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Trees and forests

Ottawa’s Urban Forest Management Plan

Foundation damage

Trees near foundations

Trees are often considered to be the cause of damage to building foundations, but trees are not always the source of the problem.

Damage is often a result of the behaviour of the soils under the foundation. Uneven soil shrinkage can lead to uneven settlement and foundation damage. In the Ottawa area, shrinkage of sensitive marine clay is a major contributor to building foundation damage.

The City of Ottawa is committed to protecting its natural environment and resource base. In an effort to preserve mature trees, the City has instituted a formal 4-phase assessment process to investigate the circumstances related to mature municipal trees that are suspected of contributing to foundation damage.

For program information call 3-1-1.

Tree and infill development

City of Ottawa infill tree conservation program

Tree conservation is considered an essential element in the growth and development of the City of Ottawa. Trees improve air quality, reduce heating and cooling costs, minimize our carbon footprint, and increase property value. The Infill Tree Conservation Program has been developed to maintain and enhance these benefits within the city.

These infill guidelines apply to all new single, semi-detached, duplex and triplex units built inside the greenbelt that are not subject to Site Plan or Subdivision applications.

Infill Tree Conservation Program brochure [ PDF 2.799 MB ]

Building permit application

For each building permit application for a new single, semi-detached, duplex or triplex within the greenbelt, the following must be included:

  • Tree disclosure information on the grading plan submission - prepared by an Arborist identifying those trees that are protected under the Urban Tree Conservation By-law 2009-200 and the Municipal Trees and Natural Areas Protection By-law 2006-279. 
  • Grading Plans must include:
    • A table listing the diameter at breast height (DBH), species, condition, ownership, and outcome (retain or remove) for all trees that are protected under city by-laws. This includes all city owned trees and distinctive trees (with a DBH of 50 cm or greater) on the subject property and on adjacent properties whose critical root zone (CRZ) falls within the area of excavation. For those on neighbouring properties, their location and DBH can be estimated.
    • The location of all trees listed in the table and the proposed zone of excavation overlaid on the grading plan. Where excavation is planned within the critical root zone of any of the trees listed in the table, an Arborist assessment of the impact of the work must be included. This assessment should include any mitigation measures that should be implemented for retained trees. 
  • A $700 refundable tree planning deposit to ensure that trees lost to development are replaced, will be collected at building permit issuance.

Pre-construction requirement

  • All trees protected under City tree By-laws shall have protective fencing (snow or metal) around them prior to construction. This protection zone shall be the maximum area available to the tree that will not have any vehicular traffic, nor be used for the storage of materials. A sign will be installed on the fence identifying those trees that are to be protected under the By-laws.
  • The applicant shall contact the Forestry Inspector prior to construction to ensure that any trees protected under City tree By-laws have been properly protected according to City standards.
  • If a neighbouring Distinctive Tree will be damaged, it is recommended that the applicant contact the neighbour prior to excavation to discuss mitigation measures.

If tree removals are required

Private trees

If the tree is 50 cm or greater in diameter (157 cm circumference), a Distinctive Tree Permit is required. To obtain a permit, visit your local Client Service Centre to apply. Visit for more information, including how to measure a tree.

City trees

If removal of any City tree is requested, contact Forestry Services through 3-1-1 and a Forestry Inspector will contact you. If tree removal is approved, the compensation value of the tree will be assessed and this value must be paid to Forestry Services in addition to the $700 refundable tree planting deposit; the removal and replacement costs will be the responsibility of the applicant. 

Building construction completed

  • Once a new building is complete, the applicant is required to plant a new tree in the right-of-way adjacent to the new dwelling. If there is no space to plant a tree in the right-of-way, the tree may be planted on private property. The tree shall be planted according to the City of Ottawa Tree Planting Specifications for Infill Properties. 
  • Once the tree is planted, contact 3-1-1 and request an infill tree planting inspection. 
  • A Forestry Inspector will visit the site to inspect the tree. If the tree has been planted successfully according to the City of Ottawa Tree Planting Specifications for Infill Properties, the $700 deposit will be refunded. If the tree has not been planted or does not meet the City specifications, Forestry Services will retain the deposit and either plant a tree on the right-of-way (space permitting) or elsewhere in the City.
  • In the event there is a City tree in the right-of-way that is to be retained during construction, the refundable tree planting deposit will be retained to ensure that it is protected properly, and will be released only once the Forestry Inspector determines it has not been damaged through the construction. In the event the tree has been damaged, additional charges and fees may apply according to the Municipal Trees and Natural Areas Protection By-law 2006-279.
  • If the removal of a City-owned tree was approved by Forestry Services prior to construction, replacement tree(s) will be required in accordance with the agreement made at that time.

