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Myths

Myth #1: Heritage designation reduces a home’s value and makes it harder to sell.
Professor Robert Shipley, School of Planning, University of Waterloo investigated the sales of 2,707 properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act ove
r the past 20 years in 24 communities in Ontario. He found that:

  • 74% of individually designated properties equaled or bettered the average property value trend in the community.

  • The rate of sales among individually designated properties was equal to, or greater than, the general rate of sales of properties within their communities.

  • Designated properties tend to resist downturns in the ambient market.

  • Owners of designated buildings can benefit from expert advice from municipal heritage committees and preservation staff, and they may also be eligible for financial incentives such as grants, special loans and tax relief.

 


Myth #2: It is cheaper to demolish and rebuild than to restore a heritage building.
Charles K. Hoyt, in the Architectural Record says: Heritage conservation and restoration have several advantages over new construction. Many older buildings have unique and desirable features, such as ornate windows and finishes, high ceilings etc. that are prohibitively expensive to create in new buildings. Structural costs on an old building typicallymake up 5 - 12 % of total project costs - half the average expenditure for new construction.


Myth #3: Old building technology is not as efficient as modern replacements.
Paul Howley, a Stratford builder, who works on heritage buildings: Old houses were designed and built to last. Retrofitting with modern materials is only a short-term improvement. Modern materials don’t last as long as old materials that are properly maintained and kept in good repair.

 

Misconceptions About Heritage Structures 

 

The building is not important enough to be worth saving.

  • Heritage value comes in many forms. It can be a mansion or a worker’s cottage, a wall or a tree. Criteria and standards exist for establishing the significance of a structure.

  • Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Meaning just because one does not know of the history to something doesn’t mean there isn’t any.
     

The building can’t be saved.

  • Many famous buildings have been saved when they seem to be far beyond help. The Campbell House, Old City Hall and Union Station would be a few.

  • Don’t judge a book by its cover. Houses may show superficial deterioration but be perfectly sound. Get advice from a qualified heritage architect or contractor.


The building has a bad history or memories attached to it.

  • So does the Tower of London but of course that is one of the most famous landmarks in the world. Tragic or illegal events connected to a house does not need to make it undesirable.

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