Heritage planning

Current project updates

Draft Cultural Heritage Action Plan (CHAP) presented to April 8 Council Planning agenda to receive Council’s comment and input and to release a draft for community consultation to be held on April 24, 2019.

Heritage Register

Heritage conservation districts

How to designate a property

Cultural heritage action plan

Designated heritage properties

View all heritage properties

Heritage conservation in Guelph

Cultural heritage resources are the roots of the community and include built heritage resources, cultural heritage landscapes and archaeological resources. Cultural heritage resources paint the history of the city and provide identity and character while instilling pride and contributing to economic prosperity.

The Province provides direction for the protection of significant cultural heritage resources in the Provincial Policy Statement (2014). Section 4.8 of Guelph’s Official Plan outlines objectives and policies for heritage conservation within the city.

Significant cultural heritage resources within the city may be designated or listed on the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties  (known as the heritage register).

For more information

Stephen Robinson, Senior Heritage Planner
Planning and Building Services
519-822-1260 extension 2496

Frequently asked questions

Is my property on the heritage register?

All cultural heritage resources in Guelph recognized under the Ontario Heritage Act is available in the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Resources.

How does the City protect heritage properties?

The Provincial Policy Statement, the Ontario Heritage Act and the City of Guelph Official Plan provide a framework to protect significant cultural heritage resources through designation in order for their cultural heritage value is maintained.

When do I need a heritage permit?

Alterations to protected heritage attributes require a heritage permit.

Can I alter, demolish or remove my heritage property?

Only a designated heritage property will require a heritage permit for alterations. Demolition or removal of a designated or listed heritage property will require Council’s approval. Contact Heritage Planning for more information.

Can I attend a Heritage Guelph Committee meeting?

Heritage Guelph meetings are open to the public. The schedule is available online.

What does a heritage designation not do?

Designation does not:

  • prohibit or negatively affect the sale of a designated property. Some studies have even shown that designation actually positively affects resale value.
  • oblige the owner to restore and maintain the building beyond what is expected of any property owner.
  • affect the permitted uses of the property (under zoning).
  • prohibit the development or alteration of the property, but approval may be required if changes impact heritage attributes.
  • permit public access to your property.

Key terms

Built heritage resource

One or more significant buildings, structures, landscapes, monuments, installations or visible remains associated with architectural, cultural, social, political, economic or military history and has been identified as being important to a community. These resources may be identified through designation or heritage conservation easements under the Ontario Heritage Act, or listed by local, provincial or federal jurisdictions. (Source: City of Guelph Official Plan)


The identification, protection, management and use of built heritage resources, cultural heritage landscapes and archaeological resources in a manner that ensures their cultural heritage value or interest is retained under the Ontario Heritage Act. This may be achieved by the implementation of recommendations set out in a conservation plan, archaeological assessment, or heritage impact assessment. Mitigative measures or alternative development approaches can be included in these plans and assessments. (Source: Provincial Policy Statement 2014)

Cultural heritage landscape (CHL) 

A defined geographical area of heritage significance which has been modified by human activities and is valued by the community. It may involve a grouping(s) of individual heritage features such as structures, spaces, archaeological sites and natural elements, which together form a significant type of heritage form, distinctive from that of its constituent elements or parts. Examples may include, but are not limited to; heritage conservation districts designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, parks, gardens, neighbourhoods, townscapes, farmscapes, battlefields, main streets, cemeteries, trail ways and industrial complexes of cultural heritage value or interest. (Sources: City of Guelph Official Plan; Provincial Policy Statement 2014; Ontario Heritage Toolkit)

Cultural heritage resource 

An archaeological resource, built heritage resource or cultural heritage landscape resource.

Designated property 

Property designated under Part IV or Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Heritage attributes

Heritage attributes mean, in relation to real property, and to the buildings and structures on the real property, the attributes that contribute to their cultural heritage value or interest. (Source: Ontario Heritage Act)

Listed property 

Property listed as non-designated on the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties.


The action or process of protecting, maintaining, and/or stabilizing the existing materials, form, and integrity of a historic place or of an individual component, while protecting its heritage value. (Source: Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada)

Protected heritage property 

Property designated under Parts IV, V or VI of the Ontario Heritage Act; property subject to a heritage conservation easement under Parts II or IV of the Ontario Heritage Act; property identified by the Province and prescribed public bodies as provincial heritage property under the Standards and Guidelines for Conservation of Provincial Heritage Properties; property protected under federal legislation, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. (Source: Provincial Policy Statement 2014)


Significant means, in regard to cultural heritage and archaeology, resources that have been determined to have cultural heritage value or interest for the important contribution they make to our understanding of the history of a place, an event, or a people. (Source: Provincial Policy Statement 2014)