Canada is the only country to have a working farm in the heart of its capital: the Central Experimental Farm, established in 1886 as the central research station for the federal Department of Agriculture. The Farm continues that scientific focus as the location for laboratories and research plots for the Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre.
More than an active research centre, the Farm is a much-loved area that is a designated national historic site and cultural heritage landscape. A place to walk, bike, run, play, cross-country ski and breathe, the “Farm” provides a unique retreat and recreational space enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors year round. It is a place to enjoy nature’s bounty, to smell the roses, and to enjoy the peaceful retreats offered by the Ornamental Gardens and the Arboretum.
The Ornamental Gardens are composed of a number of different areas; the perennial collection, the rock garden, the rose garden, the annual garden, the Macoun sunken garden and the hedge collections. They cover an area of approximately 3.2 hectares (8 acres) and have been a favorite site for wedding parties and photographers since they opened in the 1880s.
The Arboretum displays a wide range of well-established trees and shrubs, some dating back to 1889, the date that the Arboretum was established. The Arboretum covers about 26 hectares of rolling land between Prince of Wales Drive and the Rideau Canal and comprises various soil types and moisture levels.
The Friends of the Central Experimental Farm (FCEF) formed in 1988 to help preserve and protect this treasured part of the National Capital area. Over the years the FCEF have contributed greatly to the maintenance and enhancement of this very popular public venue in the heart of the city.