Heritage Grant Program for Building Restoration

A heritage grant of up to $5,000 is available on a matching basis to assist owners of heritage buildings designated under Part IV or Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act with restoration work. An owner can apply for grant funding once every two years. The grant program is based on availability of funding which is approved by City Council as part of the annual budget.
Detailed information about the program is available in the Program Guidelines.

How to Apply

Applications are accepted from January 1 until the last business day in March.
You should first discuss your proposal with staff in the Heritage Section of the Planning and Growth Management Department. Staff will be able to assist you in determining the information required to process your application. Applications should be submitted in hard copy to the Heritage Section, Planning and Growth Management Department. A heritage planner will contact the applicant if further information is required.

Heritage Grant Application [ pdf ]

Anne Fitzpatrick, Heritage Planner
Planning and Growth Management Department,
City of Ottawa
613-580-2424 ext. 15203

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Frequently asked questions

The series of questions and answers that follow are frequently raised in the course of inquiries and applications for heritage restoration grants.

What is eligible for grant funding?

Heritage grants are intended to assist in the restoration of the original heritage character of designated heritage buildings. Grants could fund, for example, the restoration and repointing of exterior brick masonry, the restoration of an original porch and the restoration of original windows. Grants are not intended to assist with the ongoing maintenance or renovation of the building or landscaping.

What is the level of funding?

The maximum heritage grant is $5,000, subject to the availability of funding. It is a matching grant. The minimum heritage grant is $1,000.

What is meant by matching?

The City "matches" every dollar the property owner spends to a maximum of $5,000. If, for example, the total eligible restoration work was $4,000 the grant would be $2,000, if $10,000 the grant would be $5,000 and if $20,000 the grant would be $5,000. 

Who is eligible to apply?

Owners of properties designated under Part IV (individually-designated heritage properties) or Part V (part of heritage conservation districts) of the Ontario Heritage Act are eligible to apply. If the property is designated individually, the character-defining heritage attributes, described in the Statement of Reason for Designation, should be the top priority for restoration. In the case of properties within heritage conservation districts, only properties rated Category 1, 2 or 3 are eligible for heritage grants.

Who is not eligible to apply?

Government and public agencies are not eligible to apply. This includes, for example, the City of Ottawa itself, the Federal government or Crown Corporations, the Provincial government and school boards. If a property is, however, leased on a long term to an individual or group, they could apply. Foreign embassies cannot apply for grants. Owners of non-contributing (Category 4) buildings in HCDs are also not eligible for grants.

How do I apply?

Application forms are available online: Heritage Grant Application [ pdf ]

Do you recommend restoration contractors?

Due to the specialized nature of heritage restoration work and frequent requests from property owners for this type of advice, a list of contractors who have carried out restoration work on older homes is available. This list does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation on the part of the City of any of the firms/individuals on the list.

When do I receive the grant payment?

After the grant work has been completed and inspected by heritage staff and proof of payment is presented to show that the contractor has been paid in full, the grant will be processed. Grant payment may be withheld if the work does not meet City standards.

Is retroactive funding available?

No, retroactive funding is not available. Exceptions may be made in emergency situations.

Can I apply for another grant?

You can apply for a grant every second year. So, if you are awarded a grant in 2014, you can apply again in 2016.

Are there insurance requirements?

Yes, the recipients must maintain personal liability insurance of at least $1,000,000 during the course of the project. In addition, the grant recipient must ensure that the contractor maintains commercial general liability insurance of at least $1,000,000 during the course of the project.

What if there are disputes with the contractor?

The City does not get involved in any disputes between property owners and contractors. It is important that the nature of the work and the quotations for the work are clear at the outset and that you request references and examples of previous work. In the case of repointing masonry or cleaning painted masonry, it is even desirable to request "test patches" on inconspicuous parts of the building before undertaking the complete building.

Are there technical notes or guidelines that I can refer to?

The Ontario Heritage Foundation (now Trust) has produced Well-Preserved, the Ontario Heritage Foundation's Manual of Principles and Practice for Architectural Conservation by Mark Fram.

Parks Canada has prepared Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada, which can be accessed at www.historicplaces.ca All projects funded under the Heritage Grant Program for Building Restoration must meet the Standards and Guidelines.

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