In 2067, the Capital will be even more vivid and scenic as the home to an exceptionally vast network of natural areas that are central to the quality of life and character of the Capital Region. Beautifully designed landscapes will grace the Capital and offer numerous picturesque settings, adding to its unique character. Protected natural areas are one of the greatest legacies of Capital building.
The NCC and its predecessors patiently assembled the land base for this generous public realm over multiple generations. As the pace of urbanization continues, these lands will become even more precious, not just as important civic spaces, but also for their high ecological value. This represents a considerable economic value to the region. Along with the national institutions, these spaces are among the most appreciated and unique features that truly distinguish the Capital from other cities of a comparable size.
The 550 square kilometres of federal lands in the National Capital Region support a wide variety of valued ecosystems and natural habitats, contributing significantly to the region’s biodiversity. There are a total of 28 valued natural ecosystems and habitats: eleven in the urban lands, eight in Gatineau Park, and nine in the Greenbelt. The NCC manages these lands according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) protocol. Mer Bleue is the largest peat bog in Canada’s Capital Region, recognized internationally under the Ramsar Convention for the conservation of wetlands.
Gatineau Park, the Greenbelt, green corridors and natural areas in the urban area, as well as the pathway and parkway corridors, provide sinews for a potentially sustainable coexistence of nature, ecological habitats and urban life in the Capital. The parks, waterways and public shorelines are a priceless inheritance from early federal planning efforts, starting with Frederick Todd in 1903 who sought to reserve “in close proximity to the Capital” a place “where nature may still be enjoyed, unmarred by contact with humanity.”