Benefits of heritage designation under the Ontario Heritage Act

The benefits of designation under the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA) include:

  • Designation of individual properties (OHA, section 29) empowers a municipality with the legal ability and jurisdiction to determine if a heritage property will be preserved.
  • Designation of heritage conservation districts (OHA, section 41) empowers a municipality with the ability to identify a special area of their community that possesses unique character and to identify and ensure that this character is preserved.
  • Designation can be undertaken with or without the support or consent of the owner.
  • The full protective power of designation comes into effect when a municipal council states its intention to designate. This process only requires the drafting of a statement of cultural heritage value and interest, a council motion and an advertisement in a local publication.
  • Designation can be combined with a heritage property standards bylaw to enable a municipality to prevent demolition by neglect.
Sandyford Place, Hamilton
Sandyford Place, Hamilton
  • There is no compensation requirement for an owner of a designated property.
  • Designation can be undertaken quickly.
  • Any form of real property can be identified and protected in a designation bylaw, including buildings, structures, open space, landscape features, trees and plantings.
  • Compared with expropriation or purchase, designation is an extremely cost-effective way to protect a heritage property.
  • Designation provides the fundamental and legal eligibility criteria for a municipality to use in awarding any heritage incentives, including grants, planning incentives and property tax rebates.
  • Combined with local commemorative, interpretive and educational programs, designation can encourage pride of place, walking tours, Doors Open Ontario festivals and cultural tourism initiatives.
  • Designation of a heritage conservation district is an extremely effective, comprehensive and flexible land-use planning tool. It combines the conservation objectives of the Ontario Heritage Act with the ability to influence and specify appropriate and contextually sensitive forms of new development.

More information about the Ontario Heritage Act ...