Designated Properties

Protecting Heritage Culture

How is a property designated?

Ontario’s history runs deep. Some designated properties were built during important periods of time that have had an impact on the Ontario’s history and its recent future. However, a building does not have to be ‘old’ to have cultural heritage value. The intent of a Heritage Designation is to recognize those properties that have cultural or heritage value which continue to be important to the community. The designation ensures the conservation of important places to enable the community to continue to cherish and enjoy them.

For Burlington Heritage to support a Heritage Designation, the cultural heritage value needs to be identified and evaluated.  Heritage Burlington has identified a set of evaluation criteria that assists the committee in determining, as a community, which properties are a cultural heritage resource to City of Burlington.

A building, structure or site may be considered important for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Architectural, physical or design value;
  • Historical or associative value because of its association with a significant person, important event or a critical time in the community’s development;
  • Contextual value in defining, maintaining or representing characteristics of an area or community.

Once a property is deemed by the Committee to have cultural heritage value, a recommendation is made to City of Burlington Council. Ultimate authority as to whether a property is designated or not, is done by Council.

Once a property is designated by the City, it is regulated by the City under the authority of the Ontario Heritage Act. Therefore, the current Registry of designated properties is maintained by the City of Burlington. To view the Registry of listed properties, click here.

Heritage Designations: Facts 

  • Heritage Conservation: defines our community’s identity, character and sense of place when it is preserved as part of our present and future.
  • Heritage Designated Properties: require Council approval prior to the demolition of a property that holds heritage value, safeguarding our history.
  • Heritage Designation: recognizes the importance and heritage value of a property. Maintaining it as part of the community is significant to our community. Maintenance of a protected property ensures the preservation of its historic, architectural or aesthetic value.
  • Heritage Value: can exist within any physical property which has cultural heritage value or interest. This can include a structure such as a building, house or bridge. It can also exist in landscapes such cemeteries and parks.
  • Heritage Designated Properties: are eligible for financial assistance through the City towards restoration and maintenance work through heritage grant program.
  • Heritage Designated Properties: are also eligible for a tax rebate program.

Heritage Designation: Myths

  • Heritage Designation: prevents a property owner from making alterations or expansions to a designated building.
  • Heritage Designation: generally includes the interior space of a designated building.
  • Heritage Designation: restricts the use of a property.

Alterations or expansions: While a Heritage Designation on a property does not prevent a property owner from making alterations, what is important, is that any work, maintenance or alterations complement and align with the protected heritage attributes of that property. Depending on the alteration work, the property owner may be required to apply for and obtain a heritage permit prior to work beginning.

Interior Spaces of a Heritage Designated Property: In most case, the protected heritage attributes of a designated property are limited to the exterior of the building or certain property features. In few and rare instances, there may be a unique interior element that is significant and is therefore included as a protected heritage attribute. Once again, any work, maintenance or alterations must complement and align with the protected heritage attributes of that property in order to preserve those attributes.