Indian paintbrush, Carden Alvar, ON (Photo by NCC)

Indian paintbrush, Carden Alvar, ON (Photo by NCC)

Carden Alvar Natural Area

Prairie smoke, Carden Alvar, Ontario (Photo by NCC)

Prairie smoke, Carden Alvar, Ontario (Photo by NCC)

An internationally significant natural area

Located northeast of Lake Simcoe, the Carden Alvar is an outstanding example of globally-threatened alvar habitat. The property also shelters grasslands, shrub lands, forests and wetlands.

This area is critical to the survival of globally rare plants and animals, including the endangered eastern loggerhead shrike. Little Bluestem Alvar is NCC's latest project on the Carden Alvar.

Carden Alvar supports:

  • 450 plant species;
  • 142 butterfly and dragonfly species; and
  • 238 bird species.

Carden's open alvars are also the perfect habitat for lichens, mosses, molds and fungi.

In late spring, the Carden Alvar's grasslands are a riot of colourful wildflowers. The property boasts an incredible diversity and number of grassland bird species. On-site management includes controlling invasive dog-strangling vine. Staff and volunteers also work to improve trails to allow visitors to enjoy the Carden landscape while minimizing disturbance to its plants and wildlife.

The Carden Alvar Natural Area contains a provincially designated Life Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest and is part of the Carden Plain Important Bird Area, a designation based partly on the presence of bird species at risk.

NCC's partners in the area include:

Working with these partners, NCC has helped to protect 7,900 acres (3,200 hectares) across the Carden Alvar. Under the careful management of NCC and our partners, the protected lands on the Carden Alvar will become a model for alvar ecology and stewardship in North America.


  • Maggie December 30, 2015 - 4:55
    would love to visit the area; it sounds beautiful.

  • dar June 30, 2015 - 2:19
    WE are having David Hawke speak about Carden Alvar at our meeting for Georgina Brock Garden Club July 13 730 pm-Wilfrid Hall. All Welcome

  • Anonymous April 07, 2015 - 5:53
    Wow, I didn't even know this place existed. I can't believe I've never heard of it considering I live so close and the years I've kept up-to-date on conservation and environmental issues. Thanks NCC!

  • Linny July 25, 2014 - 5:17
    Wow!! great to see initiatives to conserve this beauty. I've been to this place last year, when I visited North York for my friends wedding. I was staying at Anndale ( ) and I with some of my friends had to visit Beaverton, around a hour and half journey from stay. After our engagements there, friend's brother took us to this place for some sight seeing. The place was amazing and I think it was the beginning of spring, so it had this richness in the atmosphere. It was a beautiful place. Now, even though by accident when I stumbled into this page, I'm happy that lot of people understand the value of such places and are there to save it. I'm in for any kind of help I could lend.

  • TinyTim July 25, 2014 - 4:57
    I've shared about this with my friends and all are very interested. Is this campaign still on?

  • Anonymous July 15, 2013 - 7:06
    We drive by the site on our way to Lindsay frequently. We wondered what the blue spiky flower is called that is spreading over a lot of the area. It has been bright blue but is now fading. Thanks.

  • kerri_berry May 15, 2013 - 10:59
    I want to help with do I get involved?

  • Wildstwolf April 16, 2013 - 1:07
    I am very interested in helping with conservation ...

  • Anonymous March 29, 2013 - 6:54
    Please give me more info about the Carden Butterfly Count -- it sounds like fun and I might be able to volunteer.

  • Anonymous March 22, 2013 - 10:19
    I want to volunteer at Carden in July.

  • jero March 20, 2013 - 2:48
    God was not a fool to have created nature. lets use it sustianably so that our children will also enjoy it in the future.

  • kevin August 18, 2012 - 4:09
    Thank you

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