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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my property is considered a heritage property?

The City of Burlington maintains a searchable municipal register that contains approximately 270 designated and non-designated properties.

Designation refers to formal recognition and protection of the property under the Ontario Heritage Act. Non-designated properties can also be included on the municipal register as properties of interest. Historically, the city maintained an inventory or directory that contained approximately 1,100 heritage properties. This inventory is now called the Historic List of Heritage Properties and it includes all properties that were once heritage properties but have since been removed from the list or demolished. The Historic List of Heritage Properties is used as a reference; it has no legal standing. This list can be viewed on the City of Burlington web site.

How are properties added to the Historic List of Heritage Properties or the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Resources?

The current method for evaluating cultural heritage resources is based on the Ontario Heritage Act, Ontario Regulation 9/06.

In 2005, the Act was amended to let municipalities include non-designated properties of interest on the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Resources. Following this amendment, council added to the municipal register, all properties formerly rated as “A” and “B” under the previously used Kalman method.

What is the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Resources?

The Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Resources is a searchable list of properties with cultural heritage value. This official and publicly accessible list is maintained by the city clerk. The municipal register must include all municipal properties that are designated under Part IV (property designation) and Part V (district designation) of the Ontario Heritage Act. The list may also include non-designated properties of interest.

What is the heritage designation?

Designation is the formal recognition of a heritage site pursuant to the Ontario Heritage Act. The designation exists as a municipal by-law that is registered on the title of a property. Designation gives a property a formal legal status designed to protect the site and, specifically, its heritage attributes as identified in the designation by-law. This recognition prevents a property from being demolished, but it does not prevent alterations. Instead, it means that alterations require a heritage permit to ensure the heritage attributes are maintained. If a designated property is sold, new owners have 30 days to inform the city clerk that ownership has changed. Currently, there are over 60 designated properties in Burlington.

How is cultural heritage value or interest determined?

The Ontario Heritage Act, Ontario Regulation 9/06 identifies criteria to determine cultural heritage value or interest. These criteria include architecture or design, historic or associative, and contextual value At least one criterion must be met for a property to be designated.

Where do these heritage conservation powers and responsibilities come from?

The guiding legislation for heritage conservation matters comes from the Province of Ontario through the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) and through legislation, such as the Planning Act and the Ontario Heritage Act.

Does Burlington have any Heritage Conservation Districts?

Burlington does not have any designated Heritage Conservation Districts at this time; however, the process to initiate a Heritage Conservation District Study for the Mount Nemo Plateau is now underway. More information about this ongoing process can be found at www.burlington.ca/mountnemo.

How does inclusion on a heritage list affect my property value or my ability to sell or alter my property?

There is no conclusive research that shows that property values or the ability to sell a property is positively or negatively impacted by being listed on the Historic List of Heritage Properties, the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Resources or by being designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

For property alterations, only properties that are designated under the Ontario Heritage Act are affected. Designated properties require a heritage permit to make any alterations.

Owners must provide 60 days notice of their intent to demolish any property on the municipal register that is without a heritage designation. This notification initiates a council process where city staff evaluates the cultural heritage value of the site in accordance with the Ontario Heritage Act, Ontario Regulation 9/06, and then provides a recommendation to council. Staff can recommend that buildings be designated under the Act, or that they be demolished. While the staff provides their professional assessment of a property’s heritage value, the decision is made by the City Council.

Does heritage designation affect property insurance?

Heritage designation does not place any additional requirements on the insurer and should not cause an increase in property insurance premiums. A variety of other reasons may cause insurance companies to increase premiums for older properties if there is a higher level of risk, such as outdated servicing (wiring). More information about insurance and heritage properties can be found at http://www.heritagecanada.org/sites/heritagecanada.org/files/InsuringyourHeritageHome_EN.pdf and at http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/publications/Heritage_Insurance.pdf.

When do I need a Heritage Permit?

A heritage permit is required when owners of properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act seek to alter or demolish any of those buildings or structures. An application for a heritage permit can be found at http://cms.burlington.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=15810

For more information, see Heritage Permits