Heritage and Museums

Richmond Hill values it history and heritage. There are many ways Richmond Hill showcases and celebrates it past, present and future. Programs and events are offered for all ages to enjoy at the Heritage Centre, AJ Clark Interpretive Centre and at other City sites and facilites.

Richmond Hill also cares for the City-owned heritage buildings by maintaining them, using them for programs and celebrating the history of the sites. Historically significant home in the community may be designated by the Ontario Heritage Act and included in the Inventory of Cultural Heritage Resources. Grants may also be available.  

Heritage Recreation and Culture Services

Contact the Heritage Services Coordinator at 905-737-1818 extension 6007 for more information.

The Heritage Section works with stakeholders, committees and the community to manage heritage-related tasks such as:

  • Answering designation requests
  • Publishing resources
  • Managing heritage databases
  • Developing policies and strategies

Heritage Richmond Hill

Richmond Hill has a committee of volunteers called Heritage Richmond Hill (HRH). This group advises Council on topics related to the Ontario Heritage Act.

Heritage properties

Cultural Heritage Landscape

Cultural Heritage Landscapes are locations that explain our community's history. These spaces have a number of cultural features including:

  • Natural elements
  • Landscape components
  • Buildings
  • Spaces
  • Archaeological sites

Examples of Cultural Heritage Landscapes include:

  • Villages
  • Parks
  • Gardens
  • Battle fields
  • Main streets
  • Streets of special interest
  • Golf courses
  • Farmscapes

Designated Heritage Property

A Designated Heritage Property has special legal status under the Ontario Heritage Act. These buildings have a sense of history and culture. Its unique features are protected by the Act.

Heritage designation process

The designation process involves the following steps:

  1. Property owners, interested parties, HRH or members of the community send a letter to Richmond Hill Heritage staff requesting a property be designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. Written and photographic documentation will help our staff research the request.
  2. A report is prepared to determine the property's heritage significance. Council and HRH decide whether or not to begin the designation process.
  3. A Notice of Intent to Designate will be published for 30 days. This includes a description of the property's history and features to be protected. Objections to the designation can be filed in these 30 days to the Conservation Review Board (CRB) and a hearing will be set to address the objection.
  4. Council makes the final decision about designations. A Designation By-law is prepared and approved by Council if the designation moves forward.

Heritage Conservation District

A Heritage Conservation District (HCD) is an area of the community designated under Section V the Ontario Heritage Act. HCDs can include:
  • Buildings
  • Spaces between buildings
  • Natural and man-made landscapes in the area
  • Roads
  • Footpaths
  • Fences
  • Lighting
  • Street furniture
  • Other cultural features of the neighbourhood
Listed Heritage Property

Listed Heritage Properties have cultural value but aren't designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. These properties are included on Richmond Hill's Heritage Register. The Register is an official record of listed and designated cultural heritage properties. Owners of these properties must let us know when they plan to demolish or remove a building or structure at least 60 days before applying for a demolition permit.

Heritage Clearance Letters

Heritage staff can provide a Heritage Clearance Letter (fee $91) which will provide owners, realtors and lawyers with concise information regarding the heritage status of a specific property.

Development of heritage properties

Heritage building specialists

Richmond Hill has a list of Heritage Building Specialists in Ontario. The list helps you find qualified people to work on a heritage property or prepare a CHIA. They have experience and products specializing in heritage projects.

Heritage permits

Heritage property owners may need a Heritage Permit in order to complete any work on their property. A permit is needed when changes affect the "Reasons for Designation" listed in the designating by-law. Permit applications are submitted to the Heritage Planner and are approved by Council before any work can start.

Some permits require a fee. Minor changes cost $398 and major changes cost $3,415. View the Heritage Permit Application Form to find out where your plan fits and how much a permit will cost.

Cultural Heritage Assessments

Cultural Heritage Assessment (CHA) defines a property's value using the Cultural Heritage Assessment Terms of Reference. These terms of reference for a CHA explain:
  • The CHA's purpose
  • When it's used
  • Who can prepare a CHA
  • What information is included
  • What resources can help with preparing a CHA

Contact the Heritage and Urban Design Planner at 905-771-5529 for help with getting a CHA.

Cultural Heritage Impact Assessments

Richmond Hill may need to complete a Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment (CHIA) as part of the development approval process. The Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment Terms of Reference explain:
  • The CHIA's purpose
  • When it's needed
  • Who can prepare a CHIA
  • What information is included
  • What resources can help with preparing a CHIA

Contact the Heritage and Urban Design Planner at 905-771-5529 for help with getting a CHIA.