Central Experimental Farm

Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa

Update: Letter to Minister Baird urges federal government to revisit transfer of CEF lands

At issue

A rare example of a farm within a city, the Central Experimental Farm (CEF) was established in 1886 as an agricultural and scientific research centre on land selected for its rich variety of soil types. In recognition of its historical, cultural and scientific significance—and the need to protect it from encroachment and inappropriate development—the Farm was designated a National Historic Site in 1998. The Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site Management Plan,created at the same time, recognizes that the national heritage value of the Farm resides in its history and contributions to Canadian science and farming, its overall design, its rural qualities in an urban setting, its heritage buildings, its experimental fields, and its historic landscape elements.

On November 3, 2014, the federal government announced it would be transferring 60 acres of the north west corner of CEF land to The Ottawa Hospital for the development of a future hospital campus. 

Prior to the announcement there had been no public input on the proposed development of CEF land or consultation with the Central Experimental Farm Advisory Council (CEFAC), a body created in 1998 to engage the public more fully in the CEF’s future management and provide advice to the federal government in its stewardship role.

CEF supporters are concerned that this will have a negative impact on the future integrity of this heritage treasure, and sets a dangerous precedent for future development on farm lands.

Action to date

In a Communiqué released in early November, the National Trust expressed concern over the federal government’s decision to sever Farm land for development. It was followed up with a letter to Minister John Baird asking that the decision be revisited and delayed until thorough public discussion has occurred and consultation with CEFAC has taken place. 


Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site Management Plan
CEF Commemorative Integrity Statement
CEF Maps