Greenbelt (Ottawa)

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Greenbelt (Ottawa)
Greenbelt Ottawa.jpg
Map of Ottawa showing the Greenbelt surrounding the urban core
LocationEastern Ontario, Canada
Nearest cityOttawa
Area203.5 km2 (78.6 sq mi)
Governing bodyNational Capital Commission

The Greenbelt is a 203.5-square-kilometre (78.6 sq mi) protected green belt traversing Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It includes green space, forests, farms, and wetlands from Shirleys Bay in the west and to Green's Creek in the east. The National Capital Commission (NCC) owns and manages 149.5 square kilometres (57.7 sq mi), and the rest is held by other federal government departments and private interests.[1] Real estate development within the Greenbelt is strictly controlled.[citation needed]


The Greenbelt was proposed by Jacques Gréber in 1950 as part of his master plan for Ottawa, and the federal government started expropriating land in 1956. Its original purpose included the prevention of urban sprawl (which was threatening the rural areas surrounding the city), as well as to provide open space for the future development of farms, natural areas and government campuses.[1] At the time, the greenbelt was "intended to circumscribe an area large enough for the accommodation of some 500,000 persons. The inner limit was chosen by considering what area could be economically provided with municipal services."[2]


The City of Ottawa is undergoing[when?] an Official Plan Review which, among other things, examines the need for additional land for urban purposes. It considers whether a discussion of urban land should include the option of some development within the Greenbelt and it is intended that this discussion will feed into the NCC’s review of the Greenbelt Master Plan. All views expressed in [the] White Paper are those of the City of Ottawa and not those of the National Capital Commission[3] which owns and operates the Greenbelt. The City of Ottawa has identified more than 13,700 acres (55 km2) of the Greenbelt, worth about $1.6 billion, that could be developed, and in their view, without damaging its overall integrity.[4] Environment Minister Jim Prentice, opposed development in what he considered an important part of the city's heritage. Prentice vowed to fight any such move.[4]

In 2020, columnist Randall Denley of the Ottawa Citizen described the Greenbelt as "a failed attempt to contain growth, not a collection of natural treasures", and supported development within the Greenbelt because "it would give the city the land capacity it requires and deliver all the environmental, transportation and practical benefits that environment groups envision", while Ottawa city staff stated "Expanding urban lands within the Greenbelt is a more efficient use of resources than beyond it."[5]


The Greenbelt is home to a variety of wildlife:

Places of interest

Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML · GPX
Trail marker

Places of interest within the Greenbelt are from east to west:

See also


  1. ^ a b "About the National Capital Greenbelt". National Capital Commission. Archived from the original on 2013-05-31. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  2. ^ Eggleston, W., 1961. The Queen's Choice. The National Capital Commission, Ottawa, Ontario, 325 pp.
  3. ^ City of Ottawa Greenbelt Whitepaper[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b Ottawa Housing Market: Ottawa Greenbelt Development Under Review
  5. ^ Denley, Randall (February 4, 2020). "Denley: If Ottawa is Serious About its Climate Emergency, it's Time to Consider Developing the Greenbelt". Ottawa Citizen.
  6. ^ "Stony Swamp". The National Capital Greenbelt. National Capital Commission. Archived from the original on 28 December 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013.