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Community Heritage Fund

The Community Heritage Fund was created to support the preservation and conservation of Burlington’s built heritage, and to encourage heritage property designation under the Ontario Heritage Act.

The Community Heritage Fund is a grant and loan program to help heritage property owners conserve and preserve the cultural heritage value of their properties. Property owners can apply for loans or grants for projects that meet the eligibility criteria of the program.

The Community Heritage Fund is intended to help with the extra costs associated with materials and skills needed for historical preservation but that are now difficult to find.



Loan amounts are approved by Burlington City Council and are subject to specific guidelines. The total allowable amount is up to 50 per cent of the eligible costs to a maximum of $15,000.

Once approved, the owner must enter into a conservation agreement with the city. A lien is registered on the property and securities might be required. Fifty per cent of the loan amount is forwarded to the owner. The remaining 50 per cent is sent when the project is completed.

The interest rate on the loan is half of the bank’s prime rate for amounts more than $5,000. No interest is applied on amounts less than $5,000. Loan amortization can be up to 10 years.

Note: If the property is sold, the loan becomes due and must be repaid.



Grants are also subject to approval according to specific guidelines and can cover up to 25 per cent of eligible costs to a maximum of $15,000.

Once approved, the owner must enter into a conservation agreement with the city.


Eligible Projects

Eligible projects are defined differently depending on the type of designation. Currently, in Burlington, most projects concern properties designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act; therefore, most of the eligibility criteria included here relates to this designation. A brief outline of the eligibility criteria for properties designated under Part V of the Act is also included.

Designations Under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act

In general, eligible projects for properties designated under Part IV of the Act include work that conserves or enhances those elements specified in the by-law attached to the title of the heritage property.

Routine maintenance or minor repairs are not eligible for financial assistance. Such repairs could include a broken window or step, painting (outside of eligibility criteria), non-original siding or roofing materials, such as aluminum siding or asphalt shingles and landscaping.

Exterior work to preserve heritage value, painting, structural work, and internal restorations are all projects that can be considered for funding. These project types are limited to specific criteria and limitations.

For the Exterior

Eligible work includes restoration of heritage attributes where the original use, forms and materials can be clearly determined using documented evidence. Examples can include:

  • doors
  • windows
  • original replicas (in style and material) of wooden storm or screen windows
  • verandahs
  • cupolas
  • chimneys
  • bargeboard or decorative trim
  • roofs
  • siding

The following are examples of qualifying work for restoring original siding and roofing materials for store fronts:

  • repair and replacement of wood clapboard or board and batten
  • repair or replacement of stucco and original roofing materials, such as slate, wood shingles and tile
  • removal of modern materials like aluminum siding and asphalt shingles

Other items may also qualify, including fences, outbuildings or other features important to the overall composition of the structure and the repair and re-pointing of masonry buildings if they are reasons for the property’s designation. Masonry cleaning may be eligible if it is necessary for the building’s preservation as is the restoration of altered or replaced store fronts where documented proof, such as historic photographs, of the original feature exists.


  • modern additions
  • sheds or other outbuildings that were not included as reasons for the property’s designation
  • modern doors and windows unless they are replicas of the originals using like materials
  • new storm or screen doors and windows
  • storm windows using modern materials, such as lexan, plexiglass, aluminum, or extruded metal
  • chimney repair unless it is for a significant chimney as defined in the designation by-law attached to the property title.
  • repair of eavestroughs unless they are important to the structure’s heritage
  • modern materials including asphalt shingles, built-up roofing and others

Note: Under no circumstances will grants be approved for sandblasting.


For Painting

Paint analysis of paint chips using a microscope or magnifying glass is used to determine and choose colours. To obtain the best results, chips from different areas of the house are analysed. Alternatively, the painted surface is sanded using a circular motion to reveal the layers of paint that are then viewed through a magnifying glass.

If the above methods cannot be used, you can use paint that matches the historical colours commonly used in the area.

Note: Period style publications provide a good reference for selecting appropriate colours for painting historic buildings.


Exterior painting is limited to one loan per property; any further maintenance is the owner’s responsibility.


For the Structure

Structural work necessary to restore the structural integrity of the property, such as serious structural faults that threaten the buildings survival, qualifies for financial assistance.


Any structural work considered routine maintenance or that is a requirement for modern renovations, such as a new support beam over a patio door opening, is not included.

For the Interior

Only those interior features specified as reasons for the historical designation are eligible for funding. Examples of some eligible interior features include:

  • wood work
  • plaster
  • wall or ceiling murals


New services, such as electrical, plumbing, heating, and insulation do not qualify for financial assistance.


For Stained Glass

The conservation, restoration and repair of stained glass can include:

  • lead or copper came
  • wooden frames
  • stained glass lights


New storm windows or other modern materials, such as lexan or plexiglass that are installed to protect the stained glass are not eligible projects.


For Eavestroughs

Qualifying projects include the restoration of gutters and downpipes if they are a significant architectural feature of the building as described in the following examples:

  • made of rare but long lasting materials, such as copper and lead
  • incorporate decorative elements, such as those often found at the storm heads or metal straps
  • built into the building cornice


Projects using modern materials, such as plastic, vinyl, aluminum and galvanized metal are not eligible for financial assistance.


For Stucco

Funding to restore stucco where it is the historical exterior finish for the property. The stucco must be a replica of the original or historical rendering in both colour and texture, such as yellow and roughcast.


For Bridges

Loans and grants are available for the conservation and restoration of the structural integrity and decorative elements of designated bridges. Examples of eligible projects, which must use original materials, include:

  • railings
  • newel posts
  • trusses
  • arches
  • abutments
  • piers


For Cemeteries

Work that qualifies for funding restores and conserves significant heritage features. The features must be included in the reasons for the designation. Examples of eligible work include:

  • grave markers
  • tombs
  • mausolea
  • dead houses
  • stone walls
  • wrought iron gates and fences if they are part of the original design
  • elements of the original landscape plan if they are supported by documented evidence


Anything considered to be routine maintenance, such as grass cutting, tree pruning and the like is not eligible for financial assistance.

Note: Any proposed cemetery restorations must be sent to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport for approval.


Designations under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act

Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act is used to designate heritage districts; therefore, any improvements to properties must follow the specifications in the design guidelines that are included in the district plan. Additionally, definitions of eligible projects under this part of the act may apply.

Routine maintenance is not eligible for funding.