Draft Notes – For Student Use 1
Heritage, Legislation and Re-use
Carleton University, January 2013
CONTENTS • The “Development” Dimension
• The “Elite” Dimension
• Buildings and “Environment” • Positioning
• 20,000 Years of Canadian Built Heritage • The Dilemma of the Three Pillars
• Arrival of Provincial Policy • “Conserving” Assets – or Capitalizing on Them?
• Where is Policy for Existing Buildings? • Recap: What Does Heritage Do?
• The Heritage Response • The Tax Backdrop
• Criteria and their Interpretation • What Comes Next?ge Do On-Site?
• Guiding Documents • Conclusion
Introduction – Environment
The words "environment" and "nature" are both important – but not the same. "Environment" means where you are, not where
you aren't. And for the last several thousand years, the "habitat" of people has been in buildings. The city itself is the human
"environment" – and at this instant, our "environment" consists of walls and floors and ceilings.
Since this is an environment created by humans, nothing in this environment happened by chance: it all had a cause. Some
even has a meaning. For example, I’ve been invited here to chew the fat – meaning what? In the Middle Ages, prosperous hosts
made a point of hanging out their meat in front of their guests (usually a slab of bacon, partly as a status symbol), so when the
guest arrived, we could “chew the fat”. But let’s get more specific, e.g. your room. You may think that since time immemorial,
people had a room. Not true: medieval Europe didn't have houses divided into rooms.
Take the romantic thatched cottage. That straw roof was the often the only place for animals to get warm – including rodents and
birds. So cats wound up there too. In heavy rain, the straw became slippery, and they could slip and fall out. Hence the saying,
"It's raining cats and dogs." There was also nothing to stop things from falling on you inside the house, like bugs and rodents. So
people equipped beds with posts and a sheet hung over the top, for protection – the origin of canopy beds.
That brings me to myth #1: Canada has no architectural history. A person could easily get the impression that older buildings
never existed here. Don't be fooled: Canada is the only country whose name means "the place of the buildings". And we’ve had
urban policies for a long time. Building permits in Quebec date from the 1680's (so the governor could veto homes built in the
line of fire of his cannon). Canada's first zoning was enacted in Louisbourg in 1721 (to reserve the harbour area for port uses; it
was repealed within a year, as "unfair to tavern-keepers"). Canada's first building code dates from the French regime in 1727
(and banned that quintessentially French architectural flourish, the mansard roof, as a fire hazard).
Background: 20,000 Years of Canadian Housing etc.
Where does our story really begin? The house of Pierre Dugua deMons, in France, is where he set up a company with investors:
deMons would be chairman of the board of la compagnie du Canada (the Canada Company); the CEO would be one Samuel de
Champlain. Canada, as we know it, was started by developers.
That's not to suggest there weren't lots of interesting dwellings before then. Canada's first known home dates back about 20,000
years: the Bluefish Caves in Yukon are a comfortable model of cave, with about 20 square metres (200 square feet), split into
three rooms by Mother Nature. The peoples of the plains developed the tipi, Canada's first mobile home, some as high as a 2½
storey building. Central B.C. had wooden pyramids, believed to be Canada's oldest housing style – so old, in fact, that some
scholars think it originated in Siberia. People got in and out via a ladder in the chimney. Canada's first officially-named "monster
house" was built by the Haida. Inuit had many models of igloos for winter housing (some over 20 metres across). But for most of
the year, medieval Inuit lived in houses of stone and sod, with beams and furniture from whales. Inuit also invented Canada's
first window, made of stretched seal guts.
Champlain arrived in Port Royal in 1604. He was a better geographer than a developer: his plans were out of scale and his roofs
leaked. Unfortunately, in 1613, our neighbours to the south conducted a pre-emptive attack, and burned it to the ground. Port
Royal saw Canada's first major theft of building materials, when they yanked out and stole all of Champlain's nails. But the
colonies grew. Both New France and the rest of Canada trace their construction technology to northwestern Europe where,
during the Middle Ages, houses were assembled with large timbers. But when people like Champlain brought this technology to
Canada, they ran into a problem. Insulating material fell out from between the vertical timbers, so builders started laying timbers
horizontally instead, sealing them together with "chinking", made mainly from cow manure.
