The Ontario Heritage Act gives local municipalities the ability to publically recognize buildings, structures, and landscapes within their community that represent the unique and local culture and heritage.
Municipalities can pass bylaws to recognize important places and ensure that they are protected for future generations. Properties can be designated either individually or as part of a Heritage Conservation District across a wider neighbourhood. Heritage designations can help identify what the local community values by:
• Recognizing the importance of the property to the local community;
• Protecting the property's cultural heritage value;
• Encouraging good stewardship and conservation; and
• Promoting knowledge and understanding about the property.
Properties meriting designation typically represent one or more of the following criteria:
• Is a rare, unique, representative or early example of a style, type, expression, material or construction method; or
• Displays a high degree of craftsmanship or artistic merit; or
• Demonstrates a high degree of technical or scientific achievement.
• Has direct associations with a theme, event, belief, person, activity, organization, or institution that is significant to a community; or
• Yields, or has potential to yield, information that contributes to an understanding of a community or culture; or
• Demonstrates or reflects the work or ideas of an architect, artist, builder, designer or theorist who is significant to the community
• Is important in defining, maintaining or supporting the character of an area; or
• Is physically, functionally, visually or historically linked to its surroundings; or
• Is a landmark
There are a couple of key steps to designating properties under the Ontario Heritage Act:
1. Identify the property as a candidate for designation;
2. Research and evaluate the property;
3. Serve Notice of Intention to Designate, which permits an opportunity to comment from the property owner;
4. Passing and registering the designation bylaw;
5. Listing the property on the municipal register;
6. Listing the property on the provincial register.
Absolutely! Not only is your property recognized for its vital importance to the culture of the Town as whole, but being a designated property can have lots of benefits to the property owner including:
• A general tendency to stabilize property value when the market takes a downturn;
• Availability of grants and loan programs for restoration work
• Enhanced access to information and knowledge about your property and advise on restoration techniques
• The likely advantage of starting a wider renewal of your community! History has shown that the designation of heritage properties enhances community renewal and development objectives that contribute to an enhanced quality of life and economic development!