Ontario’s Greenbelt: Possibility Grows Here
The Greenbelt was created by provincial legislation in February 2005 to protect over 720,000 hectares of prime agricultural and environmentally significant land from sprawling urban development in south central Ontario.
The area covered by the Greenbelt is within the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region which extends along the shoreline of Lake Ontario from Niagara Falls to Peterborough and includes the Toronto metropolitan area. This area is home to a culturally and ethnically diverse population of over 8 million residents and is one of the fastest growing regions in North America.
The Greenbelt Plan was created to complement the provincial growth management strategy for the area and to provide direction on where growth should not occur. It incorporates significant natural heritage features, and includes open spaces, parklands, and trails which support recreational activities. At the same time, the Plan allows for the use of renewable and non-renewable resources, such as mineral aggregate resources, and for infrastructure to meet growth needs.
Where is the Greenbelt?
The Greenbelt is in central Canada, on the north shore of the one of the five largest freshwater lakes in the world, surrounding Canada’s most populous and urbanized region. The area, stretches from Rice Lake in Northumberland County to the Niagara River, is about 80 kilometres at its widest point.
About This Conference
The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is hosting an International Greenbelts Conference in Toronto, Canada, March 22nd - 24th, 2011. Through the sharing of diverse experience and perspectives, the Conference will spark new ideas about the possibilities that greenbelts offer, and generate new ways of tackling some of the complex challenges in near urban farming, rural vibrancy, and protecting our ecosystems and the numerous benefits they provide.
Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to promoting and sustaining the Greenbelt as a beneficial, valuable, and permanent feature, enhancing the quality of life for all residents of Ontario. To learn more visit http://www.greenbelt.ca/. In March 2010, the Foundation in partnership with the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, updated our 2008 report, "Ontario's Greenbelt in an International Context." The newest version of the report not only updates the status of the greenbelts previously studied, but it also explores four additional greenbelts.
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Fast Facts ...
The B.C. Agricultural Land Commission has the discretion to include agricultural land or exclude it from the ALR.
The British Columbia Agriculture Land Reserve was established in 1973.
The Melbourne Green Wedges cover 647,800 hectares or 1, 600, 066 acres.
The Green Heart is comprised of 160,000 hectares, or 395, 368 acres.
The three major landscapes in the Green Heart are river landscapes, peat lands, and drained lakes.
Ontario’s Greenbelt is 728, 000 hectares, or 1.8 million acres.
The Green Belt Biosphere Reserve in Sao Paulo was created to protect natural heritage and environmentally sensitive lands.
The Sao Paulo Green Belt Biosphere Reserve contains tropical rain forest, 20 species of monkeys, fungi, parrots and many other species of birds.
The Portland Urban Growth Boundary comprises of 102, 953 hectares or 254, 403 acres.
The Sao Paulo City Green Belt Biosphere Reserve covers 1,760,311 hectares or 4, 347, 968 acres.
The Frankfurt Green Belt is 8,000 hectares or 19, 760 acres.
80% of the land in the Green Heart is used for a range of agricultural activities including cultivating under grass, bulb growing and large scale arable farming.
Over 90% of Ontarians believe that the Greenbelt is one of the most important contributions to the future of our Province, and 93% strongly support it (Environics Poll 2009).
Frankfurt has a strong agricultural base and in the early 1990s was considered the largest ‘farmer village’ in Germany with 160 farms within the city limits.
The Frankfurt Green Belt was established in 1991.
The Copenhagen Finger Plan protects 10, 900 hectares of land or 26, 923 acres.
82% of the London Metropolitan Green Belt is comprised of agricultural lands.
The Sao Paulo Green Belt Biosphere Reserve has a Youth Eco-job Training Program that provides eco-job training in sustainable agriculture and tourism.
The Ontario Greenbelt provides $2.6 billion per year in environmental services like water filtration and waste treatment.
The Copenhagen Finger Plan was established in 1947, revised in 2005, and incorporated into Denmark’s Planning Actin 2007.
The German Iron Curtain Green Belt covers an area of 17,700 hectares or 43, 737 acres.
Curbing and controlling urban growth remains the central and most common objective of greenbelts.
The Melbourne Green Wedges were established in 1968.
Natural features in the London Metropolitan Green Belt include: major rivers, woodland areas, heaths and coniferous forests, and the Thames woodplain.
Growers/producers in Ontario’s Greenbelt account for 26% of Ontario’s apples, 87% of Ontario’s peaches, 50% of Ontario’s sour cherries, over 85% of Ontario’s grapes and 42% of raspberries.
The Greenbelt’s Holland Marsh is Ontario’s “vegetable basket.” While the main crops are carrots and onions, the area also produces lettuce, celery, potatoes, cauliflower, beets, radish, and parsnips.
The B.C Agricultural Land Reserve covers 4, 760, 703 hectares or 11, 758, 936 acres.
The German Iron Curtain Green Belt was established in 1989.
The Iron Curtain Green Belt includes or borders on 150 nature reserves.
The Portland Metro Urban Growth Boundary was established in 1979.
Green wedges are the protected land interspersed between ‘the Copenhagen Fingers’ of urban development and are reserved for non-urban recreational use.
By branding their products as “Green Heart Products” growers in the Green Heart have been able to diversify their businesses.
The Netherlands Green Heart was established in 1958.
The London Metropolitan Green Belt is 484, 173 hectares, or 1.2 million acres.
Each of the twelve Melbourne Green Wedges has distinctive natural features and landscapes.
Ontario’s Greenbelt was established in 2005 through the Greenbelt Act, 2005.
The London Metropolitan Green Belt was established in 1938 through the London and Home Counties (Green Belt) Act, 1938.
There are more than 600 endangered animal and plant species in the Iron Curtain Green Belt.
In Frankfurt, the Green Belt has become a part of the Regional Parks project that aims to conserve land as green ecological corridors in the broader region around Frankfurt.