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Designated Properties

In Ontario communities, heritage is reflected in landmark buildings; small town main streets; historic neighbourhoods; scenic landscapes; archeological sites; special cultural places, including places of worship, cemeteries and aboriginal sites; and such unique structures as lighthouses, mills and barns. These heritage resources are irreplaceable.

The most effective means by which a municipality can protect heritage properties is to promote and recommend heritage designation. Designation of individual properties or whole Heritage Conservation Districts prevents the erosion of a municipality's cultural identity and demonstrates the community's role as temporary custodian or protector of these resources for future generations.

The Port of Goderich currently has three Heritage Conservation Districts and more than 40 individual Designated Properties. A commemorative bronze plaque is presented to the owner of each designated property and is often displayed at the site. The bylaw designating the property contains a Statement of Cultural Heritage Value (formerly Statement of Significance or Reason for Designation) which describes and lists the heritage attributes worth recognizing.

What does it mean to be Designated?

Heritage properties often hold value for a larger community than just the individual owners alone. That value can lie in architectural appearance, as has traditionally been believed, but it can also be an expression of value deriving from a property's association with an event or a person. More recently, heritage value has been attributed to natural features in a community as well.
Designation is a bylaw of Council setting out a formal expression of the community's interest in the preservation of a property by publicly recognizing the importance the community attaches to it. Council manages changes to designated properties through the Municipal and Marine Heritage Committee. Owners wishing to alter or demolish a designated building must apply for a Heritage Permit by submitting pertinent details on the Heritage Permit Application Form. The Heritage Committee works with the owner where necessary, to arrive at a recommendation for Council to consider in a timely manner.
Advantages of Designation:
  • Designated buildings have been shown to retain their value during periods of economic downturn better than non-designated properties.
  • Grants, interest-free and interest-reduced loans are available to owners of designated properties. Tax relief for heritage projects is available.
  • Conservation of heritage properties has less impact on the environment than new construction in terms of energy required, landfill and recycling of material.
  • Conserving a heritage property is a sustainable practice which is crucial for economic competitiveness.
  • Designating properties and/or restoring heritage buildings can increase tourism and create employment and income within the community.
  • Cultural or natural heritage features are community assets which give identity and distinctiveness to the community. Designation of these features recognizes how much the community appreciates these unique features.
  • Designation provides protection to the property from unsympathetic alteration or demolition. Alteration and even demolition can still occur but the designation agreement provides more time for appropriate alternatives to be discussed.
 Designation does NOT mean:
  • Designation does NOT restrict the owner's use of the property.
  • Designation does NOT require an owner to restore the building to its original condition or its appearance in an earlier time period.
  • Designation does NOT prevent change or development of a property.

Designation Brochure

The Designation Process       Heritage Designation Data Sheet Instruction Form

Municipal Register of Designated Properties (2015)

Heritage Tax Refund Program Guidelines

Heritage Tax Refund Program Application

Facade Restoration Loan Program

Goderich Heritage Enhancement Fund

Heritage Permits

A heritage permit is required to undertake changes to properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The legislation of the Ontario Heritage Act was designed by the Province of Ontario in order to provide citizens with the ability to protect and conserve cultural heritage properties and resources. The Town of Goderich has designated many individual sites and three Heritage Conservation Districts. This application process is intended to protect the character defining elements (heritage attributes) of a designated property. There is no cost for an application. Council approval, by way of the Municipal & Marine Heritage Committee, is required for any alterations to the property which may affect its heritage attributes.

For more details, please consult the Heritage Permit Kit Guide and Application.

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Goderich Town Hall: 57 West Street, Goderich, ON N7A 2K5, Phone: 519-524-8344, Email:
Tourism Goderich: Phone: 519-524-6600, Toll-Free: 1-800-280-7637, Email:

By GHD Digital