The National Trust for Canada wrote to the Hon. John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister Responsible for the National Capital Commission, today to request that the federal government revisit its decision to transfer 60 acres of the Central Experimental Farm, National Historic Site of Canada to The Ottawa Hospital for the development of a new hospital campus.
This action would allow time to consult with the Central Experimental Farm Advisory Council (CEFAC) and discuss the impact such a transfer would have on the integrity of the farm.
“As the steward of this nationally important site on behalf of the people of Canada,” wrote executive director Natalie Bull, “it is incumbent upon the federal government to protect the future integrity of this heritage treasure.”
The letter draws attention to the key references in the Central Experimental Farm Management Plan—with particular emphasis on the Research Fields and the pressures of urban growth—and in the all-important Commemorative Integrity Statement to show the many negative impacts the proposed land transfer would have on the farm, from eroding land for scientific research to eliminating character-defining view planes.
A rare example of a farm within a city, the Central Experimental Farm (CEF) was established in 1886 as an agricultural and scientific research centre on land selected for its rich variety of soil types. In recognition of its historical, cultural and scientific significance—and the need to protect it from encroachment and inappropriate development—the Farm was designated a National Historic Site in 1998. The Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site Management Plan was created shortly afterwards “to sustain a cultural landscape of national historic significance through a reinvigorated and ongoing agricultural research program.”
The letter to Minister Baird is available here.