ONTARIO HERITAGE ACT DESIGNATION
NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE John Weir Foote Armoury, Hamilton, 1888 – 1908
A. DESIGNATION CRITERIA for Heritage Buildings: A property may be designated if it meets one or more of the following criteria:
The property has design value or physical value because it:
- is a rare, unique, representative or early example of a style, type, expression, material or construction method
- displays a high degree of craftsmanship or artistic merit, or demonstrates a high degree of technical or scientific achievement.
The property has historical value or associative value because it:
- has direct associations with a theme, event, belief, person, activity, organization or institution that is significant to a community,
- yields, or has the 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 a community.
The property has contextual value because it:
- is important in defining, maintaining or supporting the character of an area,
- is physically, functionally, visually or historically linked to its surroundings, or
- is a landmark.
B. HERITAGE CONSERVATION DISTRICTS
A Heritage Conservation District (HCD) is an area of the city that is protected by a municipal by-law passed under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA), by City Council.
The majority of Ontario’s designated HCDs comprise residential or commercial “main streets” districts. Once a heritage conservation district designation by-law is approved, property owners in the district will need a permit from the municipality for any alteration that’s not considered minor, as well as any demolition or new construction.
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. A HCD may comprise an area with a group or complex of buildings, or a larger area with many buildings and properties.
Hamilton currently has 7 Heritage Conservation Districts. The designation of the Gore as a Heritage Conservation District is being proposed by the Municipal Heritage Council and being considered by Council.
C. HERITAGE PROPERTY STANDARDS
Recent revisions to the Ontario Heritage Act (the Act) permit Hamilton City Council to implement Heritage Property Standards to protect the heritage attributes of properties designated under the Act. Existing property standards apply to buildings, however this tool could give additional protection against the loss of heritage features on designated buildings through neglect and ensure repairs are made maintain the heritage character of the building.
HeritageWatch Hamilton will be lobbying to have the City of Hamilton amend the existing property standards bylaw to include enhanced property standards for heritage properties. These enhancements are in the areas of appearance and maintenance of heritage attributes.
The right of an owner to delay repairs during appeals of orders issued in the current system can frustrate the City’s attempts to require owners to maintain property. HeritageWatch Hamilton will encourage Staff to recommend a further report on the City’s power, under the City of Hamilton Act, to carry out emergency repairs to protect the structural integrity of heritage property.