The Ontario Heritage Act requires municipalities to compile a heritage building register that would, if well documented and used, help to preserve culturally significant buildings. While not barring development, the registry would be referenced when development plans of institutions or individuals are brought forward to council.
The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville first adopted the Municipal Cultural Heritage Register—or Built Heritage Inventory (BHI)—in 2002. But a recent push to update the registry along with public consultations in 2015 has now amounted to a list of over 730 properties being compiled. It contains buildings built before 1925 and public buildings or landmarks built before 1940. Within this number are six “designated” heritage sites that are severely regulated and not eligible for destruction. Among them are buildings at the museum, the old Town Hall and Clock Tower, and two town churches.
The BHI will grow or shrink as properties are brought to the BHI’s attention or lost. The 730 listed properties will be evaluated by the Heritage Advisory Committee (HAC) and town staff to chronicle relative significance of each weighing everything from the construction techniques to place in history.
Approximately 353 properties are still to be evaluated. The new BHI is available on the town’s website. Search the BHI at www.townofws.ca.