Heritage Permits

When is a Heritage Permit required?

A heritage permit is required to perform certain alterations, construction, or demolition on any part of an individually designated property or a property in a Heritage Conservation District.

 Types of projects that require a Heritage Permit
  • All new construction or additions to a designated property such as: new buildings, new dormer windows, garages, etc.
  • Demolitions (full or partial)
  • Extensive landscaping, if the landscape is identified as a heritage attribute, or if landscaping will directly impact the structure
  • Alterations or additions to existing buildings or structures such as: applying new siding to exterior walls, cladding or replacing fascia, soffits, trim, or other original details; covering original brickwork or foundations with stucco or parging; or removing, altering, or replacing original chimney stacks
  • Replacement of or alterations to existing windows and doors, or the openings for windows and doors
  • Installation or removal of fences, gates, trellises, arbors, or gazebos which are listed as heritage attributes
  • Removing, altering, or replacing original decorative elements such as metal crest rails, wooden brackets, finials, decorative urns, frieze bands, stone carvings, and shutters
  • Painting unpainted masonry
  • Installing exterior heating/cooling units
  • Installing signage and awnings
  • Health, safety, or accessibility modifications
  • Cleaning and re-pointing masonry
  • Reconstructing or altering features that have been recognized as heritage attributes
 Types of projects that do not require a Heritage Permit
  • Re-roofing with the same material
  • Most interior work (unless designation includes interior heritage attributes)
  • Painting (except unpainted masonry)
  • Repairing or replacing eaves troughs and downspouts (unless they have been recognized as heritage attributes)
  • Installing satellite dishes (unless they will cause irreparable harm to a heritage attribute)
  • Planting or removing minor vegetation
  • Routine maintenance and other repairs to existing materials

Heritage Permit Guide and Application Forms

Our Heritage Permit Guides provides detailed information on the permitting process and the application form for Individually Designated Properties and Heritage Conservation District Properties.

Heritage Permit Guide and Application Form for Individually Designated Properties

Heritage Permit Guide and Application Form for Heritage Conservation District Properties

Heritage Permit Application Process

The Heritage Permit application process can be broken down into specific steps. It is important to remember that this process may take several months to complete, depending on the scope of the application.

Some alterations will also require a Building Permit, issued by the City’s Building Division. It is the property owner’s responsibility to consult with the Building Division to determine whether or not a Building Permit is required. Building Permits can only be issued after a Heritage Permit Application has been approved.

Step 1: Consultation

Applicants should contact the Heritage Preservation Office (HPO) to arrange a consultation meeting with staff members to discuss the proposed alterations. This provides an opportunity for the applicant and staff to review the policies related to the property in order to ensure that the application meets the relevant requirements. It is also an opportunity to clarify what supporting documentation is required to be submitted with the permit application.

Step 2: Submission

Applicants may then submit the completed Heritage Permit Application Form, being sure to include all necessary supporting documentation, such as photographs, plans, drawings, contractor quotes, project specifications and proof of planning approvals or variances.

Step 3: City Review

HPO staff will perform an initial review of the application and may request further information as needed, to ensure a complete application. Once the application is deemed complete, the City will issue a Notice of Receipt to the applicant. By law, the City then has 90 days to deliver a decision regarding the permit application. Depending on the nature of the proposed work, the application may be reviewed by the local Municipal Heritage Committee (PACAC) and in some cases also by City Council.

Step 4: Decision

Within 90 days of sending notice of receipt to the owner, the City will issue notice of one of three decisions regarding the permit application: approved, approved with terms and conditions, or not approved. If the permit has been approved with terms and conditions, these will be outlined in the notice. Once an agreement has been reached regarding the terms and conditions, the Heritage Permit will be issued.

Step 5: Appeal 

If the applicant objects to the decision, it may be appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) within 30 days of receipt of the Notice of Decision. The decision of the OLT is final.


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