In 1763, the British conquest produced Canada's first major conversion of measurement, from pre-metric "French feet" to
"English feet". That caused confusion, and one jurist wrote a scholarly article entitled L'inconvenient d'avoir deux pieds, "The
Inconvenience of Having Two Feet". Log cabins were Canada's affordable housing. But in the early 1800's, the rich of the British Draft Notes – For Student Use 2
Empire were inspired by neo-classical imitations of Roman temples. Styles from India were also very fashionable: so builders
borrowed one with a Hindustani name meaning "from Bengal" – "bungalow".
In the mid-19th century, "Italianate" style became fashionable, soon followed by "Gothic revival". In housing, this variation wound
up with as much bargeboard (“gingerbread”) as possible. In our climate, technological innovation focused on heat and light.
Canadian Abraham Gesner invented kerosene lighting. Another novelty was electrical power. Some results are well-known, like
the telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell of Brantford. Some are less well-known. Henry Woodward and Thomas
Evans of Toronto patented the lightbulb, which they sold to Thomas Edison. It was in Ottawa, in 1892, that Thomas Ahearn
dished up the world's first all-electrically cooked meals. Thomas Carbide Wilson of Ottawa perfected acetylene. Other Canadian
inventions included the paint roller, the square-headed screw, the ardox nail, the caulking gun, acrylic and plexiglass. Another
Canadian, J.J. Wright, is credited with the world's first electrical appliance – a coffee grinder in 1881 – even if it did explode and
cover everyone in coffee. Fortunately, baths were becoming commonplace; showers followed, although some "experts"
predicted instant asphyxiation. The flush toilet was perfected by Englishman Thomas Crapper. Another invention was the
automobile; the French wanted shelters for when vehicles needed to be "garé " or "parked"; but they had no word for these
shelters, so they simply called them "the parking" – le garage. By the 1920s, everything was supposed to be "streamlined" for
aerodynamics – cars, toasters, appliances, even buildings.
Arrival of the OMB and Provincial Policy
The Ontario Municipal Board was launched in 1906 to resolve disputes about municipal railways and finance. In the late 1940’s,
the Province added land-use controls to that mandate, under the Planning Act, and that mandate has been evolving ever since.
• The role of the OMB was not to make policy (Members of the Board aren’t even bound by each other’s decisions);
• it was to interpret policy, and where necessary,
• to give effect to policy.
The Province refers to its planning framework as a “policy-led planning system”. Leading policies don’t originate at the OMB, but
elsewhere – notably in Official Plans, and increasingly, in Provincial policies. The Province has several categories of key
documents: there are the statutes themselves, like the Planning Act, the Ontario Heritage Act, the Aggregate Resources Act etc.
The Province also has an important document called the Provincial Policy Statement, or PPS. It’s the law, in Ontario, that
municipal and OMB decisions “shall be consistent” with this document.
There are also "Growth Plans", by the Ministry of Infrastructure. The first was for Toronto and perimeter, to about an hour’s
distance. That Growth Plan is geared to an expected metropolis which, within the next 20 years, will have 11.5 million people, in
an area roughly from here to Georgian Bay, and from Peterborough to Waterloo.
Niagara) and local governments (like the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake) also have their own municipal Official Plan ("OP”).on of
Municipalities in Ontario are required to update their OP every 5 years. OP's are also required, by law, to go through a public
consultation process, before final adoption by Council. So there are Plans, Plans, and more Plans. Once Provincial documents
and OP's take effect, these become the primary criteria on which the OMB must base its decisions on planning matters.
That brings me to Myth #2 – that the decision-making process about real estate in Ontario is discretionary – i.e., that municipal
Councils enact or repeal land-use controls on a whim -- subject only to the OMB, which operates equally on a whim. That’s not
the system. Sometimes, the OMB finds a zoning By-law improper – for contradicting the PPS or the OP. The job is to give effect
to the planning documents. Let's remember: it was Council that passed the OP in the first place, and once in effect, it's supposed
to be enforced. If an Official Plan isn't enforced by the OMB, then it would be enforced by the courts (as in some other
provinces, at many times the cost), or it wouldn't be enforced at all, which isn't much of a "planning" system.
