Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

February 19, 2008 17:57 ET

Ottawa's Central Experimental Farm Marks 10 Years as a National Historic Site

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 19, 2008) - February marks the 10th anniversary of Ottawa's Central Experimental Farm (CEF) as a National Historic Site.

"Not only is the Central Experimental Farm one of the most scenic places in the Ottawa area, it is also one of the most historically significant," said the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board. "Canadian farm families have been feeding Canadians and the world for years. The excellent research being done by our scientists here on the Farm and at our centres across the country will ensure the supply of high quality food continues for years to come."

"As an Ottawa-area Member of Parliament, I know how important the Central Experimental Farm is to residents of our community," said the Honourable John Baird, Minister of the Environment. "Back in 2006, I was pleased to help in getting $8.4 million in funding for a new greenhouse at the farm. It's true that many people treasure the Experimental Farm, not just across Ottawa, but across Canada as well. It really is an island of rural life in the heart of our city."

Though the CEF has roots dating back to 1886, it was not until February 1998 that it was officially named a National Historic Site. The designation was made, in part, because as a cultural landscape the 400-plus hectare farm reflects the 19th century philosophy of agriculture. It includes a mix of research and administrative buildings with an arboretum, ornamental gardens, display beds and experimental fields all in a picturesque composition.

The National Historic Site reassures Canadians that the site known as "Ottawa's Farm" will remain an important part of the country's landscape for generations to come. An eight-member advisory council advises the department on development proposals for the CEF and the National Capital Commission has final federal land use approval. The goal is to ensure any future changes will not endanger the heritage status of the site.

In the past decade, the CEF has received six certificates of merit from the Ottawa Architectural Conservation Awards honouring restoration work. In the coming months, three new state-of-the-art greenhouses will open in the area bordering Carling Avenue. These greenhouses and indoor growth facility will ensure research will continue on the Farm.

The CEF is also known for its Explorer Roses, developed by Dr. Felicitas Svejda, starting in 1961. Over the years, about 25 of the winter-hardy roses, named for such explorers as Henry Hudson, John Cabot and Martin Frobisher, were developed on the CEF and still bloom every spring in the rose garden.

Beyond that, a rare example of a farm within a city, the CEF has become a symbol of the central role agriculture has played in shaping the country. The CEF is a working agricultural research farm within the Nation's Capital and is designed to showcase Canadian agricultural technology to national and international audiences.

This particular location was originally selected because of the diversity of soil types and access to land, water and rail transport; and because from this location it could serve farmers in both Ontario and Quebec. Now, the Farm provides educational opportunities for visitors, most of whom are city dwellers, to experience a farm, find out where their food comes from, and discover achievements in agricultural research, science and technology that affect them every day.

The CEF is among 24 Ottawa sites designated as National Historic Sites by Parks Canada. For more information on the CEF, visit

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Eric Richer
    Press Secretary
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Margaux Stastny
    Press Secretary