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Agritourism Ottawa

A Guide to Wineries, Orchards, Gardens, Farm Tours and Other Agricultural Adventures in the Ottawa Region

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10 Agritourism Destinations During Winterlude

A recent Ottawa Citizen article reported that City Councillor Doug Thompson wants visitors to “come for Winterlude and stay for the farms.” With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of fun farm destinations that Ottawa visitors can enjoy in February (or any month really).

  1. A farm stay at Gillenderry Farms in Pakenham. If you’re from out of town, why not stay in a B&B on a 170 year old farm just outside Ottawa? Gillanderry Farms is a working dairy and cash crop farm in Ottawa’s west end. The B&B offers three guestrooms in a beautiful old stone home. In your free time, you can visit the livestock and tour the farm’s museum containing 30 antique farm tractors!
  2. The animal barns at Canada Agricultural Museum. The exhibition areas are closed until February 26, but the animal barns are open. Drop by and visit with the dairy and beef cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, and chickens. Best of all, there’s no admission charge at this time of year (but donations are encouraged)! Continue reading “10 Agritourism Destinations During Winterlude”

Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary

Pot-bellied pig

A very special farm experience awaits those who make the trip out to Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary. Founded by Andy Parent, this Kemptville-area farm has taken in over 1500 unwanted and abused animals since 2002. Unlike most animal sanctuaries, the refuge takes in not only cats and dogs, but also horses, pigs, cows, goats, reindeer, and even bison. At any one time, there are usually about 150 animals on site, most of whom are available for adoption.

I met Andy Parent on a sunny fall day in September. He arrived from a back field on his ATV, followed by five dogs of varying sizes, including the boss of the pack, a little white maltese mix. Although I hadn’t called ahead, Andy was very welcoming and took the time to introduce me to the sanctuary and its history.

Andy Parent bought the 25.5 acre property as a hobby farm, a place to retreat from his busy life as a successful property manager in Ottawa. But it wasn’t long before he started taking in animals that had nowhere else to go, especially larger farm animals that didn’t fit into regular rescue protocols. Continue reading “Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary”

RMCP Rockcliffe Stables – Musical Ride Centre

RMCP Musical Ride trainee

Many Ottawa visitors and residents will be familiar with the RCMP Musical Ride. Performed by thirty-two Royal Canadian Mounted Police riders and their horses, the Musical Ride is a military pageant consisting of cavalry drills choreographed to music. The spectacle has thrilled audiences for over one hundred years, and continues to be seen at forty to fifty locations a year between the months of May and October.

So what happens during the winter months when the Musical Ride is not touring? That’s when the riders and horses come back to their home base at the RCMP Rockcliffe Stables in Ottawa. From November to April, the stables are buzzing with activity as new riders and horses go through their training for the next year’s tour. This is by far the best time to visit the stables, which are open to the public year-round.

During the winter months, the RMCP Musical Ride Centre offers tours of the horse stables and training centre on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Continue reading “RMCP Rockcliffe Stables – Musical Ride Centre”

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Part 2: Fallowfield, Thomas, Hillcrest and Briggs Tree Farms

Thomas Tree Farm plantation
In yesterday’s post, I wrote about my visit to Ian’s Evergreen Plantation and Cedar Hill Berry Farm. Today I visited four more cut-your-own Christmas tree farms: Fallowfield Tree Farm, Thomas Tree Farm, Hillcrest Tree Farm, and Briggs Trees. Read on to find out more about each one (including pictures at the bottom of the post).

Fallowfield Tree Farm is a great option for people who want to stick closer to the centre of Ottawa. Located on Fallowfield Rd. in Stittsville, the farm is about 15 minutes west of downtown Ottawa. It has several activities for visitors, including a bonfire, hay rides, a couple farm animals, and a Santa who greets visitors in the parking lot. One word of warning – be careful about petting the goat, or your hand will smell like mine did for the rest of the day (even with the use of Purell)! I think it was a billy goat, because female goats usually don’t give off such a strong odour. But I can never resist petting animals, so I didn’t mind – just be aware if you go! Continue reading “Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Part 2: Fallowfield, Thomas, Hillcrest and Briggs Tree Farms”

Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree: Ian’s Evergreen Plantation and Cedar Hill Berry Farm

