This walk loops through the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Dominion Arboretum, Ornamental Gardens, and Morningside Lane, accessible on foot or bike along the Rideau Canal, via transit to Carleton University, and parking at the Wildlife Garden. The route begins in the Wildlife Garden on the theme of modern conservation biology and re-wilding. It then moves into the Arboretum's crab apple plantation to talk about the history of fruit breeding at the Farm as well as the importance of cross breeding experiments in Ottawa for the colonization of Canada's west.
Next we move up the hill to the view point to discuss the relationship between the scientific aesthetics of the late 19th Century and city planning in Ottawa. We cross the street to the ornamental gardens to reinforce the difference between the Canada Museum of Agriculture and Food and the Central Experimental Farm and talk about Isabella Preston and the place of myth-making. The walk goes between the fields down Morningside Lane where we'll talk about Marquis wheat and present day uses at the Farm. This also gives an opportunity to talk about development pressures, including the 60 Acres and the Ottawa Hospital.
We end at Hartwell Locks with a discussion of early 19th century engineering and the foundation of the city of Ottawa. The tour purposefully jumps back and forth between different time periods, showing off the diversity of landscapes, land uses, and scientific projects at the Central Experimental Farm as well as their relationship to the history of Ottawa and Canada.
Note: The starting point is in the parking area of the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, located on the east side of Prince of Wales Drive, south of the traffic circle. The driveway doesn't show on the map until the scale is highly magnified. The entrance to the garden is marked on Prince of Wales Dr. by a white sign with green lettering, visible from either direction.
Pete is a PhD student at Queen's University where his research focuses on the early history of the Central Experimental Farm. He is developing a walking seminar with Ottawa (de)tours this summer.