Renovating Your Home? What You Need to Know.

The City of Toronto has designated Cabbagetown as a heritage conservation district. What does this mean to you?

The Ontario Heritage Act provides municipalities with the ability to protect the character of heritage areas or districts (a collection of heritage propertis that may include residential, commercial or institutional buildings, streetscapes, landscapes, bridges, roads, foothpaths, vistas and viewshed, all making up a distinct area with special character) through heritage conservation district (HCD) designation.

It is not the intent within the HCDs to force property owners to restore their property or prevent them from making changes as long as the changes are consistent with the conservation intent.

Where new buildings and additions are necessary, the intent is to encourage design that is sympathetic and compatible with the character of the existing heritage properties and the character of the District.


Since HCD designation is a City responsibility, any request, question, comment, etc. should go through the City.

City of Toronto, Heritage Preservation Services
Office hours are Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Cabbagetown Heritage Conservation District Advisory Committee, a community and voluntary-based orgainzation, provides comments and feedback to Heritage Preservation Services. However, the responsibility of implementing the HCD plan still lies with the City.

The Cabbagetown HCD Advisory Committee can be reached at:

Links to the HCD Plans:

Cabbagetown-Metcalfe Conservation District Plan
Cabbagetown-North Conservation District Plan
Cabbagetown-South District Plan
Cabbagetown-Northwest District Plan
What you need to know!
The CPA has a keen interest in heritage issues.  It helped the creation of the Cabbagetown’s HCDs and the Cabbagetown Heritage Conservation Districts Advisory Committee and currently focuses its resources on education about and interpretation and appreciation of Cabbagetown through various programs.  Although the lead for heritage issues belongs to the city (supported by the Cabbagetown HCD Advisory Committee), the CPA is often seen as the face of heritage in Cabbagetown.  However, the City’s HPS and the Cabbagetown HCD Advisory Committee have a more prominent and proactive role and should be your first contacts.

Owning a property in one of Cabbagetown's HCDs gives you the advantage of living in a beautiful historic neighbourhood of leafy, human-scaled streets, Victorian era architectural styles and a tangible connection to Toronto’s past. These characteristics that we find so attractive and the rarity of finding such a preserved gem intact are protected by the Ontario Heritage Act and the Guidelines of each district’s HCD Plan.

Most property owners in Cabbagetown know that when they make changes to parts of their homes that are visible from the street, a Heritage Permit needs to be obtained from the City of Toronto’s Heritage Preservation Services. However, those who are new to the neighbourhood may not be aware of the protocol or may be confused about what approach to take, what to consider or where to find help.

A heritage permit is required for:

any renovations, alterations or additions that are visible from the street (this includes: windows, doors, porches, siding, and brick);
repairs using a material other than the original or the existing material;
renovations that have an impact on the building's heritage attributes; if a renovation involves demolition, property owners will need to submit an application to secure a permit;
as with any property, a Building Permit from the City is required if you intend to construct a new building, make structural alterations or additions, or change your signage.  
Please note that if a property is located in a heritage district, any building permit - even if the work planned does not have any heritage aspects - will require review and approval from the City’s Heritage Preservation Services.


New additions, including items such as skylights, will need to be located to the rear and side, away from the main elevation.
New garages and parking spaces will need to be located in unobtrusive areas, normally to the rear and side yards.
Additions must be sensitive to the character of their neighbours in size and height.
A heritage permit is NOT required for:

Painting of wood, existing stucco or metal finishes.
Repair of existing features, including roofs, wall cladding, dormers, cresting, cupolas, cornices, brackets. columns, balustrades, porches as well as steps, entrances, windows, foundations, and decorative wood, metal, stone or terra cotta, provided that the same type of materials are used.
Installation of eavestroughs.
Weatherproofing, including installation of removable storm windows and doors, caulking, and weather stripping.
Installation of exterior lights.
An alteration that is not visible from the street.
For detailed information and to access your area HCD Plan & Guidelines, please visit the Cabbagetown HCD Advisory Committee’s website.

How to obtain a heritage permit:
Contact the City’s Heritage Preservation Services and advise them of the nature of your renovation. The Heritage Preservation Services of the City of Toronto (Planning Division) is responsible for advising and assisting City Council, the Toronto Preservation Board, the community and property owners on the conservation of the City's heritage resources. Obtaining a Heritage Permit is free and can often be done easily via email exchange with this department.

City of Toronto’s Heritage Preservation Service:

Heritage Grants:
The Toronto Heritage Grant Program is administered by the Heritage Preservation Services Unit of the City Planning Division to encourage the conservation of designated heritage properties in the City of Toronto.  The Program provides grant funds of up to 50% of the estimated cost of eligible heritage conservation work to designated heritage properties.

For Heritage Preservation Grant Applications and info, visit: