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Main Dairy Barn #88

Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/08/05

General view of the Main Dairy Barn, showing the rural, picturesque, yet functional design, 1987.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, M. Trépanier, 1987.
Side view
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Other Name(s)

Main Dairy Barn #88
Building 88
Bâtiment 88

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1913/01/01 to 1914/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/08/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Main Dairy Barn, also known as Building No. 88, is the central farm building on the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa. It is a large three-storey banked barn building with a gable roof and two side wings. The exterior materials - stone, wood shingles, board and batten - are all part of a larger architectural vocabulary used on the Farm. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Main Dairy Barn was designated a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its strong associations with the history of dairy farming research in Canada. The barn is also architecturally important and is a significant landmark in the National Capital Region. This designation applies to the entire building and its site.

Stylistically, it is a picturesque and lively composition that draws from both shingle, and board and batten styles of architecture, as well as the traditional Ontario barn. Materials are well selected and handled. The Main Dairy Barn was built to resemble its predecessor (1887-88), which had set the design and materials patterns for the farm.

The barn, being experimental, was functionally well-considered and modern. Aesthetically, the Main Dairy Barn, in combination with the McNeely Residence (1889), the former Dominion Cerealist's and Husbandman's residences, and the Horse and Dry Cow Barn (1906), establish the visual character of the farm.

Sources: Jacqueline Adell, Main Dairy Barn #88, Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 86-069; Main Dairy Barn #88, Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 86-069.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage value of the site include:
-the massing and form of the Main Dairy Barn, a traditional, functional structure;
-the long, gable roofed and dormered block, joined at right angles at the east and west by wings;
-the ridge-line, which is broken by the large lantern and ventilators, and the eave lines by regularly spaced dormers;
-the materials–stone, board and batten, wood shingle, and asbestos shingle roofing–which are arranged in strong horizontal bands uniformly on all elevations;
-the small multi-paned windows, and paint colours which add to the building's ornament and texture;
-the rural, picturesque, yet functional design;
-the slope of the site leading to the highest point of land in the area, which facilitates the easy access to the drive floor level of the building and contributes to its landmark status.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Health and Research
Animal Care Facility

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate Documentation Centre 3rd Floor, room 366 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Québec J8X 0B3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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Aerial view of research centre and fields

Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site of Canada

The Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site of Canada, located in urban Ottawa, Ontario, is comprised of various structures and buildings embedded within a large rural…


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