There are neighbourhoods, buildings and properties throughout Kitchener that are important to our community’s cultural heritage. The Ontario Heritage Act requires us to keep a register of these properties and allows us to preserve our cultural heritage.

 On this page:

  1. Heritage designation
  2. Heritage permits
  3. Our heritage conservation districts
  4. Heritage district rules
  5. Non-designated heritage properties

Heritage designation

The Ontario Heritage Act allows us to designate:

  • all or part of a neighbourhood as a heritage conservation district
  • individual properties

This designation is done under Part IV (individual) or Part V (heritage conservation districts) of the Ontario Heritage Act.

District designation

When we designate a heritage conservation district, this allows us to work on conserving and enhancing its unique character. There are four heritage districts in Kitchener.

This process involves preparing and adopting a heritage conservation district plan, which gives guidance to the property owners and us on how to protect and preserve the heritage of the district.

An area is designated under Part V (heritage conservation districts) of the Ontario Heritage Act and placed on the Municipal Heritage Register following:

  • completion of a heritage study
  • consultation with both the Heritage Kitchener committee and the property owner(s)
  • preparation of a plan

Property designation

There are 133 individually designated heritage properties in Kitchener. All designated properties are listed on the Municipal Heritage Register.

A designating bylaw is created for the property, which explains the reasons for the designation and lists the property’s heritage attributes.

Download our guide to heritage designation to learn about individual property designation.

Heritage permits

You may need a heritage permit to make changes to your property if your property is:

  • an individually designated heritage property
  • in a heritage conservation district

Review our municipal heritage register if you’re not sure of your property’s designation.

You can apply for a heritage permit in person or by mail.

Download the application form

If you have any questions, call us at 519-741-2426.

Application deadlines

Heritage Kitchener reviews heritage permit applications at their meetings. Please use the dates in the table below to help plan for your application.

There are no Heritage Kitchener meetings in July or December 2024.

Application deadlineHeritage Kitchener meeting date
November 24, 2023 January 9, 2024
December 29, 2023 February 6, 2024
January 26, 2024 March 5, 2024
February 23, 2024 April 2, 2024
March 29, 2024 May 7, 2024
April 26, 2024 June 4, 2024
June 28, 2024 August 6, 2024
July 26, 2024 September 3, 2024
August 23, 2024 October 1, 2024
September 27, 2024 November 5, 2024

Our heritage conservation districts

We have four heritage conservation districts:

St. Mary’s

The St. Mary’s district plan provides policies and guidelines to conserve the significant architecture and suburban landscapes unique to the post World War II housing character associated with the area.

Upper Doon

The Upper Doon district plan contains policies and guidelines to conserve the architecture and landscapes unique to the rural character associated with the former village of Doon.

To access a copy of the Upper Doon district plan, please send us an email.

Victoria Park

The Victoria Park district plan contains guidelines and policies aimed at conserving the significant Victorian architecture and romantic landscapes that are unique to the Victoria Park neighbourhood. A self-guided tour of the Victoria Park heritage conservation district is available, if you're interested in learning more about this historic community.

Civic Centre

The Civic Centre district plan contains guidelines and policies to protect and conserve the Civic Centre neighbourhood. This unique neighbourhood is linked to several key periods in our city's development, and contains many buildings associated with community leaders.

Heritage district rules

Designated properties within a heritage conservation district are subject to a designating bylaw, which identifies the boundary and adopts the heritage conservation district plan's policies and guidelines for change within the area.

Owners of property designated under the Ontario Heritage Act within a heritage conservation district may require a heritage permit to make changes to either the building or the property in question.

Vacant buildings and structures on properties within a heritage conservation district that are listed on the Municipal Heritage Register are subject to the heritage provisions of the property standards bylaw.

Non-designated heritage properties

These properties have cultural heritage value and can be placed on the Municipal Heritage Register.

What being on the register means

  • 60 days to consider demolition applications instead of the usual 10
  • Planning Act applications may require a heritage impact assessment or conservation plan
  • vacant buildings are subject to the heritage provisions of our property standards bylaw

What being on the register doesn’t mean

Unlike with designated properties, this would not:

  • provide protection under the Ontario Heritage Act
  • require heritage approvals for work on the property

Being added to the register

The process to be added to the register is:

  • initial evaluation
  • consultation with owner
  • review by Heritage Kitchener
  • council consideration