Heritage Conservation Districts

The Town of Caledon has one Heritage Conservation District (HCD) in the Village of Bolton. We are working on a second Heritage Conservation District in Alton. A Heritage Conservation District designation includes buildings, streets, landscapes and views within a specific area.

By designating a Heritage Conservation District, a municipality can manage and guide future change to preserve the identity of a heritage community as outlined in Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Heritage Conservation District FAQ


What is a Heritage Conservation District ("HCD")?
An HCD is a geographically defined area of cultural heritage value that is designated by a municipal bylaw passed under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act.
What is the purpose of an HCD?
The purpose of an HCD is to identify the unique cultural heritage value of an area, and provide policies and guidelines to conserve the heritage features and manage change within the District.
How are HCDs designated? When is the Plan drafted?
All HCD studies are conducted in two phases (Phase I: HCD Study and Phase II: HCD Plan). The HCD Study phase determines whether or not the area meets the criteria/definition of an HCD based on Provincial guide­lines. As noted in the two newsletters sent to the community, initiation of the HCD Plan (Phase II) would be based on the recommendations of the HCD Study (Phase I) and would occur by resolution of Town Council. The specific policies and guidelines (the actual HCD Plan) are not drafted until Phase II. The Alton Village HCD project is currently in Phase I.
Are there any benefits to HCD designation?
Yes. Designated Heritage Conservation Districts are a form of recognition of an area which can have benefi­cial impacts related to tourism. Here properties within an HCD are eligible for the Town of Caledon's annual Designated Property Grant Program, which offers 50% matching grants to a maximum of $4,000.00 for small to medium-sized maintenance and restoration projects. More information can be found online at https:// www.caledon.ca/en/living-here/designated-heritage-property-grant-program.aspx. The Town is also consider­ing establishing a Heritage Tax Rebate Program for designated commercial and industrial properties.
How is change managed in an HCD?
Changes within the HCD (e.g. changes to exteriors of properties, demolition, new construction, public works, etc.) are guided by policies and guidelines in the HCD Plan. The HCD Plan policies and guidelines are unique to each HCD. Some HCD Plans have more restrictive policies, and some are more reliant on guidelines to guide change. All HCD Plans must outline types of alterations which require approval by way of the Heritage Permit process, and those which do not require a Heritage Permit. Some municipalities also allow 'minor' permits to be approved by staff, whereas 'major' permits go through the full approval process depends on the unique set of policies of the HCD Plan which is approved by Council. Frequent types of "minor" alterations includes painting, minor repairs, interior alterations, and those which aren't visible from the street.
What are some of the things that do not require a Heritage Permit?
This depends on the unique set of policies of the HCD Plan which is approved by Council. Frequent types of "minor" alterations includes painting, minor repairs, interior alterations, and those which aren't visible from the street.
My house isn't very old. Does that mean my property would still be part of the HCD?
An HCD designates all properties within its boundaries under the Ontario Heritage Act. The HCD Plan identifies which properties are considered "heritage", and which are "non-heritage". The HCD Plan would provide a different set of policies for each type of property. The purpose of designating non-heritage properties is to ensure that chang­es to these properties are sensitive to the identified character of the area and do not have an adverse impact on the reasons the area is identified as an HCD.
Does this mean that any new construction will have to look "heritage"?
No. It is not considered best practice to make any new construction look like authentic heritage buildings. How­ever, it is considered best practice to make new construction compatible with heritage buildings so that it comple­ments or enhances the existing character of the area. This is done through building proportions, patterns of win­dow / door openings, setbacks, etc.
If the area is designated as an HCD, will this place additional restrictions on my property if I make changes be­yond existing Zoning By-laws and other Planning policies?
Yes. If the changes are not considered minor alterations and are located at the exterior of the building (visible from the public realm), they must be in conformity with the policies of the HCD Plan. This includes all properties, in­cluding those which are considered heritage and non-heritage. The goal of a HCD is not to prohibit change, but to ensure it is done in a way which maintains the character of the area.
How will I know if I need a Heritage Permit to change my property?
HCD Plans must identify the types of work which require a Heritage Permit, and those which do not require a permit. However, it is strongly encouraged that you always consult with the Municipal Heritage Planner.
How long does it take to go through the Heritage Permit process, and how much does it cost?
 After a Heritage Permit Application is deemed complete by the Town, it typically takes about 6 weeks for Major Permits to be considered by the Heritage Advisory Committee and Council. Minor Permits are approved by staff, usu­ally in 1-2 weeks. Heritage permits are free. However, more complicated applications may require site plans, eleva­tions, or Heritage Impact Assessments which requires professional expertise and is completed at the expense of the property owner.


Heritage property grant

If your home or business is located within a Heritage Conservation District, you may be eligible for a heritage property grant.

Alton HCD Study

Community Consultation 

A virtual community consultation meeting for the Alton Village Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Study was held on November 5, 2020. The purpose of the meeting was to present the Study’s initial findings regarding Alton’s heritage character and a recommended district boundary, and solicit community feedback. Please see the presentation slides or a recording of the consultation below and a summary of the meeting’s Questions & Answers below..

Public Meeting Q & A sheet (November 16, 2020)

Please complete the feedback form to ask questions or to provide additional input following the community consultation:

Feedback Form

A PDF version of the feedback form can also be completed and emailed to:

Sally Drummond
Heritage Resource Officer

It can also be mailed to the Town of Caledon:
6311 Old Church Road
Caledon, Ontario
L7C 1J6

 Project background and study area

The Town of Caledon has initiated a heritage conservation district study for the Village of Alton under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act. The study area includes the historic core of the village and some adjacent areas, as shown below.

The Town has retained the consultant team of MHBC Planning, George Robb Architect and Wendy Shearer Landscape Architect to undertake this project.