Toronto as an urban mega city is very much in touch with its past and respects the many houses, buildings and neighbourhoods that were built more than a century ago and are part of our City's culture.
The City of Toronto has deemed heritage conservation to be a priority in the development of this City.
Buildings or sites in Toronto are considered important for various reasons. It might be their architectural value, might relate to an important person who lived there, or a significant event in the history of the city. A building has to be more than just "old" to qualify as a heritage property. The other interesting point is that the building doesn't have to be a grand public building. Small cottages, warehouses and industrial structures are also part of our legacy that needs protecting and preserving in a time when too many buildings throughout our city are being demolished for "new"!
There are two different categories under which Heritage properties fall.
First are those that are "LISTED". This is a term used when a property has been recommended to be included on the Inventory of Heritage Properties. The recommendations are based on how the property relates to history, architecture and neighbourhood context. When added to the Inventory, it's a clear statement that the City would like to see the heritage attributes preserved. When "LISTED" it allows the Heritage Preservation Services to review development and building applications affecting those properties. Owners must give the city 60 days notice of their intention to demolish the property.
The second category is properties that have been "DESIGNATED". This is a legal status on the property by a specific city by-law under the Ontario Heritage Act which gives the City legal authority to refuse an application that would affect the property's heritage attributes. The City enters into a binding agreement with the owner of the property and registers on title a legal Heritage Easement Agreement that identifies features of a building which are to be retained in perpetuity and may also set out permitted alterations. They photograph the identified features of the building and attach it to the agreement.
Both Listed and Designated properties will only have their interiors affected if they are identified to be of special heritage interest. When interiors are designated, they usually are publicly accessible spaces such as churches or a head office entrance hall.
Routine maintenance and minor alterations which do not affect these building's heritage character are routinely approved. Any major impact on the building's heritage attributes would require City Council approval.
*When you sell your heritage property, if it's Designated, that information would be registered on title for the property, and identified within your Agreement of Purchase and Sale.
*When you purchase a Designated property, a special "heritage" clause is inserted into the Agreement of Purchase and Sale to deal with restrictions, if any.
The Toronto Grant Program encourages the conservation of properties through matching grant funding of up to 50% of the estimated cost of eligible heritage conservation work, up to a maximum grant of $10,000.00 for individual properties.
Tax Rebate Program
The City of Toronto's Heritage Property Tax Rebate Program provides eligible property owners with 40% rebate on their municipal and educational property taxes for the eligible heritage portions of their property.
You have to love these historical properties that are scattered throughout the many neighbourhoods of old Toronto. For example the west neighbourhoods of High Park, The Junction, Parkdale to central neighbourhoods like The Annex and Yorkville. Many of these properties vary in size and style, including Victorians, Arts and Crafts and Edwardians. The one commonality amongst the owners of these beautiful homes is their appreciation and sense of responsibility in caring for these treasures and maintaining their home's integrity and history.