The designation of a building, monument, bridge, cemetery, museum and/or industrial complex as a heritage property brings both distinction and restrictions. Municipalities and individuals often seek to have culturally significant properties designated as “heritage properties,” to ensure their preservation for current and future generations. Recognizing the importance of heritage conservation, the Ontario government has passed significant amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act which strengthen the ability of municipal governments to protect heritage properties, while also providing appeal rights to those wishing to alter or demolish a heritage building as part of a development proposal. Once a property is designated, property owners may be eligible for special grants, loans and tax relief to support the upkeep and conservation of their heritage properties.
Our lawyers advise provinces, municipalities, heritage committees and property owners on the responsibilities and processes associated with heritage property designation and conservation. We advise municipal councils on the exercise of their statutory powers, and assist with passing by-laws to have individual property or heritage conservation districts designated. We have specialized expertise in every aspect of heritage conservation, including the implications of designation and developing property affected by a heritage designation. Our lawyers have acted on the first appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board regarding the relocation of designated heritage buildings. We also assist property owners in obtaining property designations, and in accessing government supports once designation is granted.