Tree planting specifications for infill properties

Proposed planting locations and species must be approved by Forestry Services prior to planting within the right-of-way (ROW), usually through submission of a Landscape Plan. If the planting does not meet Forestry Services' specifications, the $700 tree planting deposit will not be refunded. Below are the guidelines; where space is limited to plant a tree, please contact the ward Forestry Inspector to discuss options.

Any trees planted within the ROW are immediately protected under the Municipal Trees and Natural Areas Protection by-law (2006-279) and cannot be moved after planting.

For any City-owned tree that is to be retained, the Infill Tree Planting Deposit will be held as a security to ensure that it is protected properly, and will be released once the Forestry Inspector confirms that it has not been damaged through the construction. In the event the tree has been damaged, additional charges may apply. Refer to the tree protection guidelines for more information.

Planning for planting in the ROW:

  • Determine how much open (soft) space is available in the planting location. A minimum of 9 m2 (1 m depth) of good soil is recommended to support one tree. If there is insufficient space to plant in the ROW, planting on private property will be considered.
  • Note the locations and types of existing obstacles, above and below ground, using existing surveys plans, observations, and have utility locations marked by contacting or 1-800-400-2255 (call before you dig). Use this information along with the setbacks listed below to determine a suitable planting location on the site, and the appropriate size of tree to plant.
  • If there are overhead wires present, consult Hydro Ottawa’s tree planting guidelines
  • If sensitive marine clay has been confirmed on the site through a geotechnical report, only small-growing, low-water demand species may be planted a minimum of 7.5m from the house. 
  • Ensure no future conflicts with building projections, overhead or underground utilities that would pose future maintenance problems or impede full development of the canopy.
  • Tree species must be appropriate for the site (size at maturity, salt tolerance, etc.). There are many resources online to help select the right tree for your lot. Keep in mind that often native trees are best adapted to the local climate but less so for high salt conditions.
  • Planting must be done according to the specifications in Forestry Services’ tree planting detail.
  • Trees must be watered regularly following planting to ensure proper establishment. Inspections will take place in the autumn at which point the City will assume maintenance responsibilities for trees planted in the ROW.

Key spacing (minimum distance) guidelines:

For deciduous trees:

  • Minimum 50mm caliper stock
  • 1m from utility boxes
  • 1.5m from sidewalks, driveways, walkways, fences, sound walls, and old stumps.
  • 2.5m from curbs, hydro transformers, or behind fire hydrants
  • 4-7m from any part of an existing tree, depending on canopy width
  • 10m from bus shelters and community mailboxes

For conifer (evergreen) trees:

Follow same setbacks as deciduous, but due to the widest branching being at the base of the tree, conifers need greater setbacks for ground-level obstacles.

  • Minimum 200cm height stock
  • 4.5m setbacks from sidewalks, walkways, driveways, and curbs.
  • Do not plant on corners where sight lines will be compromised.

How to get your Tree planting deposit back:

  • Once the tree is planted, contact 311 and request an “Infill Tree Planting Inspection”. Inspections will take place in the autumn of each year.
  • A Forestry Inspector will visit the site to inspect the tree. If the tree has been planted successfully according to these specifications, the $700 deposit will be refunded. If the tree has not been planted, Forestry Services will retain the deposit and either plant a tree on the right-of-way (space permitting) or elsewhere in the City.

For more information call 3-1-1.

Key Definitions

arborist” means an expert in the care and maintenance of trees and includes an arborist qualified by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, a certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture, a consulting arborist registered with the American Society of Consulting Arborists, a Registered Professional Forester or a person with other similar qualifications as approved by the General Manager;

Critical root zone (CRZ) - The critical root zone (CRZ) is established as being 10 centimetres from the trunk of a tree for every centimetre of trunk DBH. The CRZ is calculated as DBH x 10 cm

DBH” or “diameter at breast height” means the measurement of a trunk of a tree at a height of one hundred and twenty (120) cm

Watering your tree

Newly planted trees

Newly planted trees require a regular supply of water to survive since they do not have a network of roots and are less able to absorb water. Always water the hole before planting and water regularly.