Public Policy for Existing Buildings?
But although Canada – and the OMB – have a long history of public policy on what to build, how about public policy on what’s
already been built? Canada has over 10 million buildings, including about three quarters of a million century homes. Ontario has
350,000 dwellings built before 1920, and 677,000 built before 1945.
The rehabilitation (“rehab”) of such buildings is also a nationally significant industry. Canadians spend $4 to $5 billion per year
on improving century homes. It’s an important branch of the $53 billion residential renovation industry, which, economically, is a
more important form of “development” than new residential construction. Canada spends about $1.25 on improving existing
dwellings, for every dollar that it spent on building new ones.
But until relatively recently, Canada destroyed so many buildings that one third of Canadian landfill deposits was composed of
“used construction material”. Today, it’s down to one fifth, but it’s still mountainous. Why is so much of our built environment
winding up in landfill, instead of being re-used and improved? Humanity has been repairing its buildings for millenia; and we
didn’t need government policies to tell people to keep buildings in good repair. People did so, for the most elementary economic
reason: because it was cheaper to fix than to start over. Before World War II, Canada had no exorbitant demolition boom. So
That brings us to Myth No. 3: blame it on “the development process”. It’s the supposed nemesis of heritage; but Governmental
policy is its longstanding friend. In the 1970’s, the then head of the Heritage Canada Foundation, R.A.J. Phillips, wrote that the Draft Notes – For Student Use 3
demanded a response, composed of "Three Pillars":sically slanted against older buildings, and there was a policy vacuum that
• First, he said Canada should identify the properties of cultural value -- perhaps 1-2% of the building stock, and
segregate them from the other 98% (to be abandoned to the ravages of "natural" development).
• The second "pillar" was to ask government officials to regulate the selected heritage properties, to force owners to do
what they wouldn't do "normally".
• The third pillar was to ask governments for economic incentives, to compensate for the intrinsically uneconomical
status of heritage (compared to "normal" development).
More about the "policy vacuum" in a moment. As for the "friends of heritage" in architecture and government, a different theory is
that the threat to older buildings came from the architects themselves. In the 1920's, one group of European architects was
referred to in architecture textbooks as the "Heroic Modernists", not only because they built in a different stripped-down style, but
because they declared all their predecessors beneath contempt. Their own style was "illuminated by reason, and ventilated by
justice" – the only style entitled to be called "Modern" (according to some, it was the only thing worthy of being called a "style").
This architecture, said Walter Gropius, was "the supreme custodian of civilization, and the source of all progress". This wasn't a
matter of taste or opinion: dealing with other styles was a breach of the "laws of design", and an act of "dishonesty". Previous
architecture was a "source of shame". The education of previous architects was "perverted"; and anyone who liked
ornamentation was "either a criminal or a pathological case".
The prescription was architectural extermination. During World War II, the Journal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
listed buildings it most wanted to see bombed (London's Albert Hall and Regent Street were numbers 1 and 2). The Principal of
McGill University told an enthusiastic audience of architects at the time that it was:
finished, (Canadians will) wipe (them) out from one end of this Dominion to the other, in order that you may rebuild effectively."
supposed to look like. In this Futurama exhibit, downtowns would be entirely redeveloped, with Modernist highrises, woventy was
together with freeways and parking lots (Futurama was presented by General Motors). The Journal of the Royal Architectural
Institute of Canada illustrated a “House of the Future” for all Canadians – a plastic cube, mass-produced on an assembly line (if
consumers worried that plastic is combustible, or cold in our climate, the Journal replied that the house would be made of the
best new industrial materials, namely a plasticized combination of asbestos and ureaformaldehyde).
But these were still only architectural theories. What really made a difference was Black Friday, 1929. The Depression
convinced many economists that unless industrial civilization routinely threw away most of its assets, society would inevitably
encounter periods of over-supply and economic catastrophe. That theory was later given a name, by Time Magazine, in 1956:
"Planned Obsolescence" (which was repudiated only in 1987, at the Brundtland Commission, mentioned later). But as of the late
1930's, architects prepared to cleanse cities of their perverted past, and economists planned to support them.
