Ontario’s Greenbelt on the world stage


The Niagara Escarpment in the Greenbelt is a UNESCO-designated World Biosphere Reserve. The Bruce Peninsula, pictured here, serves as fish and wildlife habitat and is home to an abundance of rare and endangered species

Ontario’s Greenbelt is pretty popular. Whether you’re driving on the highway, cycling the Greenbelt Route, or out for a walk on the Bruce Trail, you’re bound to see one of our many signs. No matter who I meet, if they are unfamiliar with the Greenbelt, they’re often familiar with our signs. Considered a world leader at almost two million acres, it’s the world’s largest permanently protected greenbelt.

This representation has put us on the global scale as a leading example in preserving productive farmland, forests, and wetlands from urban development. With greenbelts in England, Brazil, Germany, and Australia, Ontario’s stands out—and we will ensure it continues to. 


A team of possibilities


There’s something motivating about a team of people working together towards a common future. At our annual retreat, staff came together for team-building, agenda-setting, and collaborative learning.  


A leader of the Niagara Escarpment

Niagara Escarpment
Lyn MacMillan’s favourite landscape, the Niagara Escarpment. 

The world needs more Lyns. 

Lyn MacMillan recently passed away at 94 years old. A renowned environmentalist, she was a tenacious fighter for protection of the Niagara Escarpment. After moving to Canada from England when she was young, she was consistently involved in environmental efforts protecting the Escarpment from development.


Expanding the Greenbelt


Have you ever enjoyed the Don Valley ravines or the Credit River in beautiful weather? Do you take the opportunity to enjoy nature, walk with pets, friends, and family in Oakville’s Sixteen Mile Creek, experiencing an oasis away from your busy life? How about canoeing or kayaking along the Humber River, or feeling miles away protected under a tree canopy while birds chirp among you?

In January 2013, the Ontario Government announced the expansion of the Greenbelt for the first time since 2005. It included the Glenorchy Conservation Area expansion of 265 hectares of land, as well as a new "Urban River Valleys Designation". With moments that these natural areas provide, it’s no wonder we want the Greenbelt to keep expanding.


Discover local food with Greenbeltfresh.ca


If you’re looking for fresh local food, look no further. Recently launched Greenbeltfresh.ca is your one-stop shop to discovering all the delicious food available in the Greenbelt.




Most people know I love craft beer. I grew up in Germany where beer was regulated by a purity law—“Reinheitsgebot”—the regulation of beer made using only four ingredients: water, yeast, barley, and hops. I enjoy only the purest beer, and that’s why I’m pleased about the Brewery Discovery Routes—self-guided craft beer, cider, and culinary experiences in and around the Greenbelt. 




Come join us for the fifth annual Greenbelt Harvest Picnic on Saturday August 29, 2015 at ‎the Christie Lake Conservation Area in Hamilton, Ontario.‎

This year's Greenbelt Harvest Picnic features performances by Arkells, Bahamas, Iron and Wine, Gordon Lightfoot, Gregory Alan Isakov, Kathleen Edwards, Basia Bulat, Martha Wainwright, Terra Lightfoot, Lee Harvey Osmond, Dinner Belles, and many others.


Join us at the 2015 Review


2015 is a very important year for Ontario’s Greenbelt. That’s because this year the Ontario Greenbelt Plan is being reviewed, and the review process and outcome will determine the next 10 years of this protected landscape.


Thoughts about our 2013/2014 Annual Report

Our Annual Reports are published in full on our Annual Reports page

Our 2013/14 Annual Report was released earlier this month. The Report, which highlights the work of both the Greenbelt Fund and the Greenbelt Foundation, demonstrates that our 9th year has been a tale of growth and success.

The growth we are seeing with the Greenbelt in our urban river valleys is perhaps one of the greatest highlights of this year. Throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area we are seeing the protection of the world’s largest greenbelt become even more far-reaching and holistic than ever. Every single jurisdiction in talks about including their urban river valleys has continued to push forward.

We are also energized by the ongoing successes of our grantees. One of my favourite stats from this year’s report: for every $1 invested by the Fund, our grantees increase local food sales by $7. 




*This article originally appeared in the Ontario Planning Journal. Vol. 29, No. 5, 2014. See PDF

 Ontario’s Greenbelt turns 10 next year.

While there are many gains to celebrate, it is also time for the province to begin its legislated review of the three plans that make up the Greenbelt. While any birthday is time for reflection, a 10th birthday is notable and an important time for review.

The Greenbelt Act and Greenbelt Plan were passed with much fanfare in 2005. While there was some loud opposition especially from affected landowners and some municipalities, the plan received significant support from conservationists, planning experts and the public.

Since then the Greenbelt has enjoyed huge public approval. It is consistently the government’s most popular environmental initiative garnering more than 90 per cent support.

Did the 2-million acre Greenbelt live up to its expectations? I suggest an unqualified “Yes.”


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