During dry periods, use a soaker or drip hose. The best way to ensure that the water reaches the roots is to maintain the earth ring or saucer around your tree. Place the soaker hose in the earth and water for two hours twice a week. If it rains for two or more days, watering is unnecessary.

Watering should be done in the morning before the heat of the day. If the water is pooling or running off to surrounding areas, either the flow rate is too high or the ground is saturated and you should stop watering. Use a hose water timer to ensure that you don't over water.

Mature trees

A tree that has been planted for 15 years or more may appear to be able to survive without your help. Its root system can reach water and nutrients even when surface conditions appear very dry. Trees of all ages suffer when there is a drought. Water does not reach trees planted in areas such as sidewalks, patios, or raised lawns where water naturally drains away. Be sure to pay extra attention to these trees. Extra water to all trees during a drought can prevent pests or disease.

Trees near foundations

During very dry weather, soil particles will “lock up” water molecules at a threshold level. This is especially true of clay soil particles, which have very strong electrical charges and hold water very tightly. This is the beginning of a battle between soil particles and roots for water uptake. Clay soils will actually shrink in volume due to water loss, which reduces the soil’s capacity to support adjacent structures such as foundations. Foundation damage from unstable clay soils may be avoided by ensuring that trees close to foundations are always well irrigated. Again, the overnight trickle from a garden hose will help maintain the water balance necessary to keep clay based soils stable. During drought conditions, water overnight weekly. Should you require additional information, please call 3-1-1.

Conservation Areas, Forests and Parks

Take a hike! Ottawa has many natural areas – from urban paved pathways to rugged untamed terrain. There are scenic paths and trails to satisfy the beginner to the expert hiker! Go out and explore our city and fall in love with its natural, beautiful features.

Examples of natural areas showing marsh, woodland, creek, raccoon, butterfly

Natural Areas Map 

Inside the Greenbelt

Britannia Conservation Area

Britannia Conservation Area

What you'll see:

A 79 hectare patch of wilderness in the middle of an urban setting, Britannia Conservation Area is an amazing area of forest and wetlands. It is home to a pond called Mud Lake and hundreds of species of wildlife, with raccoons, frogs, turtles and foxes. This is prime birding territory, with thousands of birdwatchers coming each year to observe hundreds of different species. A walk through this easy-to-access natural area provides an exciting escape from city life.

What you'll experience:

• Distance: 3-5 km of trails
• Location: Along the Ottawa River in Britannia Village
Map [ PDF 919 KB ]

What's in the area:

• An easy network of trails surrounding Mud Lake providing several trail branches, boardwalks, and views of the lake and the Ottawa River
• Pleasant forest experience with very old tall pines
• Britannia Conservation Area is one of the best places in Ottawa to photograph birds, including the spectacular wood duck
• Parking and washrooms in Britannia Park
• Accessible by bicycle and OC Transpo Route 16

Getting There:

Exit at Pinecrest Road (exit 129) off the Highway 417. Go north on Pinecrest, then turn right (east) onto Richmond Road. After Richmond crosses Carling Avenue, turn left (north) onto Poulin Avenue. Poulin intersects with Britannia Road. Turning right onto Britannia will take you to Cassels Street. Parking is available on Cassels Street.

Caldwell-Carver Conservation Area

Caldwell-Carver Conservation Area

What you'll see:

The Caldwell-Carver Conservation area has pathways around the eastern shore of McKay Lake and a smaller pond with a sandy beach. The rich woodland retains an abundance of bird species.

What you'll experience:

• Distance: 2-4 km of pathways
• Location: Rockcliffe Park
Map [ PDF 815 KB ]

What's in the area:

• Attractions include hiking and nature appreciation
• Public swimming is permitted in the Pond (an old quarry adjacent to McKay Lake) between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m.. Public swimming is not permitted in McKay Lake.
• Wildlife includes songbirds, porcupine, chipmunk, squirrels
• Accessible by bicycle and OC Transpo Route 5

Getting There:

From Highway 417, take the Vanier Parkway exit, go north to Beechwood Avenue. Turn right onto Beechwood Avenue. Beechwood Avenue will turn into Hemlock Street. Take a left onto Pond Street and keep right, on-street parking available.

