Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site Management Plan (15 of 20)

Management Plan

V.1 Introduction


The following is a revised vision statement for the Central Experimental Farm:

To sustain a cultural landscape of national historic significance through a reinvigorated and ongoing agricultural research program.


The following are more specific management plan objectives:

  • To strengthen the research identity of the Farm, as the most important path of continuity between its past, present and future
  • To develop appropriate governance models, that recognize this identity and enhance its relationship to the site
  • To provide clear rules of engagement for other agencies and partners
  • To ensure the commemorative and ecological integrity of the cultural landscape and its cultural and natural resources
  • To interpret and present the site to the public, as a scientific landscape of national significance
  • To develop appropriate patterns of access, circulation, and open space
  • To establish clear and sustainable relationships with the adjacent urban context.


The Research Option has been selected as a strategic direction for the Central Experimental Farm after consideration of a number of other options, including a Multiple-identities Option, a Museum-without-Walls Option, and a Public Park Option. The research option is most closely tied to AAFC's mandate and preserves the research function of the site for future generations. The subject matter of agricultural research will change in unpredictable ways over the next fifty to one hundred years but the CEF framework will remain flexible and adaptable to varying research initiatives as it has since its inception. The research option is consistent with the intention to conserve the integrity of the cultural landscape since it reinvigorates the activities of agricultural research, of public education and outreach, and of demonstration of model practices.

The research option addresses the integration of the new Skyline headquarters complex into the CEF through a compatibility of land uses and a revised circulation pattern. The old HQ site provides an appropriate location for enhanced communication of the research activities of the Department to the public. The Museum role on site will evolve, and may expand in a curatorial sense into the Ornamental Gardens and Arboretum areas, as part of the interpretation and public education functions of the site. Public access and informal recreational use within the CEF are also promoted within guidelines that protect the primacy of the research function and the character of the cultural landscape. Increased use of some of the heritage properties in the core area by government and NGO agencies with an agricultural research-related mandate is also envisioned, such as the Canadian Agricultural Policy Research Institute (CAPRI). The management guidelines are designed to ensure that individual identities do not dominate over the sense of a unified research campus.

Discussions with stakeholders and other experts have indicated a number of research topics that could be suited to the Central Experimental Farm, including work on urban forestry and resilient trees for northern city conditions, compatibility of specific agricultural techniques near urban development, sustainable best practices for control of insects and diseases, and isolation of research crops from commercial agricultural areas. The richness and diversity of the existing cultural landscape provides specific opportunities for research development and compatible investments by public- and private-sector agencies.

Key features of the Research Option include:

  • An expanded research campus to the east and south of the Neatby Building complex with a new area for research greenhouses and other facilities suited to current research requirements
  • Relocation and redesign of the entrance to the Farm from Carling Avenue, to provide improved visibility and access for the research campus
  • Rehabilitation of the landscape context of the former Dominion Observatory in keeping with historic evidence
  • Relocation of all headquarters functions from the Sir John Carling Building and adjacent facilities to the new Skyline property on Baseline
  • Redevelopment of the site of the Sir John Carling Building with facilities to house the national collections and a visitor orientation function. Removal of the limited access road from Prince of Wales to the Sir John Carling building parking lot, and redesign of the circulation pattern so that major public access occurs at the traffic circle, into the traditional Farm core
  • Improvements to Prince of Wales from Preston to Baseline to reconnect it to the Queen Elizabeth Driveway and reinforce its traditional parkway identity
  • Improvements to the east-west NCC Driveway, and its traffic circle at Prince of Wales Drive, to reinstate its role as the social and pedestrian spine at the core of the Farm. The Museum and research buildings along the Driveway will be encouraged to address the NCC Driveway in keeping with historical precedent
  • Reconfiguration of the Museum campus and adjacent circulation patterns, to allow access from the north or west, if desired. Redevelopment of the Saunders Building for the Canadian Agricultural Policy Research Institute (CAPRI), where experts and government decision makers can meet to consider topics of critical interest regarding agriculture and food supply. Redevelopment of some of the heritage buildings north of the NCC Driveway as conference facilities, to be used by CAPRI, by AAFC, by other government departments, and by related NGOsA reinvigorated public open space or 'Commons' shared by the public moving between the Museum and the redeveloped Carling building site and by research scientists and government officials moving among CAPRI, the conference facilities, the national collections, and other buildings in the research campus
  • Intensification of the research values in the Arboretum on both sides of Prince of Wales, through increased involvement by AAFC in developing public and private sector partnerships, including academic, curatorial, and urban forestry interests. An Arboretum Centre could be integrated into the Visitor Centre
  • A research function related to urban/rural sustainability and ecology for the area south of the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, and expanded research activities east and south of the Museum
  • Streetscape treatments that support the special landscape qualities of the Farm for all roadways around and through the site. A gateway treatment for Merivale north of Baseline is proposed to knit the Skyline site into the cultural landscape of the CEF
  • Coordination with other federal departments, other levels of government, other institutions, and the private sector to ensure compatible development of the urban perimeter adjacent to the Farm.