Heritage Guelph

Heritage Guelph is an appointed committee of City Council. In an advisory capacity, Heritage Guelph is responsible for advising Council on matters relating to the architectural, cultural and landscape heritage of the city.

View Heritage Guelph agendas and minutes

Guelph has an excellent record of conservation and adaptive re-use of heritage structures. Although we have lost many outstanding architectural specimens over the years, many more have been saved. Our unique limestone heritage sets us apart from other cities in Southwestern Ontario.

Our architectural heritage contributes to our sense of place and community identity. The economic value of heritage tourism, adaptive re-use, and civic pride is now being recognized.

Preservation, restoration and re-use of Guelph’s significant heritage structures continues to be a priority for The City of Guelph and its citizens.

Co-operation between City Council, Heritage Guelph, heritage property owners and Guelph’s Department of Planning and Development has resulted in almost 80 sites being designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Heritage Guelph and the City of Guelph Planning & Building Services maintain an Inventory of Heritage Structures containing over 2,000 structures of heritage interest.

Designation Process

Structures designated under the Ontario Heritage Act must meet specific criteria to be considered of architectural or cultural interest.

The Ontario Heritage Act allows for the designation of any real property, not just buildings. The designation process is usually initiated by a request from the property owner to Heritage Guelph or by a recommendation directly from Heritage Guelph. In the latter case, the property owner is contacted regarding the proposed designation. The property is then researched and evaluated against the Designation Criteria, and if the property is deemed eligible, a statement is drawn up containing the reasons for designation for the review of City Council

Once Council accepts a Heritage Guelph recommendation to designate a property, it must inform the property owner and publish a “notice of intention to designate” in the local newspaper. Anyone objecting to the proposed designation must notify the municipal clerk in writing within thirty days of the initial appearance of the advertisement, setting out the reasons for the objection. If there is no objection, Council is able to enact a bylaw designating the property which is then registered at the local registry office and forwarded to the property owner and the Ontario Heritage Foundation. In the event of an objection, City Council refers the matter to the Conservation Review Board, a provincial advisory body, which holds a public hearing in the municipality to review the case and reports its findings to the parties involved. Based on the Board’s advice, City council either designates the property or withdraws its intention to designate.

Property designation under the Ontario Heritage Act recognizes and reinforces the community value of heritage properties, provides protection against inappropriate changes to heritage properties and hinders their demolition, and also gives heritage property owners access to government programs of financial assistance.

To inquire about designation of a property in the City of Guelph, please contact:

Stephen Robinson
Senior Heritage Planner
Planning Services
T 519-837-5616 x2496

Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties

The Municipal Register is the official list of properties that have been identified as being culturally or historically important to the community. The Register helps the City keep track of its cultural heritage resources and plan for their conservation.

The Register includes key information on all the buildings, structures, landscapes and districts that have been designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The Register also includes “non-designated” properties that have cultural heritage value or interest. The listing of non-designated properties provides interim protection for sites undergoing change by requiring owners to provide the City with at least 60 days notice of their intention to demolish or remove a building or structure on the property. This notice period allows the City to make a well informed decision about whether long term protection of the property should be sought through the formal designation process.

Inclusion on the Municipal Register as a “non-designated property” does not mean your property is being designated. Also the process for renovating a building has not changed.

  • Designated Properties on the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties
  • Properties on the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties
  • Report Expansion of the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties to Include Non-Designated Burcher-Stokes Properties Including a Review Process – March 30, 2009

A process has been set up to review requests to either consider corrections to listed information and/or removal of a property from the register. Property owners who feel that information included on the Municipal Register is incorrect or that a property does not in fact have cultural or heritage value can apply to have the listing corrected or removed. Please see the documents below for the Review Process Guidelines and Application Form.

Municipal Register Review Process Municipal Register Application Form