Richelieu Park

Richelieu Park

What you'll see:

The Richelieu Park is a 17 hectare rich maple forest that is home to many species of birds and small woodland animals. Picnic tables, playgrounds, park benches, flower beds and the 2.5 km of hiking and cycling trails make this a popular spot.

What you'll experience:

• Distance: 2.5 km of pathways
• Location: Vanier
Map [ PDF 708 KB ]

What's in the area:

• Attractions include walking, cycling, picnics, playgrounds and an annual maple syrup festival
• The site offers a variety of services including pétanque and croquet courts and soccer field, the Muséoparc Vanier, the Action-Vanier Sugar Shack as well as the Vanier Branch of the Ottawa Public Library.
• Wildlife includes songbirds, porcupine, chipmunk, squirrels
• Accessible by bicycle, bus (OC Transpo route 5) or car

Getting There:

From Hwy 417, take exit for Promenade Riverside / Vanier Parkway. Turn north onto Vanier Parkway. Turn right onto Montreal Road. Turn left onto Marier Ave. Turn right onto Longpre Street. Turn right onto Des Pères-Blancs. Building is at the end of the road. Parking is available at the Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre at 300 Des Pères-Blancs.


Carp Hills Forest

Carp Hills Forest

What you'll see:

The Carp Hills are an extension of the same Canadian Shield ecosystem as Gatineau and Algonquin Parks, with rock outcrops and woodlands. The City owns 1000 hectares of this natural area that includes many shallow beaver ponds connected by small streams. Thinly soiled uplands support young forests of red maple, sugar maple, white spruce, trembling aspen, white birch, bur oak and red oak. Several great blue heron colonies are known to use the ponds.

What you'll experience:
  • Distance: 1-2 km pathway at Hidden Lake Park in the Village of Carp, longer more rugged trails elsewhere
  • Location: The Carp Hills run roughly northwest from the South March Highlands at March Road to the Kinburn Side Road
  • Map [ PDF 773 KB ]
What's in the area:
  • Attractions include great views of the agricultural landscape of the Carp River valley, and outcroppings of granite bedrock that In the spring explodes with wildflowers and green mosses, sedges, and lichens
  • Pathways at Hidden Lake Park in the Village of Carp
  • The rock barrens adjacent to Thomas Dolan Parkway are very sensitive to foot traffic. Please keep to bare rock wherever possible and avoid disturbing areas of moss and lichen cover.
  • Wildlife include deer, black bear, beaver, porcupine, Blanding's turtle, songbirds, herons, chipmunk and squirrels
Getting There:

There are several points of entry to the Carp Hills. In the Village of Carp, Hidden Lake Park, 149 Hidden Lake Crescent, there is parking and a 1-2km pathway. There is limited roadside parking and a rugged trailhead on Thomas Dolan Parkway, about 2.1 km from the Carp Road intersection (heading northeast) and 1.6 km from the Stonecrest intersection (heading south).

Island Conservation Area

Morris Island Conservation Area

What you'll see:

The 47 hectare site offers a diverse natural environment of wetland and upland areas with beautiful sheltered bays, small off-shore islands and spectacular scenic views of the Ottawa River. Picnic areas and canoe launches are available. Fishing for pickerel, perch, and pike is a common activity at the site. A diverse bird population makes it a popular birding location.

What you'll experience:
  • Distance: 6 km of trails
  • Location: Along the Ottawa River near Fitzroy Harbour
  • Map [ PDF 656 KB ]
What's in the area:
  • Attractions include two main hiking trails, and a 0.5km wheelchair accessible loop. Fishing platforms, canoe launches and picnic areas are available
  • The area is open to the public year round and offers recreational activities such as hiking, picnicking, canoeing, fishing and nature areas. Morris Island provides an ideal location for photographing autumn foliage, which is often reflected in the calm waters of the Conservation Area.
  • Wildlife includes birds, deer, beavers, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons and porcupine
  • Modern wheelchair accessible washrooms located off the parking lot and outhouse style washrooms are located throughout the site
Getting There:

From Highway 417, take the Antrim exit and drive northeast 0.8 km to Antrim and Highway 17. Turn left or northwest on Highway 17 and go 6.2 km to the Galetta Side Road. Turn right and proceed 4.2 km to Logger's Way. Turn right onto it and go 0.8 km to the bridge onto Morris Island.

Kemp Woodland

Kemp Woodland

What you'll see:

The Kemp Woodlot is a 9 hectare mature cedar forest in Stittsville that is well over 100 years old. The natural area is along the Trans-Canada Trail and there are informal trails in the natural area.

