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Heritage Conservation

The City of Owen Sound is committed to protecting and celebrating our rich cultural heritage. This includes:

  • Heritage Conservation: registry, designation, properties, etc.
  • Heritage Incentives: Community Improvement Plan, Facade and Structural Improvement Plan, and Heritage Property Tax Relief Program
  • Heritage Resources: information on local heritage
  • Interpretive Programs: plaques, programs, banners, and tours

If you are looking for more information relating to our Planning Division, please visit the Planning and Development Page.

Heritage Conservation

The City's Register of Properties of Cultural Heritage Value or Interest (Heritage Register) is a record of properties of cultural heritage value or interest. It includes not only Designated Heritage properties, but also other properties that Council believes are of Cultural Heritage value or Interest - these properties are called Heritage Listed properties.

Once a property is listed on the Register, the Ontario Heritage Act requires the owner to give the municipality at least 60 days notice in writing of intention to demolish or remove a building. The notice must include plans and information as the Council may require.

The Ontario Heritage Act (Section 27(1)) asks that municipalities keep an up-to-date record of properties of cultural heritage value or interest. An online listing is available below. The official Heritage Register is located at City Hall in the Planning and Heritage Division and offers more detail.

More information regarding the Heritage Register may be found at the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism & Culture website and the Ontario Heritage Tool Kit.

Heritage Register List

An inventory of Owen Sound's heritage properties was started in 1977 by the City's Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (LACAC). This inventory had 96 properties. In June of 2004, City staff began updating the inventory and our online register began. In 2006, the Heritage Register was updated to include 30 more properties. Today there are over 130 properties on the Register.

A "*" indicates that the property is designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.

