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City of Burlington to Undertake Downtown Cultural Heritage Landscapes Study

Council Approved - Downtown Heritage Study - TW

Burlington City Council unanimously approved City staff to undertake a Downtown Cultural Heritage Landscape Study for six potential cultural heritage landscapes and eight individual properties in downtown Burlington to determine their eligibility for further heritage protection. We also approved asking the Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee to reconvene and review each property in the cultural landscapes to determine which should be added to the Municipal Register and report back to committee on Sept. 13.

Downtown Burlington is experiencing sustained development pressure and has a shrinking window of opportunity to protect vulnerable historic buildings and streetscapes. A 2019 assessment of densifying areas in Burlington’s downtown identified eight potential heritage buildings and five potential heritage streetscapes that should be prioritized for study. Heritage Burlington subsequently identified an additional site.

In 2020, Council directed staff to create a workplan and identify funding sources to complete a study of the potential resources. Staff have prepared a workplan for a study that can be accomplished within a year for an estimated cost of between $100,000 and $150,000. The outcomes of the study will be a shortlist of cultural heritage landscapes (CHLs) and a shortlist of properties eligible for heritage designation and statements of significance for each. Once the study is complete, it will enable the City to designate the individual properties, if deemed appropriate, and implement protections for eligible CHLs.

Click the links below for the staff report, location maps and to other supporting documents/appendices:


There has been some heavy-handedness in the past in how the City approached heritage that alienated heritage property owners. But in the zeal not to be so heavy-handed, previous Councils may have gone too far the other way and removed properties that had heritage pieces that should be preserved and protected. With the heritage landscapes study, we have an opportunity to get a better balance.

We have seen that heritage and redevelopment can coexist, for example with recent redevelopments in the downtown that incorporate heritage buildings. We can achieve both redevelopment of a property while protecting and incorporating the heritage aspects within it. It requires innovation. I look forward to the results of the study and options to protect heritage in the downtown, as it continues to change. We have an obligation under Provincial policy to protect our built heritage and this is a step in that direction. I want to thank our Heritage Committee for the great work they’ve done to get us this far.

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Here is the full motion Council unanimously approved on July 12:

Authorize the Director of Community Planning to retain a qualified consultant, through a competitive procurement process, to undertake the Downtown Cultural Heritage Landscapes Study consistent with the Terms of Reference contained in Appendix B of community planning department report PL-49-22; and

Approve an upset limit of $150,000 for the study, funded from the Policy Initiatives Reserve Fund; and

Direct the Director of Community Planning to provide notice of the commencement of the study to affected property owners, the local business association and other affected stakeholders identified in the Terms of Reference (Appendix B); and

Direct the Director of Community Planning to add 2012 Victoria Avenue, 518 Brant Street, 524 Brant Street, 530 Brant Street, 574 Brant Street, 600 Brant Street, 612 Brant Street and 620 Brant Street to the Municipal Heritage Register and provide notice to owners of the properties within 30 days, pursuant to section 27(5) of the Ontario Heritage Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.18; and

Authorize the City Clerk to take necessary action if there are any objections in accordance with Section 27(7) of the Ontario Heritage Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter 0.18; and

Direct the Director of Community Planning to report back following the completion of the Downtown Cultural Heritage Landscapes Study by Q3 of 2023 with study results, follow-up recommendations and a recommendation to remove 2012 Victoria Avenue, 518 Brant Street, 524 Brant Street, 530 Brant Street, 574 Brant Street, 600 Brant Street, 612 Brant Street or 620 Brant Street from the Municipal Heritage Register if they do not qualify for heritage designation; and

Direct the Director of Community Planning to connect with the Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee to reconvene and review each property in the cultural landscapes to determine which should be added to the Municipal Register; and

Report back to the Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility Committee meeting on September 13, 2022.

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