Ontario Heritage Act facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Old City Hall and Terauley Street
Old City Hall in Toronto in 1907. After it was destroyed in the 1960s, people started to think that old buildings should be protected. The Ontario Heritage Act was one way to protect these old buildings..

The Ontario Heritage Act is a law that was made on March 5, 1975. It lets the Province of Ontario and cities protect important buildings and other places. These places are called designated heritage properties.

Listing a place under the Act

Edward Pease house sign
A plaque on a building in Markham, saying that the building is protected under the Act.

If a place is listed as an important place under the Act, the person who owns the place needs to ask the government of their city to let them change any of the important parts of the place. They also need to ask the government to let them destroy any buildings.

Changes to the law

Before 2005, people could still destroy buildings that were listed as important, even if the government of the city did not want to let them. They did this by waiting for 180 days after asking to destroy the building. Once 180 days were over, if the people who owned the buildings did not agree with the government of the city, the people who owned the buildings could destroy the building.

In 2005, the provincial government changed the Act.  People who own important buildings are not allowed to destroy the buildings any more, if the government of the city does not let them. If the government of the city does not let them destroy the building, they are allowed to ask the Conservation Review Board to let them do it anyway. If the Conservation Review Board does not let them destroy the building, then the person who owns the building is not allowed to destroy the building.

The change also says that people who own important buildings must take care of them so that the buildings will not fall down.

Problems

There are some problems with the Ontario Heritage Act. Sometimes the government of a city will say that a place is important because they do not want anyone to make changes to the place, even though the place is not really important. For example, one city said that a golf course was important because someone wanted to build houses there instead.

Another problem is that there are a lot of old churches that are important, but the people who use the churches sometimes need to make changes to the buildings because of their religion. The government of the city needs to be careful to let the people practice their religion but also needs to take care of the building.

Another problem is that there are a lot of buildings in Ontario that belong to the Government of Canada. These buildings are not protected by the Act. The Government of Canada has laws that protect some of these buildings, but not all of them.


Ontario Heritage Act Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.