What you'll experience:
  • Distance: informal trails
  • Location: Stittsville
What's in the area:
  • Attractions include hiking and nature appreciation
  • The trail systems is being improved with a partnership with the Ottawa Stewardship Council and Sacred Heart High School
  • Wildlife includes songbirds, porcupine, chipmunk, squirrels
  • Washrooms are available at the Goulbourn Recreation Complex
  • Accessible by bicycle and OC Transpo Route 96
Getting There:

From Highway 417, take the Terry Fox exit south to Hazeldean Road. Turn right on Hazeldean Road, left on Iber Road, and right on Abbott Street. There is parking available at the Goulbourn Recreation Complex at the intersection of Shea Road and Abbott Street beside Sacred Heart High School. The address is 1500 Shea Road.


Kizell Wetland

What you'll see:

The provincially significant Kizell wetland, which includes the area known as the beaver pond, has been integrated into the community of Kanata Lakes. Pathways have been developed on both sides of the wetland.

What you'll experience:
  • Distance: 3 km of trails
  • Location: Kanata North
What's in the area:
  • Attractions include hiking, dog walking, jogging, skiing, snowshoeing
  • Wildlife include deer, beaver, Blanding's turtle, songbirds, frogs, chipmunks and squirrels
Getting There:

Located a short distance north of the intersection of Terry Fox Drive and Kanata Avenue. The trails can be accessed from Goulbourn Forced Road or from the east end of Walden Drive. There is a parking lot at the Walden Drive trailhead.

Sheila McKee Park

Sheila McKee Park

What you'll see:

The escarpment along the Ottawa River's shore allows visitors to experience the peacefulness and beauty of the area. The rocky shore's special qualities include waterfalls in summer, ice formations in winter; miniature evergreen trees and some very old evergreens growing out of the steep cliffs.

What you'll experience:
  • Distance: 2 km of trails
  • Location: Along the Ottawa River east of Dunrobin
  • Map [ PDF 683 KB ]
What's in the area:
  • Attractions include walking and pedestrian access to the Ottawa River
  • The City, through purchase of service arrangements with the Kanata Nordic Ski Club, also supports the grooming of cross country ski trails at the park
  • Wildlife include salamanders, squirrels, porcupines and songbirds
Getting There:

Sheila McKee Park is at 1730 Sixth Line Road, north of Riddell Drive. Take the March Road exit off of Highway 417. Drive north on March Road and when the road curves to the left, turn right onto Dunrobin Road. Turn right again almost immediately onto Riddell Drive. Follow Riddell Drive east; when it curves sharply to the left, it becomes Sixth Line Road. Continue past the Y camp entrance. A short distance later, turn right into the park driveway – you will see a Sheila McKee Park sign.

South March Highlands Conservation Forest

South March Highlands Conservation Forest

What you'll see:

Visit 450 hectares of beautiful and diverse habitats ranging from woodlands and wetlands to rocky outcrops of the Canadian Shield. It includes a mature sugar maple forest, scenic outlooks, numerous small ponds, a large central wetland, ponds, rugged terrain and steep slopes.

What you'll experience:
  • Distance: 15.2 km of trails are maintained by the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association and open to everyone
  • Location: Kanata North
  • Map: Ottawa Mountain Bike Association 
What's in the area:
  • Attractions include hiking, dog-walking, jogging, skiing, snowshoeing, and mountain biking
  • Wildlife include deer, black bears, beavers, porcupine, Blanding's turtle, songbirds, herons, chipmunks and squirrels
Getting There:

The South March Highlands are located in Kanata North. One of the main points of entry and parking can be found at the junction of Klondike and Second Line Road along the shoulder of Second Line Road. Parking lot at the Richcraft Recreation Complex can be used to access the South March Highlands (via pathways).

Trillium Woods

Trillium Woods

What you'll see:

This natural area of 134 hectares of woods is rich for its biodiversity, recreational trails, frog pond, and great opportunities to spot white trilliums and other wildflowers in springtime. It is known for its mature upland forest, which includes sugar maples, beech, white pine and red oak trees.

