Townsite was recognized in 1995 as a National Historic Site of Canada, because the community today is a well-preserved example of a single-industry planned community. Of Townsite’s approximately 400 homes, 97% were built before 1940. They stand together in close to their original condition and according to the original 1910-11 Townsite plan. This level of preservation makes Townsite unique, and the Arts and Crafts-inspired homes create a neighbourhood that feels warm, welcoming, and friendly.
The 1995 National Historic Site recognition demonstrates significance for our province and Canada overall. However, this recognition is just that – recognition – and it does not come with protections for the neighbourhood as a whole or the buildings within it.
In fact, the only buildings protected from demolition and alteration today are our six designated heritage buildings: Henderson House (1911), Rodmay Hotel (1911), Assistant Manager’s House (1912), Ocean View Apartments (1916), Dwight Hall (1927), and Bank of Montreal (1931). Another three buildings are on the Heritage Register – St. Luke’s Hospital (1913), Patricia Theatre (1928), and Old Courthouse Inn (1939). The Heritage Register offers more recognition than protection. So, City staff are continuing work started twenty years ago to bring more protections to homes in Townsite.
To ensure that new development fits into the historic character of Townsite, Council adopted design guidelines for R3 zone homes in Townsite. The Development Permit Area requires property owners to apply for a Development Permit before undertaking new construction, additions, or certain external alterations. The purpose is to make sure that new construction, changes to rooflines or porches, and other significant changes are in keeping with Townsite established character. A Development Permit would not be required for small additions; replacing roofing, doors, window, or building cladding (i.e. siding) with like materials; or painting the building. To be clear, the Development Permit Area does not designate any buildings as heritage buildings. Instead, the Development Permit Area provides form and character guidelines for new construction and additions. You can view the guidelines here.
Planning Services Department
Call us at 604-485-8650
Monday to Friday
8:30am to 4:30pm
Closed on holidays
Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada