Greenbelt

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What is the Greenbelt?

Ontario’s Greenbelt is more than 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 is the heart of the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) — One of the fastest growing regions in North America, the population here is expected to increase to more than 13.5 million people by 2041.

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 more than 2 million acres of land in Ontario
That’s bigger than Prince Edward Island !
Greenbelt
2 MILLION +
acres of land
P.E.I.
1.4 MILLION
acres of land

The natural heritage system in The Greenbelt encompasses 533,000 acres of lakes, wetlands, river valleys, and forests.

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

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 the Niagara Peninsula tender fruit and grape area.

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, parsnips, and a variety of world crops.

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.

Tourism and recreation possibilities are alive in the Greenbelt. From beaches, waterfalls, breweries, B&Bs, antique shops, museums, and more, there's no shortage of things to see and do on Greenbelt Explore. Choose your own adventure or check out one of our curated itineraries.

Explore is home to the 475km Greenbelt Route, a premier cycling attraction traversing 6 Greenbelt regions from Northumberland to Niagara. The Route was recognized as an Ontario Trail of Distinction in 2017.

“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

The Greenbelt helps to protect our Great Lakes, by safeguarding 268,430 acres of smaller lakes, wetlands, rivers and streams that feed them – helping ensure future generations have clean water to drink and enjoy.

In May 2017, the Greenbelt grew to include 21 urban river valleys and 7 coastal wetlands, connecting critical water resources in the rural lands of the Greenbelt to Lake Ontario.

More than 100 community groups fought for this victory, and continue to fight to protect vital drinking water supplies that have not yet been included in the Greenbelt.

The Greenbelt is a wealth of natural capital. With a value of $3.2 billion a year, the ecosystem services the Greenbelt provides – like water filtration, flood control, keeping our air clean, and outdoor recreation – are critical to a sustainable future.

In fact, the Greenbelt has an important role to play in the fight against climate change. The value of carbon stored in the Greenbelt’s forests, wetlands, and agriculture is estimated at $11.17 billion!

The continued protection of the Greenbelt’s forests, wetlands, and agriculture is adding to this at a rate of $51.94 million per year through carbon sequestration. Now these are assets worth defending!

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