Heritage Toronto, Heritage Planning, and the Toronto Heritage Board: Similar in name, but not in mandate

In discussing topics of interest related to 182 Queens Ave. in Mimico, I’ve recently learned details about three key heritage planning bodies in Toronto. Given the similarities in names, it’s easy to confuse one with the other.

The purpose of the current post is to share what I have learned so far, regarding which body serves which purpose. I will perhaps update this post as I learn more.

Heritage Toronto

Heritage Toronto is an arms length charity that provides advice on heritage matters to the City of Toronto:

Click here to access Heritage Toronto website >

Heritage Planning

Heritage Planning is the new name for Heritage Preservation Services. The staff at this body support heritage planning at the City of Toronto; the staff are, as I understand, part of the City planning department:

Click here to access Heritage Planning website >

When I accessed it on March 16, 2021, the above-noted site had not yet been updated and still referred to Heritage Preservation Services.

The City department in charge of heritage preservation is Heritage Planning.  Mary MacDonald is the senior manager, and Tamara Anson-Cartwright is in charge of research and policy. Anne Fisher is in charge of examining properties that are listed or designated on the City’s heritage registry west of Yonge Street.

Heritage Preservation Board

Toronto Preservation Board provides advice to Toronto City Council on matters stipulated in the Ontario Heritage Act. The Toronto Preservation Board is an advisory body comprised of seven (7) citizens appointed by City Council, the Chair of each Community Preservation Panel and three (3) members of City Council.

Click here to access Heritage Preservation Board website >

The Toronto Preservation Board is a City board that makes recommendations to City Council regarding the staff reports prepared by Heritage Planning regarding listings and designations of properties.

Each of the City community council areas has a community conservation panel.

The area I’ve been focusing on over the past decade (I lived in Long Branch from 1997 to 2018) is Etobicoke and York. Paul Cordingley sits on the Preservation Board as the representative of the Etobicoke and York Community Preservation Panel.

The website (see link above) for the Toronto Heritage Board notes: “Community Preservation Panels are volunteer committees which have been established for each area represented by a Community Council. This includes Etobicoke York, North York, Toronto and East York, and Scarborough.” The Toronto and East York panel has its own webpage providing additional details about its work; the other panels do not have webpages.

View from parking lot at apartment in New Toronto just west of Mimico. A fascinating feature, of the history of land use planning in southern Etobicoke, is that in some cases the shoreline of Lake Ontario, in this part of Toronto, ended up as parking lots for tenants: parking lots with a great view of the Toronto skyline. Jaan Pill photo

I’ve also learned that the Etobicoke York Community Preservation Panel meets most months (by Zoom, at the moment) and community members are welcome to join the meeting. Paul Cordingley can arrange if local residents want to discuss local heritage topics of interest.

The community preservation panel and the local councillor’s office offer assistance in advocacy for properties in this area. Staff Reports are written that recommend listing and designation of local heritage properties. Nomination forms are available that should be completed and sent to the appropriate City staff. Below is a form that can be filled out, to get a heritage assessment underway; whether or not the form is the most recent one, I do not know, but look forward to finding out:

Heritage property nomination form 2018

Mimico Cultural Heritage Resource Assessment Document

When dealing specifically with the heritage profile of Mimico, the above-noted document is of much value:

Mimico 20/20 Cultural Heritage Resource Assessment Document

This is a big file so it may take a while to download. It’s well worth a close read!

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