What you'll experience:
  • Distance: 5 km of trails 
  • Location: Kanata North
What's in the area:
  • Attractions include walking with accessible pathways, hiking, dog-walking, jogging, skiing, snowshoeing, and mountain biking
  • Wildlife include deer, porcupine, beavers, Blanding's turtle, songbirds, wood frog, chipmunks and squirrels
  • Trail connection to the South March Highlands trails north of Terry Fox Road
  • Washrooms at the Richcraft Recreation Complex
Getting There:

Trillium Woods trailhead is located at the Richcraft Recreation Complex located at 4101 Innovation Drive. Lots of parking located at the recreation complex, (distinct trailhead parking lot located to the south of the sports field), located in Kanata North, near the Terry Fox Drive and March Road Intersection.

Torbolton Forest

What you'll see:

The Torbolton Forest is 260 hectares of tall red, white and jack pine and red oak in the centre of the Village of Constance Bay. After a walk in the forest, enjoy the nearby beach on the Ottawa River! The natural area is within the Constance Bay Sand Hills, which is a provincially significant dune forest complex. As the areas is known for poison ivy, take care to take precautions.

Torbolton Forest

What you'll experience:
What's in the area:
  • Attractions include walking, horseback riding, cycling, skiing and snowmobiling
  • Torbolton Nordic Ski Club maintains approximately 30 km of ski trails through-out the Torbolton Forest and around the peninsula
  • The snowmobile trail, which runs down the centre of the forest, is marked and groomed and requires the use of a West Carleton Snowmobile Trails Association trail pass
  • Wildlife includes songbirds, porcupine, black bear, white-tailed deer, red fox
  • Vegetation on the sand dunes is very sensitive. Please avoid disturbing the dunes as much as possible.
  • Washrooms are available at the Constance Bay Community Centre
Getting There:

From Highway 417, take March Road exit to Dunrobin Road. Follow Dunrobin Road for 17 km and turn right onto Constance Bay Road. Turn at first left onto Allbirch Road. Follow Allbirch Road to the end (1 km), turn left onto Bishop Davis Drive. Bishop Davis Drive curves to the right and becomes Bayview Drive. Follow Bayview Drive for 1 km, turn at first right onto Len Purcell Drive.

Parking is available at the Constance Bay Community Centre, 262 Len Purcell Drive.


Cumberland Forest

Cumberland Forest

What you'll see:

The Cumberland Forest is 600 hectares in size, split into three parcels of land surrounding the Village of Vars. The forest is dominated by red maple, poplar, birch trees, red and white pine. The properties in the central block form part of the provincially significant Limoges Wetland Complex and serve as an important wildlife corridor.

What you'll experience:
What's in the area:
  • Attractions include hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. There are a number of trails in each of the forest parcels; those near Sand Road are actively used and maintained by the Carleton Regional Snowmobile Club
  • Wildlife includes songbirds, porcupine, black bear, white-tailed deer, red fox, coyote
Getting There:

From Highway 417, take Anderson Road exit, turn right and follow Anderson Road to the 1st cross street. Turn onto Leitrim Rd/Ottawa Regional Rd 14. Continue onto Russell Rd/Ottawa Regional Rd 26 E and turn right onto Sand Road.

Petrie Island

Petrie Island

What you'll see:

Petrie Island is a 291 hectare conservation and recreation area located along the Ottawa River in the east end of the City. It is primarily known for its beach but also offers hiking, canoeing, kayaking and it is considered a favorite destination for naturalists and hikers. Petrie Island consists of wetlands, forests and a series of islands on the Ottawa River with a total shoreline length, including all channels and bays, of about 12 km. It includes a provincially significant wetland. The Friends of Petrie Island operate a nature centre in an old cottage near the picnic area. The centre is open weekends in May, June and September and daily in July and August

What you'll experience:
  • Distance: 5 km of trails
  • Location: Accessible from the Trim Road exit on Regional Road 174
  • Map [ PDF 704 KB ]
What's in the area:
  • Attractions include hiking, jogging, picnics, swimming at the beach and watching wildlife
  • Bicycles are not permitted on trails
  • Dogs are not permitted
  • Friends of Petrie Island offer summer programs for children. 
  • The Rideau Canoe Club runs a 1/2-day summer program for children to learn about kayaking. 
  • Common Petrie sightings include turtles and birds including the painted turtle, map turtle, frogs, herons and ducks
  • Easily accessible by bicycle, bus or car
Getting There:

Take Highway 417 and Regional Road 174 to Trim Road. Head north on Trim Road past North Service Road down towards the island. Paid Parking is available, $2 for 5 hours, 07:00-18:00, 7 days a week.

