January 2015

OHA+M is an award-winning blog about the Ontario Heritage Act, heritage policy in Ontario and related topics. New posts monthly. Comments on posts and suggestions for new posts are most welcome! All posts copyright © 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Dan Schneider. To subscribe to OHA+M, on the menu to the left, click on "Subscribe to OHA+M" under "Blog".

The Ontario Heritage Act (OHA): What the courts have to say (part five) ... or, the heritage "roadmap"

Low-rise garden apartment complex.

Today’s case, another from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), is from 2010. In ADMS Kelvingrove Investment Corporation v. City of Toronto we see an important evolution in the Board’s understanding and enunciation of its role when confronted on appeal with the all too common face-off between heritage and development/intensification.

The Ontario Heritage Act (OHA): What the courts have to say (part four) ... or, to move or not to move?

A two storey cottage with a chimney.

From Port Dalhousie last time we go across Lake Ontario to the old village of Bronte in Oakville and another Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) case about a mammoth lakeshore development with impacts on heritage: Birchgrove Estates Inc. v. Town of Oakville.

This one is a particular favourite… and you’ll see why. But first, a little build-up.

The Ontario Heritage Act (OHA): what the courts have to say (part three) ... or, Port Dalhousie blues

A rendering of a new condo tower on the port.

This time it’s not the courts but that powerful court-like tribunal, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

Reviled in some circles and respected (often grudgingly) in others, the OMB generally has not endeared itself to heritage folks. We’ll look at one of the reasons why: its decision on a tower development in Port Dalhousie, the old canal village on Lake Ontario in St. Catharines.

The Ontario Heritage Act (OHA): what the courts have to say (part two) ... or, getting pushy about designation

A historic franco-ontarian church in St. Joachim.

We’re looking at heritage-related jurisprudence — decisions by the courts, Ontario Municipal Board and Conservation Review Board about the Ontario Heritage Act.

The Ontario Heritage Act (OHA): what the courts have to say (part one) ... or, when moveables become immoveables

The inside of Andrews Jeweller store in the old days.

Our topic for today — please don’t be scared away —

Is what the courts have had to say…

about the O-H-A.

AKA jurisprudence: how the courts and, from a wider perspective, our regulatory tribunals — the Ontario Municipal Board and the Conservation Review Board — have interpreted the Act and its regulations.

The churches versus Bill 60

Okay, deep breath…

In this country the separation of church and state is a given — even if the two occasionally find themselves at odds. Unlike earlier times when the “established church” exerted a domineering influence on government policy, today it is usually the government that is accused of trespassing on matters of faith and trampling religious freedoms. The current controversy in Ontario over a new sex-ed curriculum in schools is one example. The wearing of the niqab at citizenship ceremonies and in the public service, now (shamefully) a hot-button federal election issue, is another.

What to do about churches? (part three)

Stained glass dome on the ceiling.

There’s something else about churches…

Back to basics for a minute. Built heritage conservation is not supposed to be about use (as long as there is a viable one of course!). So whether an old factory is used for its original industrial purpose, adapted for commercial use or turned into chic condos is all the same — right? — provided its heritage features are identified and respected along the way. Heritage is about the fabric or “bricks-and-mortar,” the physical features of the place; while what takes place within/on that fabric/property — the way it is used — is pretty much irrelevant.

What to do about churches? (part two)

Building entrance to Shaar Hashomayim building in Windsor.

We’ve been talking about churches — or more broadly, places of worship of all descriptions — and wondering how public policy should respond to the conservation dilemma they pose. But first we need to better understand their special circumstances.

What to do about churches? (part one)

A colourful stain glass.

The beautiful country churches we saw on the tour last time are not listed or designated under the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA). Interestingly, however, St. Patrick’s, Kinkora, is designated as one of seven “cultural heritage locations” under the County of Perth’s Official Plan.

Churches -- a country tour

Rose window stained glass.

Another Ontario heritage anniversary. Forty years ago, in 1975, Marion MacRae and Anthony Adamson published their groundbreaking Hallowed Walls: Church Architecture of Upper Canada.

Protecting municipally-owned heritage (part two)

The old Kitchener town hall in black and white.

When we looked at the need for policies to protect heritage property owned by the province, we saw that the demolition of the old lunatic asylum in Toronto in 1976 was perhaps a watershed moment (see “Policies for the protection of provincially-owned property (part one)”, from May 31, 2015).

Protecting municipally-owned heritage (part one)

A circular one-storey building.

How much of our heritage is in municipal ownership? Think about it — historic city/town halls, libraries, museums, parks, cemeteries (lots!), war memorials. Public Utility Commission (PUC) and like buildings. And most bridges. Don’t forget roads. What else?

Carnegie libraries, our communities' public buildings... and Alice Munro?

Library building from 1909.

This rambling “policy story” begins in my hometown of Milverton, Ontario, north of Stratford — on the edge, as I now like to say, of Alice Munro Country. And speaking of things literary, like many small and not-so-small towns Milverton has a Carnegie library.

Ontario Place — a special place... and case!