One economist who despised earlier urbanization (it didn't symbolize industrialization) was W. Clifford Clark, advisor to Prime
Minister Mackenzie King. He denounced the "localized, handicraft processes" which characterized Canadian cities up to his
time, and their "wasteful methods of land utilization". Worst of all, he said, it looked like the same urbanization that "catered to
our forefathers prior to the Industrial Revolution." Clark said urban development should instead be modeled on the car industry.
But Clark was no theorist; he was the official who drafted the Income Tax Act during World War II. He structured it so that it
• ignored repairs;
• presumed that buildings depreciated at breakneck speed, almost as fast as cars;
• and it reserved the best tax treatment of structures for demolition -- even better than donating a building to charity.
Some of these outdated principles still underlie Canada's tax system today.
Ontario followed, by slanting property taxes to favour parking lots. As of 2002 in Ottawa, for example,
• if four properties had identical assessments (an apartment building, a store, a factory, and a parking lot),
• the parking lot would pay the lowest property taxes per dollar of evaluation -- modestly lower than the apartments, but
35% lower than the store, and 44% below the factory.
• If you capitalized the tax savings, it was the equivalent of a grant worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Public policy problems for existing buildings continue to this day. Take façadism, which refers to keeping the façade of a
building, and scrapping the rest. There's a federal GST incentive (the "Substantial Renovation" Tax Rebate), available to
residential projects, on condition that at least 90% of the non-structural elements be destroyed. A developer can be disqualified
from the tax rebate, for not producing enough demolition waste.
The tax measures produced Clark's intended result. From the 1950's to the 1990's, about one third of all Canadian landfill
deposits was composed of "used construction material". This was no "policy vacuum": from at least 1938, it was entirely
intentional. Government policy didn't stop there. To this day, public sector policies are the least favourable toward leasing or
occupying rehabilitated buildings. Even the heritage officials of the federal and provincial Governments, who advocate for older
buildings, don't work in one. Another example: in Ontario, there is one level of Provincial support for school repairs; but if the
School Board promises to destroy the existing school and replace it, it gets substantially more dollars per student. Draft Notes – For Student Use 4
solutions for safety in existing buildings -- although Canada's 2005 National Building Code is making improvements.te
With that combined onslaught, it’s amazing anything survived. But the most important side-effect was this. For decades, the
skills involved in repair and rehabilitation fell into disuse. Canada not only forgot how to use them: training programs, on how to
fix anything, were non-existent. Until the 1990's, not one architecture school in Canada taught repairs as part of the core
curriculum (most architects have never had a single course in fixing anything). Perhaps more importantly, developers didn't have
any exposure to investing in older buildings either.
The Heritage Response
So for decades, rehab of older buildings was not ignored by public policy: it was consciously discouraged. The building stock
was expendable. What was the public response to the resulting demolition spree? In the age of planned obsolescence, there
wasn't any – almost. No one was then speaking about "re-use", or any other "sustainability" issue. But one handful of people
didn't want to part with the old stuff – or at least, not so much of it, as long as it had a pedigree, and a vintage. This was the
heritage community, and at the urging of people like Phillips, it wanted a system to regulate at least a handful of demolitions, and
to subsidize a handful of rehabilitations.
The first known Heritage Act dates from the Roman Emperor Majorian in 457 AD, with a permit sthtem to protect properties, like
the Ontario Heritage Act today. Most European countries had heritage laws by the early 20 century. On this side of the pond,
Charleston introduced the first historic district zoning in 1931 -- quite the zoning by-law -- what you might call Überzoning.
A turning point occurred in 1972, with a treaty from UNESCO. Canada signed this "World Heritage Convention" in 1976.
Québec City, or Lunenburg Nova Scotia), one key feature is its imposition of legal obligations on Member-States – the mostnal,
authoritative international checklist of what's expected from government heritage policy.