Wagon ride over covered bridge
In all the years I’ve lived in Ottawa (going on 18 years – how time flies), I’ve never been to a Christmas tree farm. Which is a shame, because Ottawa has some really great cut-your-own Christmas tree farms, as I found out today when I visited Ian’s Evergreen Plantation and Cedar Hill Berry Farm. Even if you’re not looking to buy a Christmas tree, it’s worth going out to one of the local plantations to enjoy the festivities and natural surroundings (and maybe buy some other goods for sale – such as wreaths, hot chocolate, and preserves). Continue reading “Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree: Ian’s Evergreen Plantation and Cedar Hill Berry Farm”

Les Trois Coteaux Heritage Farm Tour

Fjord horse

A couple weekends back, my husband and I visited Les Trois Coteaux, a heritage breeds farm located in Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix, Quebec (near Ripon). Daniel Miclette, the owner of the farm, offers 90-minute tours in French or English for anyone who wants to visit the farm. The cost is $10 each for adults, free for children 14 and under. Although it was November – probably the worst month to visit in terms of weather and scenery – we had a great time and learned a lot about heritage breeds and farming.

Daniel Miclette grew up on a mixed farm that switched over to dairy after the Quebec government began encouraging farms to specialize back in the 1970s. He didn’t really like the dairy farming life, so he followed a different career path. But he still loved farming, so he started Les Troix Coteaux and now raises a number of heritage breeds, including Highland and Canadienne cattle, Fjord horses, Sanglachon pigs (wild boar/heritage pig crosses), Chantecler chickens, Katahdin and Blackbelly sheep, and Primorski bees. He now welcomes visitors to the farm to learn about these breeds and enjoy the surroundings. Continue reading “Les Trois Coteaux Heritage Farm Tour”

Cranberry Farms in the Ottawa Region

Floating cranberries at Cranberries Valley
Several people have asked me about the picture at the top of my web site. What is it? Why is the water red? The answer is that it’s a cranberry farm!
A flooded cranberry bog is one of the most beautiful sights in the fall; the red water and the fall foliage are really something to see. We are lucky enough to have two of these farms in our region: Upper Canada Cranberries and Cranberries Valley (aka Vallée de Cannaberges). Continue reading “Cranberry Farms in the Ottawa Region”

Millers’ Farm & Market in Manotick

Pumpkins for sale

It’s not too often that you get picked up by the side of the road by a man in a John Deere tractor. But that’s exactly what happened to me yesterday when I visited Millers’ Farm and Market in Manotick.

I had gone to Millers’ to check out their agritourism operation. Millers’ Farm and Market has a little bit of everything: pick your own berries and pumpkins, wagon rides (on weekends), tours for school groups, a large gift shop, antiques, home-made preserves and pickles, a garden centre, and fresh local and Ontario produce. They also have an 8 acre corn maze, which is what I was looking at when Ron Miller came by on his tractor from a back field. He stopped the tractor to say hi, and when I told him that I was doing research on agritourism in the Ottawa region, he invited me to climb into the tractor for a tour of the farm! Continue reading “Millers’ Farm & Market in Manotick”

Saunders Farm

Spiral Maze
My sister and her family visited Ottawa this week from the Toronto area. Before she came, we discussed various agritourism attractions we could visit. One option was Saunders Farm, so I showed the kids the web site last weekend, and the advertising was a huge hit. So much so that when we arrived at the farm yesterday, my nephew said, “There are three things I want to do here. The pirate ship, the mazes, and THE ICE CREAM!!!!!” That picture of a big ice cream cone on the Saunders web site was probably the biggest lure for the kids. As someone in the marketing industry, I admire the Saunders family’s marketing savvy!
Saunders Farm is a full-day experience, and well worth the $13 entry fee ($50 for families of 2 adults and 2 children). There is so much to do: 11 mazes, a water spray zone, a pirate ship, a tree house play area, puppet shows, wagon rides, old log buildings, a gift shop, and more. The farm is laid out perfectly – parents can sit down on Adirondack chairs in the centre of all the fun, and watch their kids burn off all their excess energy! Or they can join in on the fun, especially in the mazes, which could entertain adults or older kids for hours. Continue reading “Saunders Farm”

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