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Encyclopedia > Ontario Heritage Act

The Ontario Heritage Act allows municipalities and the provincial government to designate properties in the Province of Ontario, Canada as being of "cultural heritage value or interest". Once a property has been designated, a property owner must apply to the local municipality for a permit to undertake alterations to any of the identified heritage elements of the property or to demolish any buildings or structures on the property. Motto: Ut Incepit Fidelis Sic Permanet (Loyal she began, loyal she remains) Other Canadian provinces and territories Capital Toronto Largest city Toronto Lieutenant Governor James K. Bartleman Premier Dalton McGuinty (Liberal) Area 1,076,395 km² (4th) Land 917,741 km² Water 158,654 km² (14. ...


Until 2005, a designation under the Act allowed a municipality to delay, but not ultimately prevent, the demolition of a heritage building. Heritage advocates were highly critical of the 180-day "cooling off" period provided for under the legislation, which was intended to allow time for municipalities and landowners to negotiate an appropriate level of heritage preservation, but often simply resulted in the landowner "waiting out the clock" and demolishing the heritage building once the protection of the Ontario Heritage Act had expired.


In 2005, the provincial government enacted changes to strengthen the Act. Under the amended legislation, a landowner who is refused a demolition permit under the Act no longer has an automatic right to demolish a designated building once the cooling off period has expired. Instead, the landowner has the option to appeal the permit refusal to the Ontario Municipal Board, and the OMB will make the final decision on whether or not a demolition permit should issue. Where the OMB refuses to issue a permit, the landowner would have no choice but to preserve the heritage building. The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) is an independent adjudicative tribunal that provides a public forum for resolving disagreements relating to community planning in the province of Ontario, Canada. ...


Many land development groups are very critical of the new legislation, as they feel that some landowners may be unfairly burdened with the cost of maintaining heritage buildings in the public interest, without any financial compensation from the public purse. Some religious denominations and school boards have also expressed concerns with the new legislation, as both groups have numerous heritage buildings within their land holdings and they fear that the Act will prevent them from realising any value from such properties.


Heritage advocates, however, have applauded the new legislation, as it provides a legal mechanism to protect heritage properties in Ontario with some degree of finality.


See Also

The Ontario Heritage Foundation is a non-profit agency of the Ontario Ministry of Culture founded in 1975. ...

External Links

  • Ontario Heritage Act
  • Ontario Heritage Foundation
  • Heritage Toronto
  • Heritage Ottawa Patrimoine
  • Ontario Ministry of Culture - Heritage

 
 

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