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Ontario has 134 Heritage Conservation Districts. Studies show that the best loved places throughout the world, such as Paris and New York, are also the most highly regulated although each plan is unique according to what the community wants.

Heritage Conservation Districts...

Provide a sense of place and belonging:

  • for newcomers and long time residents

  • which makes for a safer neighbourhood

  • not just in ones house but the street and the whole area

  • gives a richer sense of where you live if you know why something has been done

Establish a unique planning framework:

  • meant for each area alone

  • which takes into account the local history character

  • which acknowledges the importance of change balanced with retaining identity, character and key features

Create cultural and economic vitality:

  • Over 70% of millennium home buyers would prefer an older home

  • Local walking tours and house tours showcase the neighbourhood and create interest. People like to see old buildings, big trees, green spaces and places of history.

  • 4.75 million visitors went to museums in Ontario in 2014 spending $291.9 million. 71% of millennials enjoy travel experiences which explore the history of an area, such as museums, historic churches and historic neighbourhoods.

  • Heritage Preservation complements the production of arts and culture, all of which, in turn, fuels the new creative economy

  • Supports specially skilled trades and trades people

  • Prevents loss of resources and craftsmanship that cannot be found anymore

  • Reports and studies on the effects of HCDs has shown an increase in property values for heritage structures

  • Buildings in HCDs maintain their value better than others in a downturn.

  • A landmark saved will continue to serve the community as a marker on the cultural chart of human history from one generation to the next.

Allow for stabilization and maintenance of the character of the neighbourhood:

  • People get to know the neighbourhood better and understand why something is the way it is

  • Prevents “demolition by neglect” which brings a neighbourhood down

Expand the sense of neighbourhood

  • Collaborative nature of creating an HCD has proven to create stronger neighbourhoods

Help the environment

  • The greenest building is the one that is already there, restored properly with as much of its original materials as possible. There are very few buildings that cannot be restored and reused, and in this era of green consciousness, old structures are often sought after.

  • Construction and demolition waste make up to 27% of the overall waste stream in Canada. The industry is also the greatest producer of wood waste, making up between 25% and 45% of all solid waste generated in North America.

  • Construction accounts for 50% of all the natural resources humans consume. 10% to 30% of greenhouse gas emissions are from the production and transportation of building materials and demolition waste.

  • Old buildings don’t only embody history; they embody energy and carbon. Even the plainest brick box, one of no architectural interest, contains carbon in its structure and materials, and energy embodied in its construction.

  • HCDs actively help conserve energy. Natural Resources Canada’s Urban Archetypes Project demonstrates that our heritage neighbourhoods and towns use less energy per capita than any other form of housing, because they are walkable communities.

  • The materials used in most new constructions require more energy to produce than traditional materials. Rehabilitating a building requires less energy than building a new one, so fewer fossil fuels are wasted and less greenhouse gas is produced.

  • Reusing old buildings fosters other green lifestyle choices.

  • Saving a building also means saving all the energy that was used to build and maintain it. Demolishing buildings is quite simply a waste of energy.

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