Land Donations

Many of our nature reserves have been made possible by those who have generously donated land to the Bruce Trail Conservancy, either in their lifetime or after they have passed by way of bequest. Deciding how to protect the natural or cultural features of your land is unique and personal.  You may wish to protect the heritage values of your land for future generations. You may see conservation as a way to resolve property or potential income tax challenges. Or you may view it as an estate planning option. Trained and experienced Bruce Trail Conservancy staff are ready to discuss the options available to you, and will assist you every step of the way to ensure your commitment to conservation creates a lasting natural legacy.

Ways to Donate Land to the Bruce Trail Conservancy

Land donations are a complication-free way to ensure a permanent, natural legacy. Gifts of land remain in charitable trust and are protected forever. Land donations generate a tax receipt for the land’s value as determined by a third-party appraiser. The receipt can be used against your taxable income over 5 years including the year of donation. Other tax benefits may include an exemption on capital gains tax pertaining to the property, and the ability to apply the tax receipt to 100 per cent of your annual income as opposed to the usual 75 per cent income limit.

Land donations are of critical importance to the mission of the Bruce Trail Conservancy. A secure conservation corridor along the Niagara Escarpment, in our lifetimes, will not be possible without generous landowners donating their land to the Bruce Trail Conservancy. The Bruce Trail Conservancy celebrates these donations with recognition of your gift through property naming, on-trail signage or by others means according to your wishes.

Land Donation

Ecological Gifts (Ecogifts)

The BTC can provide enhanced tax advantages if we process the land donation through Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program. This program provides an exemption on capital gains tax pertaining to the property and the ability to apply the tax credit to 100 per cent of an individual’s net annual income as opposed to the usual 75 per cent income limit. Also, donors can roll forward unused tax credits for up to 10 years


US residents can now receive a tax credit that can be used against their US income for donating land they own in Canada. 

Bequest: Gift of Land in a Will

Bequeathing your land to the Bruce Trail Conservancy is a very significant conservation option. Landowners may name the Bruce Trail Conservancy as a primary or secondary beneficiary in their wills. Bequests can generate a large tax credit for your estate, which may help to minimize or eliminate taxes on capital gains and to preserve assets for beneficiaries.

Split Receipt – Part Sale, Part Donation

Landowners have the option to donate part of the value of their land and receive cash for the remainder. The donation portion can still be eligible for the Ecological Gifts Program. Split-receipting is applicable to all eligible transfers of real property. The minimum amount of donated value that Canada Revenue Agency accepts is 20 per cent.


Whole Parcel

The BTC purchases land at fair market value as determined by a third party appraiser. We can buy all of the property or just the portion we need through a conservation severance. Unlike the average landowner, the BTC is a recognized conservation organization that can sever land on the Escarpment. This allows people to leverage cash out of their land while they hold onto the family cottage.

Conservation severance

This option severs a portion of your property to allow for a land donation. A conservation severance is a popular option as it generates a tax receipt for the Fair Market Value of the donated land and it allows you to establish a natural landscape around your home that will be professionally stewarded and protected by the BTC in perpetuity.

Life Interest

Landowners interested in donating their property while continuing to live on it may consider a “life interest” agreement. This agreement is for a specified term. The Bruce Trail Conservancy serves as the land steward, caring and maintaining the donated portion of land, beginning when an agreement is reached. A tax receipt issued for the donation reflects fair market value of the property minus the value of the life interest agreement. The receipt can be applied against your income tax over 5 years including the year of donation.

Trail Easement

This is a legal agreement that runs on title and enables you to retain ownership of your property while allowing the Bruce Trail Conservancy to secure the Trail. A tax receipt reflecting Fair Market Value of the donated right of way, as determined by a third party appraiser, is issued by the Bruce Trail Conservancy and can be used against your taxable income over for 5 years including the year of donation.

Contact our Land Acquisition Planner Joel Swagerman for more information:

(905) 529-6821 ext. 231

Watch our webinar: Gifts of Land

Key topics covered:

  • How the BTC team qualifies and secures land along the Niagara Escarpment
  • A discussion of how our team works with landowners to facilitate gifts of land, and the impact to our mission
  • Various options available when gifting land in lifetime or in estate
  • Charitable tax incentives which enable landowners to achieve their philanthropic and financial/estate planning goals


  • Antoin Diamond, Vice President of Land Acquisition, Bruce Trail Conservancy
  • Candice Jay, Vice President at CC&L Private Capital Ltd.
  • Vlad Solokhine, Certified Financial Planner at Lazar-Wealth Succession Strategies

Ways To Donate Land

Please Consider Making a Donation

One-Time Gift