How are potential Heritage Conservation Districts evaluated?

To define the significance of a potential Heritage Conservation District, the City has established cultural heritage value and integrity criteria based on Ontario Regulation 9/06. For a district to communicate its historic sense of time and place it must have cultural heritage values that identify it as a significant heritage area and it must possess sufficient integrity to communicate those values.

The Criteria for the determination of cultural heritage value are individually sufficient so that a district may qualify for designation by demonstrating significance under a single criterion. In all cases, more is learned by identifying multiple values where they exist, but this does not mean that districts with more than one cultural heritage value are more important than those with a singular cultural heritage value.

For information on how to apply the criteria, please see Section 7 of Heritage Conservation Districts in Toronto: Procedures, Policies and Terms of Reference.

The district has design value or physical value because it,

  • has a rare, unique, representative or early collection of a style, type, expression, material or construction method,
  • has a rare, unique, or representative layout, plan, landscape, or spatial organization,
  • displays a consistently high degree of overall craftsmanship, or artistic merit.


The district has historical value or associative value because it,

  • has direct associations with a theme, event, person, activity, organization or institution that is significant to a community,
  • yields, or has the potential to yield, information that contributes to an understanding of the history of a community or area,
  • demonstrates or reflects the work or ideas of a planner, architect, landscape architect, artist, builder, designer or theorist who is significant to a community.


The district has contextual value because it,

  • possesses a character that defines, maintains or supports the area’s history and sense of time and place,
  • contains resources that are interrelated by design, history, use and/or setting,
  • is defined by, planned around, or is a landmark.


The district has social value or community value because it,

  • yields information that contributes to the understanding of, supports, or maintains a community, culture or identity within the district,
  • is historically and/or functionally linked to a cultural group, an organized movement or ideology that is significant to a community,
  • plays a historic or ongoing role in the practice or recognition of religious, spiritual or sacred beliefs of a defined group of people that is significant to a community.


The district has natural value or scientific value because it,

  • has a rare, unique or representative collection of significant natural resources
  • represents, or is a result of, a significant technical or scientific achievement.


Integrity Criteria

The following two integrity criteria must be addressed to provide a basis for designation:

Visual, functional or historical coherence is reflected in the consistency of resources related to the cultural heritage values and character of the district. It can be determined by analyzing resources in a district to understand if there are common thematic, architectural or associative characteristics that unify, relate to, and communicate the cultural heritage values of the district.

Authenticity means that a district can convey its cultural heritage values through its authentic attributes. To be authentic a district should retain most of its original or appropriate materials, layout and structures related to its identified values. Where alterations and infill exist they are generally sensitive, compatible and reinforce the cultural heritage values of the district.

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