What is a Cultural Heritage Landscape?

In Ontario, Cultural Heritage Landscapes are defined under the Provincial Policy Statement as areas identified as having cultural heritage value or interest. They may include parks, designed gardens, battlefields, viewsheds, or industrial complexes. They may have been intentionally planned or created, like a park or garden or downtown square. They may be evolved places that have developed over time, such as residential neighbourhoods or Main Streets.

Landscapes can also be associative. These are places with religious or cultural meaning, locations of remembrance, or areas valued for artistic inspiration. Provincial guidance recommends that only significant cultural heritage landscapes should be protected under the Ontario Heritage Act.

What is a Character Area?

The “Character” of an area impacts how we perceive a place defining a specific area called a Character Area. While particular heritage homes or cultural heritage landscapes contribute to an area’s distinctiveness, it is the combination of streets, landscape treatments, topography, and heritage and non-heritage buildings and landscapes that can create and distinguish an area’s particular “look and feel.”

Development within a Character Area or Character District can be managed through Character Area guidelines. Other examples of tools that may assist in managing area character could include tree by-laws, landform guidelines, scenic corridor policies, or zoning provisions.