The nearest bus stops are the Trim Road park-and-ride lot and the North Service Road local bus stop. The 95 route runs every 15 minutes during the week and the local bus runs every hour. Some of these buses will have bicycle racks. From the bus stop it is an enjoyable 15 to 20 minute walk or a 5 to 7 minute bike ride to Petrie Island, down the hill and along the causeway with many views of the water and optional trails to take off the main road.
OC Transpo route 198 is a summer weekend and holiday route that offers frequent trips from Place D'Orleans station to the beach at Petrie Island.


Marlborough Forest

Marlborough Forest

What you'll see:

The Marlborough Forest is one of the most significant areas in the City of Ottawa for maintaining diversity and ecological functions. The City owns 8,149 hectares of this large natural area. It includes several different types of wetlands and a wide variety of forests, thickets and open fields. In addition to being part of the Rideau Trail System, a hiking trail that runs from Ottawa to Kingston, the Marlborough Forest features the Cedar Grove trail (with parking lot on Roger Stevens Drive), and a number of snowmobile trails maintained by the Rideau Snowmobile Association.

What you'll experience:
  • Distance: The Cedar Grove Nature Trail that is 2 km in length. It is maintained The Rideau Trail Association.
  • Location: Roger Stevens Drive
  • Map [ PDF 946 KB ]
What's in the area:
  • Attractions include hiking, skiing, and snowmobile trails
  • Wildlife include deer, grouse, moose, beaver, herons, turtles and frogs
  • Hunting is permitted in the Marlborough Forest. Visitors are encouraged to stay on forestry roads and established trails during the autumn hunting season, and to wear bright clothing.
  • Washroom facilities at Cedar Nature Grove Trail parking lot
Getting There:

There are several points of entry to the Marlborough Forest. There are three parking lots on Roger Stevens Drive between Malakoff Road and Dwyer Hill Road and one on Paden Road. To reach the parking area for the Cedar Grove Nature Trail, take the Roger Stevens Drive exit from Highway 416. Follow Roger Stevens Drive southwest 14.5 km to the parking area.

Richmond Conservation Area

Richmond Conservation Area

What you'll see:

The Richmond Conservation Area is 56 hectares and borders the Jock River. The area is characterized by three large built ponds or lagoon cells, meadows planted with young conifers and small patches of regenerating forest. There are a number of pathways which weave through the forest areas and around the lagoons. The lagoons are known as a stopover point for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. Portions of the pathway may be closed intermittently in 2015 and 2016 for work associated with the Richmond Forcemain Project.

What you'll experience:
  • Distance: 2-4 km of pathways
  • Location: Village of Richmond
What's in the area:
  • Attractions include hiking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling
  • Part of the pathway is maintained by the Rideau Trail Association
  • Wildlife includes area-sensitive songbirds, ducks, herons, turtles and beaver
Getting There:

The Village of Richmond is easily accessible from Highways 416, exit and Brophy Drive and Highway 417 via Eagleson Road South. There is a parking lot for the Conservation Area on the west side of Eagleson Road just north of the intersection with Barnsdale Road.


Find out more about the over 1,000 different native plants in the Ottawa area.

Learn More

Native plants

Native plants are adapted to local climate, soil conditions and diseases. Since they have evolved surviving on rainfall alone, they are good choices for low maintenance, low water consumption gardens. They are also excellent choices for wildlife, providing food and shelter for many local pollinators and other species!

Check with your local nursery or garden supply store for more information on native plants such as the ones suggested below. Local sources of native plants include the Ferguson Forest Centre in Kemptville and the Oldfield Habitat Garden & Wildflower Nursery, as well as the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club’s annual native plant sale at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden (Experimental Farm).

Make sure that the plants you choose are actually native to eastern Ontario, not just to North America in general. The City of Ottawa has a list of all known plant species occurring here, with notations on which ones are not native to our area. There are several organisations that provide great resources as well; for more information on native plants, please refer to the following:


In areas that are not used much, grass can be replaced by one or more groundcovers. Many of the following species will thrive in shady areas, unlike most turf grasses. They are also much better for pollinators than turf!

