There are many different designations of built heritage sites in Ottawa. Some historic sites may have multiple designations, and at more than one level (international, national, provincial, and local). Some designations include some legal protections for the historic elements of the site.
Here is an overview of some of the different designations of built heritage sites in Ottawa:
World Heritage Sites
These are places that have been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as being of special cultural or physical significance. This is a very special distinction, as there are only about 1000 World Heritage Sites in the entire world! The Rideau Canal joined this select group in 2007. For more information: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
National Historic Sites
These can be buildings, streetscapes, places of worship, archaeological sites, and other places deemed to be of national significance. Sites are recognized across five broad categories: Peopling the Land; Governing Canada; Developing Economies; Building Social and Community Life; and Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life. There are about 950 National Historic Sites in Canada, including 24 in Ottawa. Some of these sites are maintained by Parks Canada, but most are privately owned and managed. You will usually see a large maroon and gold plaque bearing Canada’s coat of arms at these sites, which will describe the site’s significance. The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada also recognizes historically significant people and events in a similar way. For more information: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
Federal Heritage Buildings
The Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office (FHBRO) recognizes and protects federally-owned buildings that have heritage value. There are FHBRO classified and recognized buildings throughout Canada, including over 80 in Ottawa. For more information: Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office.
Provincial Heritage Properties
These cultural heritage sites are owned or managed by the Government of Ontario. They can include historic courthouses, jails, schools, hospitals, bridges, and other important pieces of public infrastructure. For example, in Ottawa, Hurdman Bridge has this designation. Provincial Heritage Properties are often identified with a blue and gold plaque from the Ontario Heritage Trust, though these plaques also appear at many undesignated sites to commemorate people, places, and events that have helped shape Ontario’s history. For more information: Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport.
Ontario Heritage Act Part IV
In the 1970’s the Government of Ontario gave municipalities the authority to designate properties of local heritage significance. Part IV of this act enables designation of individual properties. In Ottawa there are more than 300 properties that have been designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, including many that also have provincial, national, and in some cases even international significance. For each of these properties Ottawa City Council (or the Council of one of the former municipalities that is now part of the City of Ottawa) has passed a bylaw that protects the property. These properties are often identified with a small bronze plaque erected by the City. For more information: Ottawa.ca.
Ontario Heritage Act Part V
For many buildings and sites their full heritage value can only be seen when they are viewed in relation to the surrounding area. Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act enables municipalities to designate these areas as “heritage conservation districts.” Ottawa has 19 heritage conservation districts, covering many of the city’s older neighbourhoods such as Sandy Hill, Lowertown, Rockcliffe Park, the Glebe, and others. For more information: Ottawa.ca.
Section 27 of the Ontario Heritage Act permits municipalities to add properties of cultural heritage value or interest to the Heritage Register. The City of Ottawa has hundreds of properties listed on the Heritage Register. Not all buildings listed on the Heritage Register merit designation under the Ontario Heritage Act. For more information: Ottawa.ca.
Under “Search by Layer” on the Ottawa XYZ map, select “Built Heritage” to see a map of more than 400 designated heritage sites with these designations.Leave a reply →