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.
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.
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.
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, to the east of Ottawa, is an area of unusual geology with steep-sided ravines and plateaus.
Pine Grove is the largest forest in the Greenbelt and is a mixture of tree plantations and natural forests.
Stony Swamp, southwest of Ottawa, features a network of beaver ponds, wetlands and forests.
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).