As usual for that era, the Convention referred to "protection"; but that objective wasn't alone, nor did it take precedence over
other stated objectives, notably:
• to "give ... heritage a function in the life of the community",
• to "take the appropriate legal... administrative and financial measures necessary" for that purpose, and
• to integrate heritage "into comprehensive planning programs".
So it's not correct, according to the treaty, that once a property has been "protected", the job's over, and the objective of such
initiatives has been exhausted. The job isn't finished, until the property has a proper "function in the life of the community", which
is acknowledged in the relevant "comprehensive planning programs". That means not only that the planning process is
supposed to kick in, but that just keeping the building standing isn't enough. The response, in the international heritage
community, was to pursue "conservation" -- a word which, in heritage textbooks, had long included various kinds of active work
like repair, and rehab activities to bring properties up to code standards etc.
But the general public didn't necessarily understand that word the same way. Many thought (and still think) that "conserving
heritage" is like "conserving food", like shrink-wrapping it or freezing it; or maybe it's like "conserving nature", meaning "Hands
off!" The ecological analogy had another impact. According to the methodology at the time, if there was a significant feature of
natural heritage, the operative word was "preserve", i.e. geographically to surround it with a legal barrier (which might even be
called "a preserve"). Inside, the feature was "preserved", or "conserved", or "protected"; outside, it was Open Season as usual.
With "cultural property", the thinking was the same, i.e. to draw lines on a map; inside would be "protected"; outside would
remain Open Season. Überzoning. Heritage properties would be the architectural counterpart of a Game Preserve.
The Heritage of the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA)
In Ontario, the impetus started in Kingston, which obtained special legislation to prevent demolition. Then in the 1970’s, the
Province produced draft legislation similar to other provinces. In Quebec, Alberta, B.C. and some other provinces, there were
two levels of heritage designation: a Provincial level, and a Municipal level. In the first draft, Ontario would have a system of
Provincial designations, like other provinces, where designated properties enjoyed indefinite protection against demolition; plus,
there would be a system of Municipal designations, where protection against demolition was temporary.
But Provincial designation was voted down in caucus. For some 30 years, Ontario was the only Province with no system of
Provincial designations, and no system to confer indefinite protection on buildings against demolition, short of expropriation. The
Ontario Heritage Act was also the only statute in Canada where procedures to line up approvals to rehabilitate a heritage
building were more cumbersome than those to demolish it.
On another front, the 1975 Act specified two basic targets for heritage designations:
• individually-designated properties,
• or properties designated in a district.
Heritage districts are different: there, the issue is less about the individual buildings, than in how they fit together. The 1975 Act
also regulated two distinct classes of activities:
• and demolition. Draft Notes – For Student Use 5
The resulting permutations and combinations still exist today. The Act also continued the Ontario Heritage Foundation (created
in 1967, now called the Ontario Heritage Trust), and it created the Conservation Review Board ("CRB").
From the outset, the Act had several appeal systems, sort of. After a Municipal Council designated an individual property, the
owner could object, to the CRB. The CRB would then reach a Decision -- but that Decision wasn't binding, it was simply advisory
– to the same Municipal Council that designated the property in the first place (and then decided whether to continue or not).
Not many owners objected, for a more fundamental reason. If the owner applied to demolish, Council had 90 days to render a
Decision. If it said yes, protection would lapse immediately. If it said no, protection would lapse in 180 days. The owner simply
had to wait the 180 days, at which point the right to demolish became absolute, whether Council liked it or not.
The approval procedure was slightly different for a Heritage Conservation District. First, the paperwork for municipalities was the
most complex in Canada. Second, no district designation took effect without approval of the OMB. Finally, much like individual
designations, if the owner submitted an Application to Demolish, a Municipality could stall for 180-270 days, but after that time,
the right to demolish became absolute.
The 1975 Act didn't sweep through Ontario’s 350,000 dwellings built by 1920, and 677,000 built by 1945. As of 2005, there were
5000 designated buildings (residential AND non-residential) on the Ministry's database. Even allowing for miscounting, and
adding all the buildings in Ontario's Heritage Conservation Districts, the total would account for only 2% of Ontario's century-old
was (designated properties were usually those with the highest profile), it was little guarantee of anything. In Richmond Hill, 441s
properties were designated, then 86 were destroyed anyway (20%). In Scarborough, 17% of designated properties were
In response, the Act was tinkered with. District designations no longer automatically required a hearing at the OMB – if nobody
objected. However, more fundamental amendments occurred in 2005.
