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Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site Management Plan (2 of 20)

Executive Summary

This Management Plan is a long-term framework for managing the Central Experimental Farm as both a National Historic Site and an active research landscape. Prepared for the Corporate Management Branch of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, it represents a collaboration between Branch staff and a consulting team with expertise and experience in urban design, heritage conservation and urban planning. The plan's analysis and the recommendations are based on a cultural landscape approach to land management, an approach that emphasizes the need to understand and describe tangible and intangible values of a place as a whole in advance of making recommendations about the future of its constituent parts.

As part of the first step in developing a Management Plan for the Farm, a review of the original design intentions, subsequent evolution and current conditions of the site and the institution it supports was conducted. This study revealed that the site lacked a clear organizing vision. As a result of these findings, the second and most critical step in the planning process was the preparation of alternative visions in the form of planning scenarios. From these, a decision was made to pursue a vision based on a strong research agenda.

The following vision statement guided the development of the Management Plan for the Central Experimental Farm:

The following were more specific Management Plan objectives:

After consideration of other options, including a Multiple Identities Option, a Museum-without-Walls Option, and a Public Park Option. The client and the consulting team recommended that the AAFC pursue the Research Option as the strategic direction for the Central Experimental Farm. The Research Option will meet the Plan's vision and objectives, it is most closely tied to AAFC's mandate, and it preserves the research function of the site for future generations. The subject matter of agricultural research will change in unpredictable ways over the next century, but the CEF framework will remain flexible and adaptable to varying research initiatives as it has since its inception. The Research Option is also consistent with the intention to conserve the integrity of the cultural landscape because it reinvigorates the agricultural activities associated with the site since its inception - research, public education and outreach, and demonstration of best practices.

The Management Plan addresses the integration of the new Skyline headquarters complex into the CEF. The old headquarters site provides an appropriate location for communicating the research activities of the AAFC to the public. Redevelopment of this site allows the role of the national collections to be enhanced. The Museum function is also given room to evolve, with possible links to collection management in the Ornamental Gardens and Arboretum areas, as part of the interpretation and public education functions of the institution. Public access and informal recreational uses within the CEF are also promoted, within guidelines that protect the primacy of the research function and the character of the cultural landscape. Increased use of some of the heritage properties in the core area by government and NGO agencies with an agricultural research-related mandate is also envisioned, including a new Canadian Agricultural Policy Research Institute (CAPRI). The management guidelines are designed to ensure that individual identities do not dominate over the sense of a unified research campus.

Key Features of the Research Option:

Recommended Option - An aerial view of the Experimental Farm’s overall site demonstration plan.

Recommended Option - Overall Site Demonstration Plan
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