What would you think of stepping back in time for a walk along beautiful pathways, see farm animals in the heart of the city, colourful gardens, close by and accessible?
Plants and trees may have expanded in number, but this gem in the middle of the city hasn’t changed in its wonder since 1886 when it was established as a national farm. The farm includes the arboretum, the buildings, ornamental gardens, and great expanse of farmland.
The Central Experimental Farm was designated as a national historic site in 1997 because of the cultural landscape in the centre of the city showing the 19th century philosophy of agriculture. The farm is a working farm, contributing to scientific findings in agriculture over the years.
The long winding pathways of the arboretum, with trees and woodland plants, make a calming and inspiring jaunt to Dow’s Lake and the Rideau Canal.
Just like the killdeer that brought Bluesfest to a pause while building the stage to bring heart thumping music, so too the farm brings people to pause a while, to hear the whistle of the wind rustle the branches on the grand old trees, the birds in their habitat, at the Fletcher bird sanctuary, and the beautiful gardens with nearby animal barns.
What does the farm bring to Ottawa? A beautiful inner city park, a research facility to explore farming techniques and plants, shrubs and trees, beautiful gardens, tourists who are intrigued that a farm can exist within the city limits and a sanctity for all, a place to repose, relax from the bustle of a city in motion.
The arboretum is open all year long, every day, sunup to sundown. It is Canada’s oldest arboretum and contains over 1,000 tree species and over 4,000 plant varieties
Access to the barns and museum varies depending upon the season.
There is parking next to Building 72 or by lookouts in the circle drive in the arboretum and parking in the parking lot off Prince of Wales Drive where parking fees apply.
Visit the Friends of the Farm web site for more information about the farm and its historical importance within the city of Ottawa.