• Municipal protection was no longer temporary, for180 days. Protection could be indefinite.
• However, if the Municipality rejected the owner's Application to Demolish, the owner could appeal to the OMB.
• The new Act also introduced "Heritage Conservation District Plans".
These are not the same as Planning Act plans, like an OP. The OHA says they include,
• a statement of objectives;
• a statement of "cultural heritage value or interest" for the district;
• a description of "heritage attributes";
• policy statements, guidelines and procedures; and
• a description of alterations that can be carried out without a heritage permit under the Act.
After the property has been designated, and the time to object or appeal has elapsed, what happens, if someone wants to do a
Demolition can't occur without special Municipal permission -- subject to appeal.anning Act and the Building Code Act.
Alterations are more complicated. Let’s go back to the original designation process for a moment. The 1975 Act said that back
when a Municipality proposed designating a property or a district, it had to write down its "Reasons for Designation". These are
now called the "Heritage Attributes", but the requirement to commit them to writing is similar. One potential benefit of a skillfully-
crafted statement of "Attributes", is that it can signal what the Municipality wants to fast-track -- like upgrading plumbing, or
repointing masonry, or yanking out Knob & Tube wiring. It's like a pre-approval.
If alteration on an individually-designated property doesn't "affect" these heritage attributes, then it doesn't need permission under
the Act. The same applies in heritage districts, for work foreseen in the Heritage District Plan. The rules are different when
alterations do affect these heritage attributes: that work has to be municipally approved under the Act, again subject to appeal. If
alteration is refused, then the owner's recourses mirror what happens after designations: if the property was individually-designated,
the owner has 30 days to refer it back to the CRB again. If it was proposed in a district, appeals go to the OMB. But if a demolition is
refused, whether individually-designated or in a district, then within 30 days, the appeal goes to the OMB.
Board Decisions, in turn, can be challenged. A dissatisfied party can seek Leave to Appeal to the Divisional Court on an error of
Section 43 of the Ontario Municipal Board Act, to the OMB's Chair, requesting that the case be reviewed.ssatisfied party can apply, under
Criteria and their Interpretation
On what objective criteria are these various decisions made? The process is not usually supposed to be discretionary. In
planning matters, the Board relies on criteria spelled out in places like the PPS and Official Plans.
Since time immemorial, most societies have had objective ways to determine whether to proceed with real estate development
or not. But in the OHA, the new Section 34.1 specified the owner's right of appeal to the Board – without specifying the criteria
on which the Board was expected to render its Decision. So how's the Board supposed to assess an Application to Demolish?
For appeals under the OHA, there's no straight answer -- yet. Draft Notes – For Student Use 6
In contrast, for appeals under the Planning Act, there are definite criteria, starting with the PPS, which mentions heritage:
"Significant built heritage resources and significant cultural heritage landscapes shall be conserved". That may look impressive;
but the PPS contains dozens of other policies, some of which are said to conflict. For example, the PPS directs planning
authorities to "identify and promote opportunities for intensification, and redevelopment". In fact, the PPS says so many times.
"Intensification" usually means increasing density on-site; and "redevelopment" means creating new units or uses on lands
already developed. Some developers have argued that maintaining the modest scale of heritage properties and districts offends
this repeated provincial directive. But the PPS definitions say that many activities which are welcome on heritage properties, like
adaptive re-use, are also considered "intensification” (called "conversions").
