January 2016

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".

Finally, a federal tax incentive for heritage?

The front of the parliament building in Ottawa, Ontario

In a surprise move legislation has been introduced in Parliament that would provide income tax incentives for restoring heritage buildings in Canada.

The OMB under review (again)

An image of a judges gavel with a white background

Ontario is in the final stages of the latest public review of the 110 year-old Ontario Municipal Board.

Heritage easements 401 — Easements for (almost) all

We’ve been looking at easements for heritage conservation purposes and how these evolved in Ontario.

Easements and their close cousin covenants — agreements conferring rights over another’s land or property for specific purposes — can be used by anyone for almost any (legal) end. But the only kind that beat the old common law limits and stick over the long haul are statutory easements — that is, agreements where the parties involved and the public policy objectives to be served are set out in statute.

Heritage easements 301 — The OHF goes natural, and municipalities get in the game

By the early 1980s the Ontario Heritage Foundation’s easements program was well-established. But its scope, like the properties the Foundation owned and its other programs, was pretty much confined to cultural heritage. This was about to change.

Heritage easements 201 — New easements, and an old covenant

A frontage of a stone Portico of Victoria Hall in Cobourg, Ontario

One of the early heritage easements in Ontario protects Victoria Hall in Cobourg.

Portico of Victoria Hall, Cobourg

Heritage easements 101 — Easements come to Ontario

Writing about the Rockwood Academy a few posts back I mentioned my first job with the province — one with responsibility for the pioneering provincial heritage easements program.

Before that, in 1979, I spent a summer with the Stratford Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (LACAC). At some point my boss, the redoubtable city/county archivist Jim Anderson, brought to my attention a bill to amend the Ontario Heritage Act.

Conservation authorities meet cultural heritage

A white house dating back to 1842 with people playing in the front yard at John R. Park Homestead near Kingsville

Quick question (okay, two): Who is the biggest landowner in Ontario?  Who is the second?

The provincial government owns by far the most land in Ontario. The province’s 36 conservation authorities are, collectively, the second largest owner.

What's wrong in Rondeau? Part two: OMB turns down HCD

A map image of the Rondeau Heritage Conservation District proposed boundary with a legend and compass

To recap from last time: the owner of Rondeau Provincial Park, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, appealed the designation of part of the park to the Ontario Municipal Board. The basis for the appeal was that the Municipality of Chatham-Kent had exceeded its jurisdiction in designating the historic cottage community in the park as a heritage conservation district under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act.[1]

What's wrong in Rondeau? Part one: The park and its cottages

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date

- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

It’s high summer and those of us who aren’t would probably like to be at a cottage.

How about one like this?

Back to the Rockwood Academy, continued

A rear perspective of the gynasium wing at Rockwod Academy, a historic stone building with staircase leading up to a door

Rear of the gymnasium wing, Rockwood Academy

Back to the Rockwood Academy

The front exterior of a historic stone building known as the Rockwood Academy

I hadn’t been there for decades. Yet, when greeting Andy Drenters at the door of the Rockwood Academy, I said: “This is one of my favourite places in the world.”  On a beautiful day in May it was delightful to see how little things had changed

Rarely if ever in my life has there been a place like the Rockwood Academy that has brought together the personal and the professional.

Guest post: Michael McClelland on the OHA and the "New Heritage"

A black and white, portrait style headshot image of a guest poster, Michael McClelland

I'm very excited to welcome the first guest on OHA+M: Michael McClelland.

Stratford White House — OMB says no to insensitive infill

An image of the exterior of the Stratford White House building with a garden out front

Stratford White House blues

A logo reading: North America Railway Hall of Fame

Sticking with Stratford, our local Architectural Conservancy Ontario branch has just heard that the branch’s nomination of the city of Stratford for induction into the North America Railway Hall of Fame has been accepted.  Hooray!

Ode to Stratford

A pink Canadian postage stamp with an image of harvest decorations

"What's past is prologue."[1]

Automatic protection — are old buildings next?

Picking up from last time… if we can — and do — have automatic protection for archaeological sites in Ontario, why not for other kinds of cultural heritage?

Digging down on automatic protection

An image of male manual worker hands coming out of a pile of dirt holding a pickaxe

Automatic protection in the deep

An illustration of ships coming to shore, written, The Hamilton & Scourge National Historic Site

Still with archaeology and how it is protected in Ontario, what about our marine heritage?

Automatic protection — the holy grail?

Two archaeologists working in an excavation dig site, measuring artifacts

What if cultural heritage resources were automatically protected?  No painstaking selection, no long designation process, no council decisions and political shenanigans, no drawn-out, unpredictable reviews or appeals. The law just decrees that all heritage resources are protected, end of story.

Pure preservationist fantasy, right?

Sure, but one that may not be as far-fetched as we think.

Listing — Designation Lite?

Last I checked Ontario was the only province to have a legislated listing mechanism — that is, a way of giving official recognition to heritage property separate from heritage designation.

How did this develop?  And how did what started out as one kind of animal — a formal identification tool — mutate over time into something rather different.

Sturgeon Point in winter

A boathouse on a frozen lake in the winter time

Adjacency and the OMB: New decision says the new must respect the old

2015 ended with an important OMB decision on the question of adjacency — the impact of proposed development on adjacent heritage property.

But first, some background. Ten years previous, a new cultural heritage policy was introduced in the 2005 Provincial Policy Statement. Policy 2.6.3, known as the “adjacent lands policy”, now reads:

"Cultural heritage" and the fuss with definitions

I feel like this should come with an advisory: 

***The following post is intended for mature, if geeky and/or masochistic, audiences. May contain passages that are pedantic, exasperating, or numbingly dull. Reader discretion is advised.***

Don’t say you weren’t warned!

Today we delve into definitions, their fortes and foibles, with the spotlight on “cultural heritage.”

The test for designation — Regulations 9/06 and 10/06

Happy 2016!

Another year, another heritage policy anniversary. It was 10 years ago (already!) that Ontario got two new regulations on cultural heritage significance: Ontario Regulation 9/06 and Ontario Regulation 10/06, usually known as O. Reg. 9/06 and O. Reg. 10/06.

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.