Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

September 09, 2005 16:51 ET

AAFC: Opening of the Merivale-Baseline Gateway Shelterbelt and Launch of a new Donor Program, Central Experimental Farm

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 9, 2005) - This afternoon, at a ceremony on the Central Experimental Farm, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada and His Excellency John Ralston Saul, opened the Merivale-Baseline Gateway Shelterbelt and Pathway and launched a new donor program to establish a forest belt along the Farms boundary.

This is a joint initiative of the Friends of the Central Experimental Farm and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The new Merivale Shelterbelt Program builds on the success of the original Donor Tree Program in the Arboretum, and will be administered by the Friends of the Central Experimental Farm. Some 4,000 trees and shrubs will be planted over the next few years.

For further information, media may visit our website at



The Central Experimental Farm (CEF) National Historic Site Management Plan envisions preserving and enhancing the cultural landscape of the CEF through re-invigorating research and public outreach - the agricultural activities associated with the Farm since its inception. It also supports public access and recreation within designated areas.

The CEF was created in 1886 to serve as the nation(s showplace for science and agriculture and has remained surprisingly intact, in spite of now being surrounded by an urban landscape. Since its establishment, the Farm has made significant contributions to agriculture in Canada by uniting scientific experimentation with practical verification. In 1998, the 1000-acre farm in the heart of the Nation(s Capital was declared a National Historic Site because, as a cultural landscape, it reflects the nineteenth-century philosophy of agriculture and carefully integrates an administrative core and a range of other buildings with an arboretum, ornamental gardens, display beds, and experimental fields in a picturesque composition.

In recent years, the Farm has taken on a variety of identities and is increasingly subject to conflicting pressures and expectations. To address these pressures, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, in collaboration with other stakeholders, developed the Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site Management Plan. This plan was unveiled by then Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Lyle Vanclief, in November 2003. The Management Plan's long-term vision for the Farm is to be implemented over the next 25 to 30 years.

Elements of the Plan include:
- introducing an expanded research campus in the area of the K.W.
Neatby Building;
- consolidating and modernizing the greenhouses;
- establishing a facility to house national collections of
agricultural importance;
- creating a gateway for Merivale Road north of Baseline to knit
the new headquarters into the cultural landscape of the CEF;
- encouraging partnership opportunities for urban/rural
agricultural research on 34 acres of land south of the Fletcher
Wildlife Garden;
- creating a visitor orientation centre that showcases current
research activities;
- continuing the Agriculture Museum;
- revitalizing Prince of Wales Drive by redeveloping the plantings
and pathways;
- redeveloping some heritage buildings as conference facilities;
- reconfiguring access points to the site, including gateway
entrances; and,
- using green parking facilities.

The first major element of the Plan to be developed is a new landscape design for the Merivale-Baseline Gateway. Its main feature is a forest belt which is being established through a collaborative effort between the Friends of the Central Experimental Farm and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Partnerships such as this will be needed in the future in order to realize the Management Plan's vision, and ensure the Farm maintains its heritage value for future generations.



The Merivale Shelterbelt Donor Program is a joint initiative of the Friends of the Farm and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to establish a forest belt in the Merivale-Baseline Gateway area along the boundary of the Central Experimental Farm (CEF). The new forest will beautify the surroundings, provide a recreational path, protect the fields from salt and soil erosion, form a refuge for birds, wildlife and plants, help clean the atmosphere and cut down wind and noise.

The first area to be planted is along Merivale Road, forming a link between the Farm and the new Agriculture Portfolio Headquarters. About 4,000 trees and shrubs will be planted over the next few years - trees such as maple, Colorado Spruce, green ash and walnut along with an underplanting of shrubs such as lilac, honeysuckle, peashrub and serviceberry. A recreational path will wind its way through the beds of trees and shrubs and offer a beautiful start or finish to a walking tour of the Farm. There is also an attractive Donor Plaza on the site where contributors to the Program will be acknowledged.

You can help beautify the Central Experimental Farm
You can show your commitment to the environment
You can honour a friend
You can mark a special occasion
You can help support the Central Experimental Farm.....
by contributing to the Merivale Shelterbelt Donor Program at one
of three levels: $250, $500 or $750

For further information, and to make a contribution contact the
Friends of the Farm:

- phone 613-230-3276, Mondays to Thursdays from 9:a.m. to
- e-mail
- fax 613-230-1238
- log on to
- write to Friends of the Central Experimental Farm, Building
72, Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6


Friends of the Central Experimental Farm (FCEF), also known as Friends of the Farm, is an organization of dedicated volunteers who are committed to the Farm. They help care for the Arboretum, the Ornamental Gardens and other public areas of the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa, working in close collaboration with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to maintain and enhance this beautiful green space for the educational benefit and enjoyment of the public. Friends also help to promote the Farm's historical and heritage significance.

Friends of the Farm dedicate over 15,000 volunteer hours annually to maintaining and enhancing the public areas of the Central Experimental Farm, working out of Building 72 adjacent to the Arboretum. Friends share this building with Arboretum staff and work closely with them, as well as with the Department(s Ornamental Gardens staff, on a variety of projects.

Activities of Friends of the Farm

Volunteers are young and old, skilled and unskilled, from research scientist to garden lover -- but all want to make a difference and enjoy doing it! Activities include raising money and awareness through their donor programs, selling boutique items, and holding special events including Victorian teas, fine art exhibits and craft sales, as well as hands-on work pruning, planting and weeding.

Volunteers needed!

Whatever your skills or interest there is an opportunity for you to contribute to the heritage beauty of The Farm, as well as gaining valuable skills and experience as one of the volunteer teams:

- Green Thumb teams help AAFC staff maintain the Ornamental Gardens
- Craft teams create dried flower arrangements, Christmas
ornaments, cards and much more
- Rose teams help maintain the Rose Garden and Explorer Rose Garden
- Donor teams administer the Donor Programs and help care for the
trees on the Farm
- The Shrub Team helps to prune and maintain shrubs in the
- The Hosta Team looks after the Hosta Garden
- The Lilac Team cares for and maintains lilacs throughout the Farm
- The Youth Group joins other teams on projects throughout the
Gardens and the Arboretum
- The Office Support Team answers the phone and performs
administrative tasks as well as helping with special events
- the Promotional Team organizes special events including Victorian
teas, plant sales, Art on the Farm and so much more
- The Communications Team publishes the newsletter, maintains the
web site, and handles media relations
- The Board of Directors plans the strategic directions of the
Friends of the Farm and is the overall governing body.

Young Volunteers Program

The Young Volunteers Program is a wonderful opportunity for Canadian Youth to experience the out of doors in the unique setting of the Experimental Farm. Teens, at least 14 years of age, are invited to provide support to the gardening teams in the Ornamental Gardens and the Arboretum during the morning, Monday through Friday, April through October. Opportunities also exist on some weekends to assist at special events and fundraising activities.

The FCEF Youth Group (exclusive to youth aged 14-18 years) meets Tuesday mornings during July and August. As well as providing excellent support to the existing programs in the gardens and Arboretum, they learn about plants and horticulture. Headed by dynamic university students, the Youth Group alone contributes about 500 hours of volunteer time a year.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Friends of the Farm are delighted to benefit from the unique mix of passion, enthusiasm and energy that these young people bring to the Farm while providing them with the experience of learning about gardening and the enjoyment of contributing to the beauty of their community.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri Food Canada
    Media Relations
    (613) 759-7972 or 1-866-345-7972
    Friends of the Farm
    Douglas Shouldice
    (613) 230-3276 or (613) 722-7899