The essential benefit of heritage district designation is ensuring that future developments, renovations and restorations are complementary to the character of the district. HCD status can be an effective means to prevent the demolition of significant buildings or new construction or renovations considered by the community’s residents to be “out of character” with existing buildings in the HCD, as seen from the street.
- Municipal financial incentives such as heritage property restoration grants, tax relief, and other programs. (See Section X: “Heritage Permit Process”)
- Recent Canadian and U.S. studies that suggest district heritage status tends to accelerate property value increases during periods of rising house prices, and sustains values during recessions.
- Designation is a method for owners to express pride in the heritage value of their property, and for the community to protect and promote awareness of its local history.
- Importantly, heritage status provides a process to ensure that property changes respect the community’s heritage value and is appropriately managed.
- Designation provides a community with an opportunity to recognize and commemorate its unique “sense of place”.
- Heritage status, and the research that underpins its designation, can encourage a deeper understanding and appreciation of the community’s heritage attributes and strong relationship to history, memory, imagination and the physical patterns of buildings, structure streetscapes, landforms, and a neighbourhood’s natural features.
- HCD status provides a process for sustaining these elements into the future.
Other general benefits of HCD designation status include:
- Preserving Ontario’s Heritage for the enjoyment of generations to come;
- Providing advice to property owners on building conservation, such as period paint colours, brick repair and thermal improvement to historic windows;
- Encouraging new development that is compatible with the historic character of the neighbourhood and the goals of the heritage plan;
- Embellishing a neighbourhood’s streetscapes, with improvements such as tree replanting, custom streetlights and signs, and traffic calming features;
- Improving Landscapes such as public parks and spaces in the neighbourhood, for example, with period landscaping, statutory and interpretive plaques;
- Focusing municipal support to govern and improve the neighbourhood in accordance with the goals of the heritage plan.