Use of the Central Experimental Farm for public activities

Tobogganing at the Central Experimental farm remains strictly prohibited

For your continued safety, tobogganing at the Central Experimental farm, including on the Ottawa Dominion Arboretum hill, remains strictly prohibited.

Weddings and photo sessions on the Farm

When planning a wedding or a photo session on the Farm, contact the Central Experimental Farm to receive a Permission/Authorization to Use form. Complete, sign and return the form to

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. Note: the limit includes all individual present such as the photographer, celebrant, etc.
  • A 2-hour time block is granted for all reservations
  • 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.
  • Wedding parties are invited to visit the Arboretum in advance and inform us of their choice of location. 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.


  • A completed Permission/Authorization to Use form is necessary for wedding pictures in the Arboretum or for the Ornamental Gardens. There is no fee for wedding photos taken on the Central Experimental Farm. Contact the Central Experimental Farm to receive a Permission/Authorization to Use form.
  • 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. We publish a calendar of approved activities for the following year by November 30.

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 with payment of $28.25 ($25.00 + $3.25 HST) payable to the Receiver General for Canada. This pay is non-refundable.

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.

What's prohibited on the Farm

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