Q: I won’t be able to do as I please with my house.

A: No heritage permit is required for the following types of projects:

  • Any interior alterations
  • Any exterior alterations not visible from the street
  • Repairs of existing exterior features using the original materials
  • Installation of eaves troughs
  • Weatherproofing
  • Seasonal installation of removable storm/screen windows and doors
  • Installation of exterior lights.

Q: What about additions or replacement of buildings?

A: Where new buildings and additions are necessary, the bylaw encourages design that is sympathetic and compatible with the character of the existing heritage properties and the character of the District.

For infill construction, it encourages designs that respect the human scale of the area while enhancing the area’s heritage attributes.

Q: The value of my house will go down/ I won’t be able to sell.

A: Heritage designation itself is not likely to lead to any significant change in the value of a property, and may in fact help to maintain its value. A 1998 study of 3,000 designated properties in 24 Ontario communities found that:

  • designation did not have a negative effect on property values;
  • the rate of sale of designated properties was as good or better than the general market;
  • the value of heritage properties tended to resist downturns in the general market.

(Source: Robert Shipley, “Heritage Designation and Property Values: is there an effect?” International Journal of Heritage Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2000, pp. 83-100.)

Q: I won’t be able to get insurance

A: Premiums should not rise as a result of heritage designation. A variety of other reasons can cause insurance companies to increase premiums for older buildings, if there is a higher level of risk such as outdated wiring, old heating systems, etc. Designation itself does not place additional requirements on the insurer and should not affect premiums.

Q: Who sets the guidelines for heritage conservation districts?

A: A subsection in Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act enables a city to designate any defined area or areas of the municipality as a heritage conservation district.

District designation enables the council of a municipality to manage and guide future change in the district, through adoption of a district plan with policies and guidelines for conservation, protection and enhancement of the area’s special character.