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.

    What does it mean if the City implements a Cultural Heritage Landscape, i.e. a new/strengthened policy or by-law, in my neighbourhood?

    In order to conserve the character of the area, the City is considering an Official Plan policy, which would mean that proposals that negatively impact the area’s characteristic features may be subject to a Heritage Impact Assessment at the expense of the property owner. By-laws under consideration include Heritage Conservation Districts and Zoning by-laws.

    If the community supports a Cultural Heritage Landscape, i.e. a new/strengthened policy or by-law, in my neighbourhood, will this automatically be implemented?

    No, this would be subject to review. Official Plan policies are subject to review and any proposal to strengthen by-laws would be subject to community engagement, including at least one public meeting.

    Will this impact my property value?

    It has been found that Heritage Conservation Districts maintain or even increase property value because they provide stability. As such, the potential Official Plan policy and, any by-laws that seek to maintain the area’s character may have the same impact. 

    What are characteristic features?

    These are the elements that, combined, give the area its distinctive look and feel. E.g. curbless streets, mature trees, similar houses, etc.

    Are there any other options?

    If the community is not ready to protect the area with policies or by-laws, interpretation, commemoration and education may be considered. However, please note that once characteristic features are removed, it is difficult to bring them back, especially when they are natural and heritage features.

    Would a Cultural Heritage Landscape, i.e. a new/strengthened policy or by-law, enable the City to reverse work that has already occurred?

    No, any new means of protecting a Cultural Heritage Landscape would only impact work going forward from the date the City adopts the policy/by-law.

    Would a Cultural Heritage Landscape, i.e. a new/strengthened policy or by-law, impact adjacent properties?

    If a site alteration or development is proposed adjacent to a Heritage Conservation District, the proponent must demonstrate that it will not negatively impact the conservation of the District’s heritage attributes.

    I’ve reviewed the online information but still need more information.

    Please contact heritage.planning@mississauga.ca. If there is enough interest in protecting a landscape's characteristic features, the City can host a virtual public meeting with interested residents.