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The Central Experimental Farm’s Inclusion on Endangered Heritage Place List is a Call to Action

Pete Anderson

On May 26th, Heritage Canada The National Trust included an important Ottawa site in its annual list of Canada’s top ten endangered heritage places. Declaring that “the Feds play fast and loose with a national historic site,” the National Trust denounced the proposed severing of 60 acres of the Central Experimental Farm’s Field 1 for a future hospital campus without consultation. The Farm’s placement on the list is a call to arms for everyone who supports Canada’s history and federal scientific research programs.

Last November, John Baird (former MP and minister responsible for the National Capital Commission), Jack Kitts (President of the Ottawa Hospital) and Mark Kristmanson (CEO of the NCC) announced their intention to transfer up to 60 acres of the Farm to the NCC who would then lease the land to the Ottawa Hospital to build a new campus. The announcement took everyone by surprise and it quickly became apparent that they bypassed the Central Experimental Farm Advisory Council, which is responsible for actively soliciting input from the public on the Farm’s future and providing recommendations to assist Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in the ongoing stewardship of the Farm.