Frequently Asked Questions

True or False: A building must be really old to qualify for designation under the Ontario Act.

False. Criteria for designation under the Ontario Heritage Act are set out under O.Reg 9.06 and notably, neither age or condition are criteria for designation. Rather, the building must be shown to satisfy two or more criteria under the following categories: design or physical value, historical or associative value and/or contextual value.

True or False: The Municipal Heritage Committee decides what properties should be designated.

False. Although the Municipal Heritage Committee plays a crucial role in identifying and recommending properties for inclusion on the Municipal Heritage Register, Council is the designating authority under the provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act.

True or False: Designation under the Ontario Heritage Act may be subject to periodic review.

True. The Municipal Heritage Register is a living document, and listings may be subject to periodic review to determine continued relevance and accuracy. Such reviews can be initiated by the municipality, or the owner of a listed or designated heritage property.

True or False: A property owner cannot change or alter a designated heritage property.

False. Owners can make changes to a heritage property subject to approval processes. In a making its decision, Council will consider the impact of proposed development on identified heritage features. The intention is to balance conservation concerns against reasonable use and adaptation.

True or False: A designated heritage property can't be demolished.

False. While demolition is generally discouraged, it is not strictly prohibited. As with changes and alterations, approval processes must be followed and Council may consider alternatives to demolition, or some mitigation, prior to making its decision.

True or False: Designation means I will have to restore my property.

False. Designation does not obligate an owner to restore lost or damaged features of a property. Designation does not impose restrictions, special obligations, or additional expenses beyond those expected of any property owner. (i.e. Property standards apply to all building owners, regardless of the age or heritage status of their property).

True or False: Designation erodes property values.

False. Designation does not adversely affect property values. While the perception that heritage designation negatively affects property values persists, it is essential to consider the multifaceted nature of this issue. Heritage designation, when implemented thoughtfully and supported by community engagement, can contribute to the cultural richness of an area.