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Heritage Properties

The purpose of the Heritage Property Program is to conserve significant heritage resources including buildings, streetscapes, sites, areas, and conservation districts that reflect the rich heritage in local communities throughout the entire region.

The principal aims of the Heritage Property Program are to:

  • Recognize significant heritage resources, especially through registration on the Municipal Registry of Heritage Properties and the designation of heritage conservation districts;

  • Provide conservation advice and information on heritage properties;

  • Facilitate the ongoing maintenance, preservation, restoration, and the reuse/rehabilitation of heritage properties through financial incentives and the administration of provincial and municipal regulation.

For inquiries about municipal heritage properties, heritage conservation districts or heritage incentives programs please contact:

Seamus McGreal
Planner III 
tel: (902) 490-4663
fax: (902) 490-4346


Benefits to Registered Heritage Properties

The conservation of heritage is an important part of creating a liveable community in HRM.

We conserve our heritage properties to:

  • enhance our quality of life and sense of history, community and identity;

  • improve our economic well-being by employing local craftspeople and trades people related to conservation;

  • add diversity and character to new development;

  • contribute to sustainability by reducing landfill waste, and lessening the demand for energy and resources needed for new construction.

There are also a number of benefits associated with owning a registered Municipal Heritage Property:

  • Recognition - A plaque is installed to officially recognize the property as an important asset to the rich cultural heritage of the community and region.

    View a list of Municipal Heritage Properties in HRM

  • Advice - Heritage staff can provide free conservation advice and on-site consultation. They can also provide valuable information on heritage properties and guidance in their ongoing management and maintenance.

    View HRM Heritage Standards and Guidelines

  • Protection - Significant changes to the exterior of a heritage property require review by the Heritage Advisory Committee and approval by Regional Council. This measure of protection applies even after ownership of the property is transferred.

    In addition, substantive new development on properties that abut registered heritage properties require innovative design solutions and architectural expressions that are compatible with the heritage property.

  • Flexibility - HRM provides a measure of creative flexibility in the adaptive reuse/rehabilitation of heritage properties.

    In several plan areas, registered heritage properties can apply for uses and structures, through the development agreement process, which may not be permitted in zoning regulations.

Grants and Rebates to Heritage Properties

HRM has three grant programs aimed at assisting heritage property owners in the maintenance of their heritage properties.

In addition to the HRM grants, two different departments within the Provincial government have programs to assist heritage property owners in  maintaining and conserving their heritage properties.

To review these programs, please visit the Grants and Rebates web page.

Getting Registered as a Municipal Heritage Property

Heritage registration is a voluntary process which begins with the owner making a written request by submitting an application to the municipality.

Download the Application for Heritage Registration (PDF) To PDF Acrobat Tips

  • Heritage staff evaluate applications and request that a research report be created, if necessary, at no cost to the applicant.
  • The Heritage Advisory Committee reviews the heritage registration request and may forward a recommendation to Regional Council.
  • Regional Council will hold a hearing before making the the final decision.
  • Once Council has approved the application, notification is sent to the owners via registered mail, and placed on title for the property.
  • The property is given a name associated with the history of the property and a heritage plaque is installed on the property.

Maintaining a Heritage Property

If you are thinking of doing renovations to your heritage property, we recommend that you contact Heritage staff who can provide you with free expert advice including technical information and support as well as on-site consultation. They can also help to determine if official heritage approvals are required.

Substantial Alterations

Those alterations which are considered substantial require review by the Heritage Advisory Committee and approval by Regional Council. The term substantial alteration is defined in the Heritage Property Act. It usually applies to significant changes to the exterior appearance of the property such as modifications to window/door openings or changes to the form or volume of the building envelope. Heritage staff are always available to discuss projects.

Owners of registered heritage properties must request approval from the Municipality for substantial alterations to their heritage property.

The following items are required for staff to review your request:

  • cover letter describing project;
  • drawings to scale - include materials;
  • site plan - include civic address.

View the processes for substantial alteration, demolition, and de-registration.

Non-Substantial Alterations

Registration as a heritage property means that the heritage value of the property will be considered when a building or development permit application is submitted for modifications to the structure or use of the property.

Registration as a Municipal Heritage Poperty will have little effect on most property owners. Typically, most alterations fall under the category of maintenance and repair and are approved by heritage staff with little delay. In 2011, 95 per cent of permit applications for Municipal Heritage Poperties were approved.

Insuring a Heritage Property

The official heritage registration of a home should not have any affect on the insurance policy but you may need to shop around. Like any other older home, a registered heritage home is insured with the same type of policy. Repairs will be made and items replaced in the same manner. Remember, the insurer is interested in the whole house not just the exterior appearance.

For more information, download Insuring Old Homes in NS (PDF) To PDF Acrobat Tips

Related Links

Halifax Regional Municipality 

  • Heritage Districts
    Learn about the Barrington Street Heritage Conservation District and other proposed heritage conservation districts.
  • Social Heritage
    Learn about heritage programs for history, material heritage and intangible cultural heritage.
  • Municipal Archives
    Research the historic development of your community and property.


Related Documents

List of Municipal Heritage Properties in HRM

HRM Heritage Standards and Guidelines

Heritage By-law
Respecting the establishment of a Heritage Advisory Committee and Civic Registry of Heritage Property

Process: Substantial Alteration, Demolition, and De-registration

If you are considering the substantial alteration, demolition, or de-registration of your heritage property, please contact Heritage staff immediately to discuss.
For your information, the process for substantial alteration and demolition of a heritage property are outlined in the following documents:

The process for the de-registration of a heritage property is outlined in the following document: