About the National Capital Commission

Building an Inspiring Capital

The National Capital Commission (NCC) is the federal Crown corporation dedicated to ensuring that Canada’s Capital is a dynamic and inspiring source of pride for all Canadians, and a legacy for generations to come. Building on more than a century of experience, the NCC provides unique value in the Capital Region by fulfilling three specific roles: long-term planner of federal lands, principal steward of nationally significant public places, and creative partner committed to excellence in development and conservation.

Building an inspiring capital, as a long-term planner

Long-term planner

The NCC is the main federal urban planner in Canada’s Capital Region. In this role, the NCC works to enhance the natural and cultural character of the Capital to ensure that it is an inspiring source of pride for all Canadians.

The NCC believes that planning is an active, continuous process that must be undertaken in collaboration with stakeholders. Planning for Canada’s Capital Region involves

  • researching, preparing and implementing long-term plans;
  • identifying and managing lands of national interest;
  • granting land use, design and transaction approvals for projects on federal lands; and
  • coordinating with partners on transportation issues.

In every aspect of its planning activities, the NCC ensures that the highest standards of excellence are upheld. The NCC’s goal is for Canada’s Capital Region to be a model of urban planning: a place where decisions about the use and development of urban lands are based on considerations of environmental sensitivity, sustainability and best practices.

Over 100 years of Capital planning

  • 1903: The Todd Plan proposed a ceremonial route linking Parliament to Rideau Hall.
  • 1915: The Holt Report delivered a comprehensive statement on future development.
  • 1950: The Gréber Plan recommended large-scale works, dramatically altering the Capital.
  • 1988: Amendments to the National Capital Act added public events and activities to the NCC’s mandate.
  • 2017: The Plan for Canada’s Capital, 2017 to 2067, is the new 50-year plan for the Capital Region.

Key projects in the works

  • Plan for Canada’s Capital: 2017 to 2067
    The NCC and its predecessors have been responsible for the long-term planning of the Capital for more than a century. To meet the evolving needs of Canadians, the NCC continuously modernizes its planning framework and updates the Plan for Canada’s Capital. The latest edition of this lead plan charts the evolution of the Capital Region for the next 50 years, from 2017 to 2067, the year in which Canada will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Confederation.
  • LeBreton Flats and the Chaudières Islands: Creating a signature destination
    The NCC’s aim in the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats and the Chaudières islands is to make the area along the Ottawa River adjacent to Parliament Hill a world-class destination of national significance. These projects will help improve connectivity in the area, increase access to historic sites, and enhance visitors’ experience of the Capital Region’s shorelines and islands.

Building an inspiring capital, as principal steward

Principal steward

As the largest landowner in Canada’s Capital Region, the NCC cares for and protects vital public places that are unique to our nation’s symbolic, natural and cultural heritage.

As steward of these holdings, the NCC manages Gatineau Park, the Greenbelt, the Rideau Canal Skateway, urban lands and parks, pathways, scenic parkways, real property and heritage buildings, agricultural and research facilities, and commemorative monuments. It is also the custodian of the Capital’s six official residences.

Symbolic assets

Gatineau Park
With more than 200 kilometres of trails maintained by the NCC, Gatineau Park has one of the largest networks of cross-country ski trails in North America. It also offers numerous scenic lookouts, campgrounds, beaches and historical treasures like the Mackenzie King Estate. The NCC’s priority for this exceptional 36,131-hectare conservation park is to encourage discovery and access that respect the Park’s environment and ecosystems, and minimize the impact of recreational activities.

The Greenbelt
Canada’s Capital Greenbelt is a 20,000-hectare crescent of land consisting of six distinct conservation areas designated for protection since the 1950s. The Greenbelt comprises farms, forests and wetlands. It includes the renowned Mer Bleue Bog—the second-largest bog in southern Ontario—an important habitat for wildlife and subject of keen interest for researchers. As steward of the Greenbelt, the NCC continues to ensure that it remains green, and protected from development.

