Centretown is a mostly residential neighbourhood developed mainly between 1890 and 1914. The neighbourhood was built to provide housing within walking distance of Parliament Hill and nearby government offices for the expanding civil service. Centretown is one of the oldest residential neighbourhoods in Ottawa and has strong historical ties to Ottawa’s role as the national capital.
Today, Centretown’s built form continues to be mainly low-density residential but uses vary. There is a rich fabric of historic buildings throughout the neighbourhood both within the existing Heritage Conservation Districts (HCD) and beyond. Over the past 20 years, Centretown has experienced significant redevelopment as the neighbourhood is desirable for its central location, amenities and character.
Centretown includes two existing Heritage Conservation Districts (HCD): the Centretown HCD (designated under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act in 1997) and the Minto Park HCD (designated in 1988).
The study area [PDF 376 KB] includes the core of Centretown’s historic residential neighbourhood, which is bounded by Gloucester Street in the north, Catherine Street in the south, the Rideau Canal in the east and Bronson Street in the west. The study area includes the existing Centretown and Minto Park HCDs.
Why is the City undertaking the Centretown Heritage Study?
Council directed the Centretown Heritage Study through the Centretown Community Design Plan and Secondary Plan, which it approved in 2013. Section 3.7 of the Centretown Secondary Plan contains the following directions:
The City shall undertake the development of a Heritage District Plan according to the requirements of the Ontario Heritage Act. The updated study shall consider:
- The diversity of buildings within the existing CHCD [Centretown Heritage Conservation District] and the objective of this Plan to accommodate population growth and new, contemporary buildings within the CHCD and shall develop appropriate infill guidelines;
- More comprehensive descriptions and guidelines for individual buildings and streetscapes; [Amendments #117 and #125, OMB Order File #PL130619, September 30, 2016]
- Architectural guidelines for new buildings, and additions to existing buildings;
- Modifications to the current boundaries of the CHCD as deemed appropriate by the study findings.
The City shall pursue appropriate designations of undesignated heritage buildings and areas within Centretown that currently are outside the Centretown Heritage Conservation District.
In addition to the direction provided in the Centretown Secondary Plan, the Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department has been working to update all existing HCDs to meet the current requirements of the Ontario Heritage Act.
In 2005, the Ontario Heritage Act was revised to require a Heritage Conservation District Plan for all new HCDs. In addition, the Act allows municipalities to adopt HCD Plans for districts designated prior to 2005. The City of Ottawa has been working to adopt HCD Plans for all districts designated before 2005. The Centretown Heritage Study will fulfill this priority for two of the City’s pre-2005 HCDs.
What are the goals of the project?
The goals of the Centretown Heritage Study are to:
- Undertake a comprehensive heritage inventory of all properties in the study area
- Determine if additional areas or individual properties merit listing on the Heritage Register or designation under the Ontario Heritage Act.
- Update the existing Centretown and Minto Park Heritage Conservation Districts plans