Almost as important as what the PPS contains is what it doesn't. One is the issue of urban sustainability. In 1987, the Brundtland
Commission called on the world to extend the life expectancy of everything it produced, in the name of sustainability. Since a city is
the largest tangible object that a civilization produces, the international community deduced that if civilization could reuse items as
small as pop bottles and tin cans, it should reuse items as large as buildings, neighborhoods and cities, including the fabric of cities
– their walls, ceilings, whatever, instead of sending them to landfill. In 1996, the Habitat II Conference in Istanbul outlined objectives,
to re-use buildings, not just for narrow heritage reasons, but for broader sustainability reasons.
focuses on construction "requiring approval under the Planning Act". Most rehab doesn't "require approval under the Planningat it
Act", so someone apparently figured it didn't need to be prominently mentioned. But since it wasn't prominently mentioned, that
can cause confusion. For starters, the official plans of several major cities in Ontario ignore repair, renovation and rehab
altogether, even though these activities generate more construction investment than new building.
And it doesn't end there. Many official plans in Ontario call for "design excellence", or "architectural quality". There have been
countless instances, in hearings, of "architectural experts" lining up to testify that one can choose between heritage on one
hand, or architectural excellence on the other (the teachings of the Heroic Modernists); but that the two are mutually
contradictory. For example, at a Board hearing on a Heritage Conservation District in Toronto's prestigious North Rosedale,
three architects -- including one of Canada's most famous – denounced the designation. They said there were perhaps four
worthwhile buildings – the four Modernist ones – but the rest, in the words of one "architectural expert", lacked "integrity".
Architects, however, are not the most frequent expert witnesses at the OMB: planners are. This is important, because in a court-
like setting, the process relies heavily on expert testimony, and planners are there to outline what planning documents are
relevant to the case, and to offer opinions on how to interpret them.
properties: the expertise which defines what heritage is (like architectural historians), and the expertise that knows what to do
with it. The first, about historic and architectural merit, falls squarely within the realm of the CRB. What about the second? What
should be done with heritage? That is where availability of expertise is a problem.
The Canadian Renovators' Council includes some of Canada's top rehab developers and entrepreneurs. Almost none of its
business people relied on school-trained experts. They relied on those who became experts by experience, not training. There
are, however, new courses, which is an improvement.
The Code situation is also improving. In the late 1990s, the National Research Council undertook to create a new "Objective-
based Code". The difference with older codes is this:
• instead of simply prescribing one construction approach (like: "The stairwell will have the following measurements, and
be built of the following materials"),
• each section of the new code would begin with a statement of intent (like: "The stairwell will withstand a fire for X minutes
whilepeoplegetout").Thecodewouldthenoutline examples ofhowtoachievethatobjective(liketheoldcodeprovisions);
• but then (and this is the difference), the code would specifically point out that if there were alternate ways of achieving
the same objective (like sprinklering the stairwell), this would also be acceptable.
The objective-based National Building Code came out in 2005, and it's now changing provincial codes.
Since criteria are supposed to be based on formal policies, what documents provide direction? Our first source on heritage is the
OHA and its Regulations. In the case of Tremblay v. Lakeshore, the Divisional Court added: "The purpose of the Act is to
provide for the conservation, protection and preservation of the heritage of Ontario. In order to protect the heritage of Ontario,
municipalities have been given the power to designate the properties of their choice and to suspend certain private property
rights. Those provisions of the act must be applied in such a way as to ensure the attainment of the Legislature's objectives....
The very purpose of the Act must be to balance the interests of the public, the community and the owner".
In terms of legal authority, there's also the treaty, the World Heritage Convention. However, it does not say very much about how
to deal with individual sites in Ontario. There's the PPS, mentioned earlier – assuming there's a Planning Act connection. Also,
some Official Plans may have things to say, if they're relevant. Then there are Provincial documents that are less official than
Statutes, Regulations, and the PPS. For example, the Ministry of Culture has been producing texts like the Ontario Heritage
Toolkit, and although it only contains Guidelines, there is a substantial amount of good information. Draft Notes – For Student Use 7
Federal documents are used less often; but there's one exception. Several years ago, the federal government launched a
program called the Historic Places Initiative (HPI); its methodology helped standardize approaches in all ten provinces,
concerning the identification and management of designated heritage properties. In the HPI system, there's a notation to identify,
for every designated property, its "character-defining elements" (a bit like the "Heritage Attributes"). There's a federal publication,
entitled the Historic Places Initiative Standards And Guidelines, which then recommends approaches on how to deal with those
elements – the leading text on the subject.
Also consider the "Reasons for Designation", now call