Heritage Designation

Heritage Designation

All across Ontario, communities are working together to protect cultural heritage properties in order to preserve the expressions and aspirations of past generations. Today these properties enrich us and inspire us to build vibrant, livable communities for future generations.

By adopting a heritage-minded approach to cultural and economic planning we can revitalize neighbourhoods and properties, increase property values, create employment, encourage new business and bring tourist dollars.

Notice of Intention to Designate

Notice of Passing

Evaluating Properties

Heritage properties are evaluated for designation or inclusion on the municipal heritage register using a set of criteria that measures architectural, contextual and historical significance.

Architectural Value:

Does the property have design value or physical value because it...

  • is a rare, unique, representative or early example of a style, type, expression, material or construction method
  • displays a high degree of craftsmanship or artistic merit
  • demonstrates a high degree of technical or scientific achievement

Historical or Associative Value:

Does the property...

  • have direct associations with a theme, event, belief, person, activity, organization or institution that is significant to a community
  • yields, or has the potential to yield, information that contributes to an understanding of a community or culture
  • demonstrates or reflects the work or ideas of an architect, artist, builder, designer or theorist who is significant to a community

Contextual Value:

Is the property...

  • important in defining, maintaining or supporting the character of an area,
  • physically, functionally, visually or historically linked to its surroundings, or
  • a landmark

Designating a Property under the Ontario Heritage Act

Under the Ontario Heritage Act, municipalities can pass bylaws to formally designate properties of cultural heritage value or interest. Formal designation of heritage properties is one way of publicly acknowledging a property’s heritage value to a community. At the same time, designation helps to ensure the conservation of these important places for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

In 2005, the Ontario Heritage Act was strengthened to provide municipalities and the province with enhanced powers to conserve Ontario’s Heritage. A number of improvements were made with respect to designation, providing a clearer process and better protection for designated properties – including protection from demolition.

Lincoln’s Town Council has approved a designation process which includes a standardized selection criteria and methodology; property owner consultation and notification; and several levels of review before recommendations are considered by Town Council.

Initiating the Designation Process

The designation process may be initiated by any member of the community including: Council, the Town's Municipal Heritage Committee, the owner of a property or a third party (for example, a community member or organization).

Property Owners Requesting Property Designation

  1. Registered owners of property are required to submit information particular to their property to the Town of Lincoln indicating their interest in having their property designated under the Ontario Heritage Act
  2. The Municipal Heritage Committee will act as the liaison between Town of Lincoln Council and property owners who request heritage designation
  3. Upon receipt of the completed form, the Committee arranges a site visit and assesses the property with regard to designation guidelines and makes a decision to reject or accept request for designation
  4. If rejected, Committee informs the property owner in writing and takes no further action
  5. If accepted, Committee informs the property owner in writing and formally initiates the designation process
  6. Once all necessary information is in place, Committee makes a recommendation to Town Council to proceed with Notice of Intention to Designate

Importance of protecting properties of cultural or heritage value or interest

Designating or listing properties on the Municipal Heritage Register is an important tool in managing the conservation of the city’s cultural heritage resources.

A Register of Cultural Heritage Properties:

  • recognizes properties of cultural heritage value in a community
  • fosters civic identity and pride by promoting knowledge and enhancing an understanding of a community’s cultural heritage
  • provides easily accessible information about cultural heritage value for property owners land-use planners, developers, the tourism industry, educators and the general public
  • a key component of any municipal heritage conservation strategy

Listing on The Municipal Heritage Register

  • The Municipal Heritage Register is the official list or record of cultural heritage properties that have been identified as being important to the community
  • The register includes both designated and non-designated properties that the municipal council believes to be of cultural heritage value or interest
  • Non-designated properties added to the Municipal Heritage Register are referred to as 'listed properties'.
  • Listing a property is the first step a municipality takes in the identification and evaluation of a property that may warrant some form of heritage conservation, recognition and/or long term protection
  • Part of taking stock is deciding which resources are important to conserve today and for future generations. 


Date modified: