Visitors are invited to hop, waddle or prance on over to the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum this Easter weekend to celebrate spring at Ottawa’s Experimental Farm.

Easter at the Farm runs through April 1 and offers an opportunity to visit with bunnies, cows, ducks and horses while bonding with friends and family as the weather warms.

Guests can meet newborn animals, explore a diversity of painted eggs, learn how chocolate is made and join in a host of other activities marking this vibrant time of year.

“Our site is very reflective of the changing season and it’s a wonderful place for people in the community to come and see, especially in spring,” said Sonia Mendes, a marketing officer with the museum just west of the Rideau Canal and Carleton University. “It’s the time of renewal, and it’s just a very exciting time for people to come out and see what happens on the farm, to learn about animals and to learn about where their food comes from.”

Mendes said she loves seeing families and kids interact with the variety of farm animals, including chicks, ducks, rabbits, lambs and calves.

Kids are sometimes surprised to learn that their milk comes from a cow.

Sonia Mendes, Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

“It’s just cuteness overload, as far as I’m concerned,” said Mendes.  “Just seeing the smiles on people’s faces — I don’t think there’s a single grumpy person here. It’s hard to be around animals and chocolate and be in a bad mood.”

Mendes said she loves hearing the questions children pose. She noted that for many young visitors, this is their first time going to a farm and learning its inner workings.

Along with calves and chicks, the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum breeds lambs. Both of these newborns are Dorsets. Lambs of the breed can be born year-round. Other breeds tend to mate in the fall and give birth in the spring. [Photo © Tessa Peterson]

“Kids are sometimes surprised to learn that their milk comes from a cow,” Mendes said.

While the learning opportunities during Easter at the Farm abound, many visitors are excited about what the event represents in the cycle of seasons.

“Just kind of celebrating new beginnings, spring, rebirth — the farm is waking up again after a long winter,” said museum worker Caroline Reekie. “I think people really enjoy it, especially when the weather is really nice.”

Along with many of the workers, Reekie was happy to hear the tickets sold out on the first day of the long weekend event. Some visitors knew to grab tickets while they lasted from previous years’ experience.

Celebrating new beginnings, spring, rebirth — the farm is waking up again after a long winter.

Caroline Reekie, museum worker

Mark DeSmedt has been visiting the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum for years, he said. He used to take his children when they were small. This year, he brought his grandchildren.

Among the attractions are newborn chicks.

“It’s nice for Ottawa to have this central farm here,” said DeSmedt. “The history is always interesting since the whole community has grown up around the farm. Now it’s nestled in the major urban centre.” Since opening in 1983, the museum has grown to include seven buildings available to the public, including the historic main dairy barn. The wider Experimental Farm dates back to the 19th century.

DeSmedt said he particularly loves to visit the main dairy barn with his family.

During the Easter on the Farm event at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, there are many hand-painted eggs on display. Called pysanky, these eggs are examples of an ancient Polish-Ukrainian art of egg decorating. These were created by Mary Houlden and her daughters Anne and Claire. [Photo © Tessa Peterson]

“I think a lot of kids who weren’t exposed to this world or atmosphere get the chance to get a little taste for it,” he said. The barn was built to test new milking, bedding and feeding techniques for the 50 cows it holds. The original dairy barn, built in 1888, burned down in 1913. But it was rebuilt the following year, and stands as an Ottawa landmark today.

The barn is just one of the many things worth visiting at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. DeSmedt said he loves the Easter event since “it always marks the beginning of spring, where the days are getting longer and the weather is getting nicer,” he said. “The snow has melted off the playground structure here so the grandkids can play on it.”

Mendes, Reekie, and DeSmedt each emphasized how Easter on the Farm celebrates the warmth of spring and its egg-cellent Easter traditions.

Museum staff encourage those interested to buy tickets online ahead of time since admission openings are selling out quickly.

However, the animals are not going anywhere anytime soon.

“It’s a great place to be and if people can’t come this weekend, the animals and their cuteness will continue throughout spring — and the site is going to be green before you know it,” said Mendes.

For more information about the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, visit