A gem in the heart of Canada’s Capital, the Central Experimental Farm has enchanted visitors for more than a century.
Surrounded by the city, this internationally acclaimed centre for agricultural research is a lush oasis of grain-filled fields, barnyard animals, spectacular gardens and the arboretum.
The Central Experimental Farm is an agricultural research facility and a working farm located in the heart of Ottawa. It is a National Historic Site and a cultural heritage landscape.
Highlights of the History of the Central Experimental Farm:On the western outskirts of Ottawa, 188 hectares were chosen as the site of the Central Experimental Farm (CEF) and Arboretum in 1886. The Farm has grown to more than 400 hectares and became surrounded by the city while retaining its original 19th century landscape. The first Director of Experimental Farms, William Saunders, and the first Dominion Botanist, James Fletcher, planted the first 200 trees and shrubs in the Arboretum in 1889. Since then, the CEF has retained its name and most of its character within the Department of Agriculture, now Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). The Marquis wheat, a frost-resistant and early-maturing strain which helped make the Canadian Prairies one of the world’s great grain-producing areas was developed at the CEF. Floral beauties such as the Preston lilacs and the Explorer series of roses are creations of the CEF’s researchers. The dedicated volunteers of Friends of the Farm work hand-in-hand with AAFC to keep the Farm beautiful and inspiring.
For further information about CEF research history, please check the following report, which is available from Better World Books: One Hundred Harvests – Research Branch, Agriculture Canada 1886-1986 / T.H. Anstey. 1986
2020 Visitor Survey: A heartfelt thanks to all who participated in our 2020 Survey of Visitors to the Central Experimental Farm. Your input has been invaluable. Please click on the Survey Summary link below (available in French and English) to find out what we learned about how you enjoy the Farm.