Use of the Central Experimental Farm for public activities

Central Experimental Farm road closures for scheduled events

  • Wednesday, July 17, 6 pm to 10 pm (ET)
  • Saturday, August 3, 7 am to 10 am (ET)
  • Saturday, September 14, 7 am to 10 am (ET)
  • Saturday, October 5, 7 am to 10 am (ET)


During these times, detours may be required or sites may be inaccessible. There may also be slowdowns and congestion before and after the events. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Weddings and photo sessions on the Farm

Approval is no longer required for weddings and photo sessions on the Farm.

Ceremony and guests

  • There is a limit of 40 people attending a ceremony at the Arboretum and a limit of 15 people at the Ornamental Gardens. The limit includes all individual present such as the photographer, celebrant, etc.
  • Tents, chairs, decorations, tables, and serving of food or drink are not allowed.
    • Lawn chairs are permitted if elderly persons, or persons with a disability, cannot stand for the entire service. Chairs should be removed immediately afterwards.
    • Parking is not permitted on the grass in the Arboretum.

Location and access

  • Wedding ceremonies are permitted in the Arboretum and the Ornamental Gardens only. Wedding ceremonies are not permitted in the Tropical Greenhouse.
  • The Arboretum cannot be reserved. In case of rain, there should be a back-up location, the Central Experimental Farm does not have an indoor hall, gazebo, or covered facility.
  • Cars are not allowed into the lower portion of Arboretum (beside Dows Lake). A location near the circular road or parking lot will make access easier for those with mobility issues.
  • Access to any public areas is not to be restricted. This means, wedding parties cannot block off a specific area including the bridges in the lower part of the Arboretum. With the large area of the Arboretum, 25 hectares (63 acres), finding a quiet, private spot should not be a problem.
  • Extra use of the Arboretum grounds, which could adversely affect the trees, is not encouraged as the Arboretum is a scientific collection of trees and shrubs dating back to 1889. The Arboretum receives about 1,000 visitors each day during the warm months; therefore, use of the grounds is already quite high.


  • The Arboretum and Ornamental Gardens cannot be reserved and access to any public areas is not to be restricted.
  • Wedding photos or group photos are not permitted in the Tropical Greenhouse.
  • Chairs, food, alcohol and decorations are not permitted.
  • Stepping in flowerbeds is not permitted.

Host a charitable activity at the Farm

We review event proposals each autumn for the year following. Email your proposal for a public activity to ( by October 31. Late proposals will not be reviewed.

Information to include in your activity proposal

  • Name (individual, group, organization, etc.)
  • Number of people expected
  • Date of Activity (day and time)
  • Site requirements (size of space needed, parking, etc.)

Once the activity is approved, please contact the Central Experimental Farm to receive a Permission/Authorization to Use form. Complete, sign and return the form.

Requestors will also be required to provide proof of insurance (minimum $1,000,000 and $5,000,000 depending of the type of activity) for liabilities associated with the activity and the use of Crown property.

Note: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada does not support commercial activities such as music concerts, flea markets or amusement parks.

Rules for use of the Arboretum at the Farm

  • Climbing in trees is prohibited in the Arboretum.
  • Littering is prohibited in the Arboretum or in any area at the Farm.
  • Liquor is prohibited in the Arboretum in accordance with Ontario law.
  • Smoking is permitted in the Arboretum but smokers should be mindful of potential fire hazards.

Activities for charitable organizations are to be held in the Arboretum. On occasion, activities involving walks or runs may be allowed to use roads on the Farm, depending on day of the week and time of day, seasonal farm operations and the estimated number of participants.

Dogs on the Farm

Dogs must be on-leash at all times. You must clean up after your pet. The City of Ottawa enforces its regulations related to dogs on Farm property.

Canine visitors are welcome in the following areas:

  • the Arboretum
  • the Fletcher Wildlife Garden
  • the lanes along the farm fields

Do not take pets into any of the research fields or the Ornamental Gardens.

To report a dog bite or dog at large please call 3-1-1.

What's prohibited on the Farm

  • Drones
  • Snow kiting
  • Kite flying
  • Sliding/tobogganing
  • Tents and camping
  • Alcohol
  • Fireworks
  • Barbeques
  • Open fires
  • Parking on grass area
  • Dogs off leashes