Rideau Canal Skateway
Every winter, the historic Rideau Canal—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—is transformed into the world’s largest outdoor skating rink. Equivalent to 90 Olympic-sized rinks, and winding 7.8 kilometres through downtown Ottawa, the Rideau Canal Skateway is the Capital’s most popular winter attraction, as well as an official site of Winterlude. During skating season, NCC crews work with partners around the clock to maintain the ice, and provide top-notch facilities and services for the more than one million people who visit the Skateway each year.

Official Residences
The official residences are six important historic properties in Canada’s Capital Region:

  • Rideau Hall, the official residence of the governor general of Canada;
  • 24 Sussex Drive, the official residence of the prime minister of Canada;
  • Stornoway, the official residence of the leader of the Opposition;
  • The Farm, the official residence of the speaker of the House of Commons;
  • 7 Rideau Gate, the Canadian government's official guest house for distinguished visitors, such as heads of state and high-level government officials;
  • Harrington Lake estate, the official country retreat of the prime minister of Canada.

Building an inspiring capital, as a creative partner

Creative partner

A capital is a shared place and a shared responsibility. As a creative partner, the NCC promotes and contributes to excellence in development and conservation, to strengthen the distinctive quality of Canada’s Capital Region for Canadians and international visitors.

The NCC encourages creativity and innovation in everything it does. This means building strong relationships with people and organizations throughout the region and across the country, and fostering strategic partnerships, alliances and collaboration with a diverse range of stakeholders—from local municipalities, Aboriginal communities and government departments, to national and international organizations. They also include the many dynamic volunteers who are committed to the Capital, dedicating their time to support the Friends of Maplelawn Garden, Friends of Gatineau Park, Greenbelt volunteers and others.

New initiatives

The Capital Urbanism Lab: An innovative gathering place
This new NCC initiative offers an inspiring place where leaders, experts, professionals, interest groups and the general public can come together to share knowledge and learn about the elements that go into the short- and long-term planning and stewardship of a national capital. Discussion topics include emerging trends and best practices for supporting and promoting excellence in urbanism, protecting natural and built heritage, enhancing environmental conservation and sustainability, and much more.

Preparing for Canada's 150th anniversary in the Capital
The NCC is working with its partners to beautify Canada’s Capital Region and develop special initiatives to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. Along Confederation Boulevard—the Capital’s ceremonial route—visitors will experience a completely redesigned Garden of the Provinces and Territories, major improvements at LeBreton Flats, and a number of Confederation Pavilions showcasing unique stories that define who we are as Canadians. The NCC will continue to facilitate partner initiatives, and support major events in the region, such as Canada Day and Winterlude, as well as provide support to bring special cultural events to the Capital in 2017. An illumination plan is also being developed. This plan will create a memorably picturesque nighttime Capital landscape, highlighting major symbols and landmarks in an environmentally responsible and financially sustainable way.

Facts about the NCC


The National Capital Commission is a federal Crown corporation created by Canada’s Parliament in 1959 under the National Capital Act. Its predecessors were the Federal District Commission, created in 1927, and the Ottawa Improvement Commission, created in 1899.


The NCC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage.


Russell Mills (appointed to the position on April 30, 2007 and renewed on April 29, 2012)

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Mark Kristmanson (appointed to the position on February 3, 2014)

Board of directors

The board of directors is responsible for the oversight and stewardship of the NCC’s activities and assets. There are 13 members, plus the CEO and the Chair.

Number of employees

402 (2014)

Portfolio of assets

The NCC is the Capital’s largest property owner, owning and managing more than 11 percent of all lands in Canada’s Capital Region. It manages and administers a significant portfolio of property, buildings and infrastructure, including the Capital’s six official residences; commercial, residential and heritage buildings; agricultural facilities; and the iconic Rideau Canal Skateway. 

Economic contribution to the region

The NCC makes an important economic contribution to Canada’s Capital Region, awarding about 4,000 contracts a year, valued at some $53 million.