An increased awareness and concern for the preservation of historic buildings and neighbourhoods led to the passage of the Ontario Heritage Act in 1975. This legislation enabled municipalities to protect properties of architectural and historical significance and to establish municipal heritage committees to advise City Councils on heritage matters.
The Ontario Heritage Act provides the City of Ottawa with three ways to recognize and protect properties of cultural heritage value on a municipal heritage register:
Individual designation under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act
Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act gives municipalities the authority to designate individual properties that have cultural heritage value. Properties must meet one of the three criteria for designation prescribed in Ontario Regulation 09/06 to be designated.
Heritage Conservation District under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act
Section 41 of the Ontario Heritage Act gives municipalities the authority to designate areas as heritage conservation districts. District designation can apply to a collection of buildings, streets or open spaces that are of special significance to the community. Heritage conservation districts contribute to our understanding and appreciation of our cultural identity. Ottawa's 20 heritage conservation districts include the former 19th century village of New Edinburgh and the mid-20th residential neighbourhood of Briarcliffe.
Listing on the Heritage Register
Section 27 of the Ontario Heritage Act permits municipalities to add properties of cultural heritage value or interest to the Heritage Register. Listing under Section 27 requires property owners wanting to demolish a building listed on the Register to provide the City notice at least 60 days prior to the demolition. This allows the City enough time to negotiate with the owner to save the building or to propose its designation if warranted. There are no restrictions on alterations to properties listed under Section 27 of the Ontario Heritage Act. The City of Ottawa has approximately 3800 properties listed on the Heritage Register.
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