Ontario Place.

First, before heading on down to the Lake Ontario waterfront, some context. My two previous posts tell the story of how Ontario ended up with a different protection regime for cultural heritage property in the hands of the Crown. Provincial standards and guidelines, developed and made mandatory under Part III.1 of the Ontario Heritage Act, now apply to all provincial ministries, as well as to other “public bodies” prescribed in regulation. To keep things clear, the designation regime under Parts IV and V of the Act does not apply to these public owners.

Policies for the conservation of provincially-owned property (part two)

The cover of Standards & Guidelines for Conservation of Provincial Heritage Properties.

As we saw last time, the 1975 Ontario Heritage Act made no provision for the protection of provincially owned heritage property. Bilateral agreements had been struck between the culture ministry and a few of the main property-owning ministries and, later, the Crown agency that was created to manage much of the government’s property — the Ontario Realty Corporation. But these arrangements were limited in their scope and certainly in their clout.

Policies for the conservation of provincially-owned property (part one)

A painting of a huge lunatic asylum.

[T]he biggest battle for the forces of heritage in the mid-1970s was against an arm of the provincial government itself, and it was a battle that was lost.

The "black baby book" at 25

The book cover of A Strategy for Conserving Ontario’s Heritage.

The heritage movement in this province has been around long enough now — we should have some good, thoughtful writing about what it is, where it came from and where it’s going. But this seems in short supply. Or maybe it's just hard to find.

PJS, great old sh*t

It's late April and the 2015 Ontario Heritage Conference is coming up fast. This year, it's Niagara-on-the-Lake's turn to host. I was asked to put together an article about it for the local paper, the Niagara Advance.

In writing about Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO), as it's now known, which with Community Heritage Ontario first started the Ontario Heritage Conference in 2004, I knew I had to mention Peter John Stokes, who had a very long and close association with both ACO and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

A tale of two parts: Part IVs in Part Vs

This is a bit tricky.

The original Ontario Heritage Act (OHA) prohibited Individual (Part IV) designations in a (Part V) district. As far as I can tell, the reason for this was that property owners should not be subject to two designation regimes — both of which were new in 1975 — applying to the same property. But since Part IV designations took off much sooner than Part Vs, which were slow to be embraced by municipalities, the result over the years was that municipalities wanting an Heritage Conservation District (HCD) were often faced with the choice of repealing existing individual designations to clear the way for a district, or of having “holes” in the district where district plans and controls would not apply.

Provincial designation -- boon or bust? (part three)

Old and abandoned corner office building.

In 2007 the province came that close to designating the Lister Block in downtown Hamilton.

The case pitted then-Culture Minister Caroline Di Cocco against Hamilton Mayor Larry Di Ianni and his council who were determined to okay demolition of the building. The Lister Block was designated by the city but in a sorry state and it was proposed to replace it with a facsimile (and not a perfect one at that)!

Provincial designation -- boon or bust? (part two)

As we saw last time, provincial designation was taken out of the draft legislation before it was introduced in 1974.

Thirty years later, in 2004, it was put back! In the drafting of Bill 60, it was added to Part IV as section 34.5 and became law with the passage of the bill in April 2005.

Provincial designation -- boon or bust? (part one)

Provincial designation... whew, what a topic! We might have to take it in parts.

Provincial significance and Regulation 10/06

Regulation 10/06 is the companion to Regulation 9/06. Following a public consultation process, the two regulations were put in place in 2006 to set out the criteria for provincial and municipal designation.

Heritage Property Tax Relief (HPTR) -- slow but steady?

HPTR has been around a long time now -- since 2001, when the then Ministry of Tourism and Culture worked with the Ministry of Finance to develop it.

The timing may seem odd to some -- it was still the Harris era, and in fact Tim Hudak was Minister of Tourism and Culture! After all the cuts to heritage (and other) programs you wouldn't think a new heritage incentive would be at the top of their list.

Good heritage stats are hard to find!

Or is it that hard heritage stats are good to find?

Good heritage policy starts with good information about what is really happening out there. Too much of what we see is anecdotal -- interesting, even useful, but not a sound basis for making policy choices.

Welcome to my new blog! And the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA) at 40!

A building from 1850s.

Happy Heritage Week! To launch my new heritage blog, here is a version of an article I've written for the upcoming (Spring 2015) issue of ACORN, the journal of Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO): The Ontario Heritage Act (OHA) at 40 ... and how we, finally, got to Bill 60.

About Dan Schneider

Dan Schneider Portrait Image

Dan Schneider is a heritage enthusiast, policy wonk, writer and professional heritage consultant. Formerly senior policy advisor with the provincial culture ministry, Dan has much experience with the Ontario Heritage Act and heritage policy issues. A lawyer by training, he was lead policy expert on major changes to the Ontario Heritage Act in 2005 and 2006. His advice is frequently sought on questions related to Ontario's legislative and policy framework for heritage. Based in St. Marys, Ontario, Dan is Principal of Dan Schneider Heritage Consulting. He can be reached at danschneider@live.ca.