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Built Heritage Funding Programs

Heritage Grant Program for Building Restoration

The 2021 Heritage Grant program is now closed.

A heritage grant of up to $10,000 for small-scale buildings, and up to $25,000 for large-scale buildings is available on a matching basis to assist owners of heritage buildings designated under Part IV or Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act for 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 do I apply?

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

Application forms are available online: Heritage Grant Application

Greg MacPherson, Heritage Planner
Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department
City of Ottawa
613-580-2424 ext. 23665

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 $10,000, for small-scale buildings, and $25,000 for large-scale buildings 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 $10,000 for small-scale buildings, and $25,000 for large-scale buildings. 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.

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. Properties must be located within the City of Ottawa.

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

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 2018, you can apply again in 2020.

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 (link is external). The Technical Preservation Services of the National Park Services has prepared Technical Briefs. All projects funded under the Heritage Grant Program for Building Restoration must meet the Standards and Guidelines.

Heritage Community Improvement Plan

The Heritage Community Improvement Plan encourages the restoration and adaptive re-use of buildings designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The Plan encourages the restoration of the heritage attributes for redevelopment proposals, and assists in achieving improved building architecture, site design and site landscaping. These benefits are encouraged by offering a financial incentive in the form of an annual grant funded from incremental property tax assessments and the corresponding increased contribution to tax revenues made by owners of CIP project properties.

The plan offers Tax Increment Equivalent Grants for eligible projects. These grants are calculated on the basis of the increase in the property’s contribution to municipal property taxes, resulting from the value created through redevelopment. The City reimburses property owners a percentage of the increment in the municipal property tax each year for a defined period of up to 10 years, once taxes are paid each year, and all other accounts with the City are in good standing.

All submissions under the Heritage CIP must be for the restoration and adaptive re-use of properties located within the City of Ottawa. Eligible projects include buildings designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act and contributing (Category 1, 2, 3 or Grade I) properties designated under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Candidate properties would be reviewed in detail, based on best knowledge of current trends and history to ensure that an incentive is, in fact, required to stimulate restoration and adaptive re-use. The applicant is required to provide a rationale clearly demonstrating that the project would not otherwise proceed in the absence of the incentive and that the project meets the Council-approved Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.

For more information on this program, including the complete eligibility criteria, or to obtain application forms please contact:

Chris Cope
Economic Development Officer
Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department
110 Laurier Ave., 3rd Floor,
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1
Tel: 613-580-2424, ext. 28991
Fax: 613-560-6028