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Heritage conservation


Heritage Action Plan 2019-2022 [ PDF 38 KB ]

The conservation of cultural heritage resources is a priority for the City of Ottawa. Historic buildings, districts and landscapes provide us with physical reminders of our past and a greater understanding and appreciation of our local identity. The City of Ottawa conserves significant cultural heritage resources to celebrate, revitalize, stabilize and enhance the community as well as to contribute to its physical, social, cultural and economic development. The City has over 300 individually designated buildings and 20 heritage conservation districts.

Heritage planning is the preservation, conservation, rehabilitation, restoration and management of heritage resources. Cultural heritage resources can include sites, structures, buildings, and landscapes of cultural heritage value. Heritage planners work to manage change throughout the city to ensure that cultural heritage resources are retained, protected and integrated into new developments.

The Heritage Services Unit is part of the Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department. The Unit is responsible for researching and evaluating properties and areas for designation, assisting property owners with restoration projects and evaluating applications for alterations and demolition under the Ontario Heritage Act. The Unit provides expert advice to the Built Heritage Sub-Committee, Planning Committee, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and City Council on built heritage matters.

The City of Ottawa uses a variety of tools to identify and protect cultural heritage resources:

The Ontario Heritage Act

The Ontario Heritage Act provides the City of Ottawa with three ways to recognize and protect properties of cultural heritage value

  • Listing on the heritage register (Section 27 of the Act)
  • Individual designation (Part IV of the Act)
  • Heritage district designation (Part V of the Act)

Property Standards By-Law (2013-416)

In 2013, in response to ongoing issues of demolition by neglect of several heritage properties, the City's property standards by-law was updated to include specific rules about the maintenance and minimum standards for heritage buildings. The amendments to the by-law have allowed the City to more closely monitor the condition of designated properties to ensure their long term viability. Section VI of the Property Standards By-Law includes the minimum standards for heritage properties.

Heritage Overlay, Section 60 of the Zoning By-law

Section 60 of the City of Ottawa Zoning By-law contains the Heritage Overlay that is applied to most designated heritage properties and districts. The Overlay provides an additional layer of protection for the property and the character of the area. The Heritage Overlay sets out a variety of requirements for new additions and new construction in heritage areas. For instance, if a building affected by the Heritage Overlay is to be demolished it must be replaced with a building of the same size, massing, and floor area. This regulation is meant to ensure that new construction is not out of character for the area. Section 60 also offers parking incentives for historic buildings.

Contact Us

For more information on the City of Ottawa Heritage Program, please contact:

Heritage Planning

Awards and Recognition

The City recognizes outstanding achievements in heritage conservation.

Learn More