that but cannot guarantee availability. 
  • We require 50% non-refundable deposit at time of order placement to reserve butterflies. 
  • ​All butterflies are individually packaged in small white boxes, no exceptions. We do not offer custom packaging at this time.


Shipping available only within Canada.

We ship priority overnight via courier for the safety of the butterflies.

Shipping is not available on weekends and holidays.

Please see our full shipping page (HERE) for more info. 

Edmonton (same day delivery):                                                              $18.00

40-KM radius of Edmonton (next day delivery):                              $18.00

Calgary city limits:                                                                                        $30.00 Elsewhere within Alberta (next day delivery):                                  $35.00

Other provinces (price quoted by location): *             starting at $45.00+

*Newfoundland and Laborador: it is illegal to release wildlife (including native species) in your region. This includes our butterflies. 

​​​​​​​​​​​Bringing the beauty of butterflies to your event


Individual packaging.

​Release season is typically from the end of May until the end of August, but with changing climates in the north, we frequently see this shortened. Please contact us before you order if your event is close to the beginning or the end of that timeline.


Butterflies are shipped  express overnight in Canada, or same-day shipping in Edmonton. We guarantee our shipping and use Purolator to ensure the safety and health of these delicate creatures. (Click here for full shipping information)


​Butterflies are packaged in individual release boxes for their safety and well-being. This benefits you as well: each person receiving a butterfly will have their own special moment with it before they set it free. 


Butterflies are creatures of sunlight and warmth, and as such are available only in the warmer months of the year. We will be monitoring the weather on the date of your event, and if it proves inappropriate we will contact you for a solution. Always be prepared to reschedule: weather is unpredictable, and butterflies have specific needs. 


A memorial or funeral butterfly release is an appropriate, touching and dignified way to honour the memory of a loved one. The release is peaceful, healing and serene; a beautiful and sacred way of providing friends, family, and especially children a way to express their final goodbyes.


We exclusively work with Painted lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui) as they are more environmentally ethical in many localities than other species. 


We always include a copy of instructions for the release, so you feel safe and worry-free during your event. We will also include a copy of little prayer (scroll down for more) which resonates with people from many cultures, and which you may find meaningful.


Please contact us at any time with questions regarding your butterfly release. We are here to help you and support you through the process. 


Butterflies occupy an unusually universal symbolism worldwide: most existing cultures interpret them as a symbol of the spirit world and a way to communicate with our ancestors or the Creator. ​