The Greenbelt comprises 20,000 hectares of green space, including farms, forests and wetlands. It was created in the 1950s to protect the rural land bordering the Capital from urban sprawl. It has since become the largest publicly owned greenbelt in the world. Most of the Greenbelt (14,950 hectares) is owned by the NCC.

A place for nature and for people

The Greenbelt protects natural areas like forests, wetlands, streams and sand dunes that sustain biodiversity. The natural areas in the Greenbelt support human and ecological health in Canada’s Capital Region.

Agriculture in the Greenbelt

The NCC supports sustainable agriculture in the Greenbelt. Greenbelt farms produce milk, meat, grains, fruits and vegetables that contribute to the food supply and economy of the Capital Region.

A scientific laboratory

Professional scientists, students and science enthusiasts engage in activities, including biological inventories, long-term monitoring and scientific experiments to learn about the wonders of the natural environment.

Nature corner

Many conservation organizations are working to protect plants and animals — through education, research and stewardship. You can too. Learn how.

History Buffs' Corner

The Mer Bleue Bog has a long-standing history, first seen as an inconvenience to development, people have tried to get rid of it — fortunately, without success.

Summer Activities

A place for nature

Canada’s Capital Greenbelt is a horseshoe-shaped green space stretching from west to east just south of Ottawa’s urban core, with both extremities on the shores of the Ottawa River. The Greenbelt is divided into six main sectors, each with unique land features.

Mer Bleue

The 3,500-hectare conservation area has a northern ecosystem that is more typical of the Arctic than of the Ottawa Valley.

Green's Creek

Green’s Creek, to the east of Ottawa, is an area of unusual geology with steep-sided ravines and plateaus.

Pine Grove

Pine Grove is the largest forest in the Greenbelt and is a mixture of tree plantations and natural forests.

Southern Farm and Pinhey Forest

This conservation area in the Greenbelt contains a unique natural feature: Ottawa’s only inland sand dune complex.

Stony Swamp

Stony Swamp, southwest of Ottawa, features a network of beaver ponds, wetlands and forests.

Shirleys Bay

Shirleys Bay, to the west of Ottawa, is a provincially significant wetland and the largest marshland in the Greenbelt.

A place for people 

The Greenbelt offers great diversity in every season. There are trails for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, as well as great toboggan hills. There are also picnic areas and boat-launching sites.

The Greenbelt also features multi-use pathways that are perfect for cycling, in-line skating or walking your dog on leash. These pathways are also used for winter activities, including winter biking (on fat bikes).

Winter Activities