What is Heritage Centre Wellington?
Heritage Centre Wellington is an official advisory committee of the Municipal Council of the Township of Centre Wellington. It consists of citizen representatives appointed by the Township of Centre Wellington Council to advise Council on all matters concerning heritage as legislated by the Ontario Heritage Act.
What is Designation?
Designation is a legal process under the Ontario Heritage Act that gives a property a special status. Designation is registered on the title of the property when the process is complete. Heritage Centre Wellington assists the owner in obtaining a plaque denoting the property's heritage status. At all stages of the process, the owner retains control of the property.
Designation is a tangible way for the owner to express pride in the heritage nature of the property. From the community's point of view, designation protects and preserves its architectural history.
Guidelines for Designation
Designation is not a scientific process requiring adherence to a fixed set of criteria. Rather, it is a collective judgement of the members of Heritage Centre Wellington following a number of well-established characteristics. Some of these are:
- The age of the building;
- The building exemplifies a particular building type, style or period;
- The building is the work of a prominent early architect or builder;
- The building played a role in an important historic event;
- The building is associated with the life of a prominent member of the community;
- The building is unique;
- The capacity for public use;
- The size of the building is not a factor in determining whether it should be designated.
The primary purpose of this website is to highlight our inventory of designated heritage buildings. Heritage Centre Wellington considers designation as an award, a recognition of the quality of a building, and it also carries some minimal legal obligations to conserve the building.
Advantages of Designating Property
Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of the advantages of heritage designation and this may result in unwarranted apprehensions about designating one's property. Heritage designation is the result of a local community process, involving the Township of Centre Wellington's Heritage Committee applying established criteria for natural, scientific, cultural and historic assets.
Our heritage is a precious resource, a cultural or natural asset often visible to everyone which gives identity and distinctiveness to a community. Designation is a tangible expression by the community of their appreciation of the value of special properties or events.
Designation does not restrict the use of the property, but the protection it affords may prevent unsympathetic changes or delay demolition while practical options are explored and advice provided.
Research has shown over the years that designation has not adversely affected property values; in fact, it has shown that heritage buildings have been less affected where there has been a general downturn in property values.
Designation of heritage properties enhances community renewal and development objectives and contributes to local quality of life and economic development. The greatest significance of the designatio of property is the knowledge that the designation will follow the property regardless of owner, thus providing assurance that the heritage value will continue to be respected and available for appreciation for future generations.
Conservation of designated property has less impact on the environment than new construction in terms of energy required for renovation, landfill requirements and the recycling of materials.
Heritage Centre Wellington
1 MacDonald Square
Elora, Ontario, N0B 1S0
Ontario Heritage Act
Ministry of Culture