learn about the Greenbelt
why Greenbelt?

Ontario’s Greenbelt is 2 million acres of protected land. It extends as far north as Tobermory and stretches 325 kilometres from Rice Lake in Northumberland County to the Niagara River. The Greenbelt also wraps around the Greater Golden Horseshoe — the area that surrounds the western end of Lake Ontario. One of the fastest growing regions in North America, by 2031 the population of the Greater Golden Horseshoe is expected to increase to more than 11 million.

population of the
Greater Golden Horseshoe:

The Greenbelt protects environmentally sensitive areas and productive farmlands from urban development and sprawl. The Greenbelt is the solution for:

More than 90% of Ontarians agree that the Greenbelt is one of the most important contributions to the future of the province
The Greenbelt covers nearly 2 million acres of land in Ontario
That’s bigger than Prince Edward Island !
acres of land
acres of land

The Greenbelt’s natural heritage system encompasses 535,000 acres of lakes, wetlands, river valleys, and forests.

Habitat is protected for wildlife and 78 species at risk within a continuous band of green countryside.

The forested area of the Greenbelt alone can offset the equivalent of 27 million cars driven over one year.

On average, food travels
2500 km before it reaches our plates

Greenbelt-grown food travels less than

Imagine the reduction
in air pollution! Yum!

There are approximately 5,500 farms in the Greenbelt.
Farming is still largely a family affair, with the majority being the sole proprietors.

The Greenbelt preserves some of the most productive agricultural lands in Canada, providing fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, beef, pork, and poultry products and grapes for prize-winning wines. Specialty farms in the Greenbelt produce everything from sheep and lambs, mushrooms, maple syrup, and horticultural goods (flowers and plants).

The average Greenbelt farm is than the average Ontario farms but per acre the lands are more productive, producing
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The Greenbelt is home to two specialty crop regions: The Holland Marsh and Niagara.

The Holland Marsh
Ontario’s vegetable basket

The main crops in the Holland Marsh are carrots and onions. Other crops include lettuce, celery, potatoes, cauliflower, beets, radish, and parsnips.

Enough carrots are grown in the Holland Marsh to provide every man, women & child in Canada with 4 pounds every year.

There are approximately 1,285 cattle ranches & farms in the Greenbelt, which account for about 16-18% of the farms, with the highest concentration in Durham Region (38%).
Niagara’s 2.1 million tender fruit trees(peaches, pears, plums, cherries, grapes) produce about 800,000 baskets of fruit. If you lined them up, they would stretch along the QEW from Kingston to Niagara Falls!

Ontario’s Greenbelt provides the province with $9.1 billion in economic benefits and 161,000 full-time equivalent jobs

The Greenbelt contains more than 10,000 km of trails — the largest network in Canada! Look for our telltale road signs and trail markers indicating when you are in Ontario’s Greenbelt.

More than 50% of people living in central Ontario are likely to take advantage of the tourism and recreation possibilities alive in the Greenbelt — from hiking, camping, and skiing to fruit-picking, wine-tasting, holiday tours, spas, and more. In 2015, the Greenbelt Route, a 600-kilometer cycling route that traverses through six Greenbelt regions, will encourage tourism on two wheels from Northumberland to Niagara.

“The entire world depends on clean water. Any major city, in any country, should follow the Greenbelt’s model. It shows that Ontario’s got it right.” Dr. Gail Krantzberg Water Scientist,
McMaster University

Water is one of the most important elements for our survival. We are, in fact, mostly water, being made up of around 80% of the wet stuff. So it’s refreshing to know that we have an abundance of clean, fresh water all around us.

The Great Lakes, including our own Lake Ontario, create one brilliant, flowing system that stores about one fifth of the whole world’s fresh water resources. They represent 95% of North America’s fresh water. That’s a lot of fresh water.

The Greenbelt helps to protect our Great Lakes, by safeguarding 533,000 acres of smaller lakes, wetlands, rivers and streams that feed them – giving us clean water to drink, and a sense of pride in our sparking waters and stunning shores.
The Greenbelt’s wetlands and forests are of the greatest value to our water safety. They save $2.3 billion a year in water filtration, drinking water treatment, flood control, and recreation!
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