  • Bearberry (white-pink flowers in early spring; red berries in summer) – Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • Bloodroot (beautiful white flowers in early spring) – Sanguinaria canadensis
  • Bunchberry (white flowers followed by red berries) – Cornus canadensis
  • Canada Mayflower (white flowers in spring) – Maianthemum canadense
  • Foamflower (clusters of white flowers in spring) – Tiarella cordifolia
  • Partridgeberry (very low-growing, evergreen with red berries) – Mitchella repens
  • Violets, including Sweet White, Canada, Northern White, Yellow or Common Blue – Viola blanda, V. canadensis, V. macloskeyi, V. pubescens or V. sororia
  • Wild Ginger (interesting flowers in spring) – Asarum canadense
  • Wild Strawberry (white flowers in late spring, edible berries in summer) – Fragaria virginiana
  • Wintergreen (low-growing, aromatic evergreen leaves and red berries) – Gaultheria procumbens


Many commercially prepared wildflower seed mixes contain species that are not native to our area. Some mixes even include invasive species that should not be planted near natural areas! The following species are recommended, especially for pollinator-friendly gardens:

  • Asters, such as Panicled, Calico, New England or Purple-stemmed – Symphyotrichum (formerly Aster) lanceolatum, S. lateriflorum, S. novae-angliae or S. puniceum
  • Blue Flag – Iris versicolor
  • Canada Anemone – Anemone canadensis
  • Cardinal Flower – Lobelia cardinalis
  • Goldenrods, including Tall, Canada, Zigzag, Early or Rough – Solidago altissima, S. canadensis, S. flexicaulis, S. juncea or S. rugosa
  • Milkweeds, such as Common, Swamp, and the increasingly popular Butterfly-weed – Asclepias syriaca, A. incarnata, and A. tuberosa
  • Mints, such as Wild Bergamot, Wild Mint, or Northern Bugleweed – Monarda fistulosa, Mentha canadensis, Lycopus uniflorus
  • Spring-beauty – Claytonia caroliniana
  • Trilliums, including White or Red – Trillium grandiflorum or T. erectum
  • Wild Columbine – Aquilegia canadensis


The deciduous shrubs listed below have beautiful flowers that attract pollinators, and fruits that are eaten by birds and other wildlife.  The evergreens also provide food and shelter for wildlife.

  • Canada Yew (evergreen) – Taxus canadensis
  • Chokeberry – Aronia melanocarpa (also known as Photinia melanocarpa)
  • Common Juniper (evergreen) – Juniperus communis
  • Dogwood, such as Grey (Panicled) or Red-osier – Cornus racemosa or C. sericea
  • Elderberry, either Common or Red – Sambucus canadensis or S. pubens (also known as S. racemosa ssp. pubens)
  • Maple-leaf Viburnum – Viburnum acerifolium
  • Nannyberry – Viburnum lentago
  • Northern Bush-honeysuckle – Diervilla lonicera
  • Purple-flowered Raspberry (large, showy flowers and leaves) – Rubus odoratus
  • Staghorn Sumac (large shrub/small tree; spreads by roots) – Rhus typhina
  • Winterberry (bright red berries in fall and winter) – Ilex verticillata

Trees (small)

Many of these trees have flowers that attract pollinators, and fruits that are eaten by birds and other wildlife.  White cedar provides food and shelter for wildlife such as birds, squirrels and deer.

  • Alternate-leaved Dogwood – Cornus alternifolia
  • Blue-beech – Carpinus caroliniana
  • Hawthorn – Crataegus chrysocarpa, C. flabellata or C. submollis
  • Pin Cherry – Prunus pensylvanica
  • Maple, either Mountain or Striped – Acer spicatum or A. pensylvanicum
  • Serviceberry – Amelanchier arborea
  • White Cedar (evergreen) – Thuja occidentalis

Trees (large)

Large trees provide food and shelter to many species of birds and other wildlife.  They also provide us with great benefits such as shade, cleaner air, and higher property values!

  • American Beech – Fagus grandifolia
  • Balsam Fir (evergreen) – Abies balsamea
  • Birch, either White or Yellow – Betula papyrifera or B. alleghaniensis
  • Bitternut Hickory – Carya cordiformis
  • Black Cherry – Prunus serotina
  • Maple, either Red, Silver, United (hybrid) or Sugar – Acer rubrum, A. saccharinum, A. x freemanii or A. saccharum
  • Oak, either Red or Bur – Quercus rubra or Q. macrocarpa
  • Tamarack – Larix laricina
  • White Pine (evergreen) – Pinus strobus
  • White Spruce (evergreen) – Picea glauca