Farm attractions

The Central Experimental Farm photo gallery offers panoramic views of the Central Experimental Farm and attractions.

Farm site and building area maps of the Central Experimental Farm are available to provide overviews of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada facilities on the Farm.

Major attractions


The Arboretum covers about 26 hectares (64.2 acres) of rolling land between Prince of Wales Drive and the Rideau Canal. It displays a wide range of well-established trees and shrubs, various soil types and moisture levels.

The Arboretum is free of charge and open every day to the public from sunrise to sunset.

Ornamental Gardens

The Gardens 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 1880's.

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
  • the Macoun Memorial Garden
  • the hedge collections

Features of the Gardens include:

  • 100 types of irises.
  • 125 different lilac varieties, including a number of "Preston lilacs" developed by Ottawa researcher, Isabella Preston.
  • 65 different plant species in the two hedge collections. The "old" hedge collection contains plantings dating to 1891, while the "new" hedge collection dates from 1965.
  • the Explorer series of roses developed at the CEF and renowned for its winter hardiness.

The Gardens are open, free of charge, to the public.


Tropical Greenhouse

The Greenhouse was built in 1928 and houses the Central Experimental Farm's tropical plant exhibition.

The Tropical Greenhouse is free of charge.

Hours of operation are:

  • Sundays: 10 am to 4 pm
  • Monday to Friday: 9 am to 4 pm
  • Saturdays: Closed

Other attractions

Research fields

Over 100,000 field plots annually are devoted to the Research Centre's plant breeding and agronomy studies. Since 1970, Central Experimental Farm crop scientists have developed and released over 90 new varieties of oats, wheat, barley and soybeans to Canadian and world markets.

National Historic Site plaque

The plaque designating the CEF as a nation historic site is located at the corner of the National Capital Commission Driveway and Maple Drive.

Historical buildings

Historical Buildings on the Central Experimental Farm
Building Number Building Name Year of Construction Designation
1 Dominion Observatory 1904 Classified*
2 Observatory House 1909 Recognized*
3 Geophysical Lab 1954 Recognized*
4 Machine Shop 1917 Recognized*
7 Seismology Survey Building 1913 Recognized*
8 South Azimuth Building 1912 Classified*
9 Photo Equatorial Building 1914 Classified*
20 K.W. Neatby Building 1937/ 1956 Recognized
22 Laboratory Services Building 1956/ 1964 Recognized
34 Arc Biotech Building (Genetics Building) 1920/ 1950 Recognized
49 William Saunders Building 1935 Recognized
50 Main Greenhouse Range 1915/ 1925/ 1960 Recognized
54 Heritage House 1888 Recognized
55 Horticulture Building 1930/ 1937/ 1943 Recognized
56 Service Building (Storage Building) 1919/ 1934 Recognized
57 Dairy Technology Building 1920/ 1952/ 1956 Recognized
59 Nutrition Building 1898/ 1912/ 1924/ 1938 Recognized
60 Heritage House 1889/ 1955 Recognized
74 CEF, Horticulture Building (Arboretum Building) 1924/ 1942 Recognized
75 Cereal Building 1888/ 1917/ 1928 Recognized
76 Cereal Barn 1900/ 1916 Classified
77 Potting Shed (Service Building) 1900 Recognized
88 Main Dairy Barn 1913/ 1914 Classified
91 Swine Showcase Building (Swine Barn) 1920 Recognized
94 Engineering Research Building 1939/ 1950 Recognized
95 Small Dairy Barn (Heritage Barn) 1912 Recognized
98 Carpentry Shop 1912 Recognized
*Custodian: Natural Resources Canada