East Side

1198 1st Ave E - Former Canadian Pacific Railway Station*

75 2nd Ave E - Harrison Park*

215 2nd Ave E

529 2nd Ave E

570 2nd Ave E

682 2nd Ave E - Buchan Manor

695 2nd Ave E - Poulette Place

704 2nd Ave E - Dental Clinic

712 2nd Ave E - Dr. Cameron Residence

715 2nd Ave E

747 2nd Ave E - Savoy Theatre

790 2nd Ave E - Legate Building

801 2nd Ave E - Coulson Hotel

856 & 858 2nd Ave E - Parker's Drug Store

874 2nd Ave E - Fulford Hardware

883 2nd Ave E - Coates and Best*

908 2nd Ave E - Kilbourn Block*

941 2nd Ave E - Whole Foods store*

942 2nd Ave E - McKay Building*

948 2nd Ave E - Molsons Bank

964 2nd Ave E - People's Department Store*

966 2nd Ave E - Arthur Woods Manley*

992 2nd Ave E - Reitman's*

1002 2nd Ave E - Superior Block

1005 2nd Ave E - Seldon House*

1023 2nd Ave E - Former Bus Terminal*

702 3rd Ave E - McCracken Home

785 3rd Ave E - Queen's Hotel

855 3rd Ave E - Central United Church

881 3rd Ave E

1112 3rd Ave E

1123 3rd Ave E - Clifton Hotel

1148 3rd Ave E - Wilcock's Garage

1159 3rd Ave E - Spragge Home

1200 3rd Ave E

1235 3rd Ave E - Grey County Courthouse*

1258 3rd Ave E

1259 3rd Ave E - Grey County Jail

1379 3rd Ave E - John Chisholm House*

1498 3rd Ave E

1852 3rd Ave E - McQuay Tannery

841 4th Ave E - Crawford Home

887 4th Ave E

890 4th Ave E - Knox United Church

895 4th Ave E

990 4th Ave E - First Baptist Church

997 4th Ave E - Division Street United Church

1049 4th Ave E - St. George's Anglican Church

1115 4th Ave E

1142, 1144, 1148 4th Ave E - 4th Ave E Row Housing

1240 4th Ave E - Registry Office

1671 4th Ave E - Eaton Brewery

795 5th Ave E - Ryerson School

832 5th Ave E

861 5th Ave E - F.N. D'Orr LePan Cottage*

894 5th Ave E - Rixon House

919 5th Ave E - Butchart Estate*

938, 940, 944, 946 5th Ave E - 5th Avenue East Row Housing

952, 954, 960, 962 5th Ave E - 5th Avenue East Row Housing

986-1000 5th Ave E - 5th Avenue East Row Housing

1663 5th Ave E - John McLean Home

1623 6th Ave E - A. M. Stephans Home

1584 7th Ave E - Miller Home

111 7th St E - Temporary Buchan Home

382 7th St E - Corbet Home

110-114 8th St E - Market Building*

253 8th St E - Slumski Taxi

260 8th St E - Merchant's Bank

275 8th St E - Oretsky Fur Store*

288 8th St E - Carr & Monahan

302 8th St E - Hewitt and Milne

364, 372, 374, 380, 382, 388, 400 8th St E - 8th St E Row Housing

80 9th St E

132 9th St E - F. N. DÒrr LePan Store

291 9th St E - Old Post Office*

452 9th St E

594 9th St E - East Cliff*

120 10th St E - Former Menzies' Insurance Co.

229 10th St E - Sloan Building*

392 10th St E - Church of Nazarene

313 11th St E - Beth Ezekiel Synagogue*

440 11th St E

198 12th St E

238 & 248 12th St E

554 15th St E - St. Mary's Church*

555 15th St E - St. Mary's School

692 15th St E

2010 16th St E - Branningham Grove

West Side

815 1st Ave W - Queen's Park*

824 1st Ave W - Public Library*

900 1st Ave W - Christian Science Society*

940 1st Ave W - Kennedy Home

972 1st Ave W

996 1st Ave W - Charles Rankin Home

1064 1st Ave W - Corbet Foundry

1165 1st Ave W - CNR Station

405 2nd Ave W - Legate Home

606 2nd Ave W - Wilcox/Bowman Home*

635 2nd Ave W - Robert McDowall House

665 2nd Ave W - Christie Home

680 2nd Ave W - W.G. McLauchlan Home

712 2nd Ave W - Scott/Manley Home

745 2nd Ave W - Pettigrew/Urquhart Home

756 2nd Ave W

767 2nd Ave W - Webster/Case Home

785, 789, 791, 795 2nd Ave W - Kennedy Terrace

903 2nd Ave W - Wilkinson House*

935 2nd Ave W - Wright Home

949 2nd Ave W

1010 2nd Ave W - John Meir Home

2nd Ave and 14th Street W - Harrison Mill

323 3rd Ave W - Sheldon Place

805 3rd Ave W - John Miller Home

927 3rd Ave W - Harrison Home

932 3rd Ave W - U.S. Consulate*

948 3rd Ave W - Billy Bishop Home*

331 4th Ave W - Sheldon Place Gatehouse

461 4th Ave W - Art Moore Home

681 4th Ave W - Creasor Home

727 4th Ave W - Eaglesnest

759 4th Ave W - George Snider Home/Fairview

1050 4th Ave W - F.W. Harrison House*

1178 4th Ave W - Tannahill Funeral Home

1735 4th Ave W - Victoria School

1880 4th Ave W

1914 4th Ave W

867 4th Ave 'A' W - Fleming House

2545 5th Ave W - Eddie Sargent House

1140 6th Ave W - Michael Forhan Home

190 1st St SW - Greenwood Cemetery Buildings

180 4th St W

197 8th St W - Kennedy Terrace

215-217 8th St W - Atkins Residence*

284 9th St W - Lemon Home

187 10th St W - Pollock Home

219 10th St W - Notter Home

285 10th St W - Park Apartments

310 10th St W - Central Westside United Church*

245 11th St W - British Methodist Episcopal Church*

500 16th St W

Owen Sound has a Heritage Register Brochure and a Heritage Register Listing Application available online and at City Hall in the Planning and Heritage Division for the nomination of properties to the Heritage Register. The property owner and/or other persons can make nominations.

Under the provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act (Section 29(4)), Council may designate by by-law any property in the City that is considered to have significant cultural heritage value or interest for architectural, historical or contextual reasons. Any real property, building, feature, structure, work, sculpture, or site can be designated. Designation of a property formally recognizes the unique architectural or historic characteristics of the property.

The first step in the process of designating a property is identifying the property as a candidate for designation. A property should first be listed on the City's Register of Properties of Cultural Heritage Value or Interest before consideration for designation.

For the full process on how to designate your property, contact the Planning and Heritage Division at City Hall or read our Guide to Heritage Designation for Individual Properties (Part IV OHA).

The Guide covers matters such as:

  • What is Heritage Designation?
  • Considerations for property owners (e.g. insurance)
  • The Heritage Designation Process
  • Incentive Programs

Heritage designation is meant to:

  • Recognize the importance of a building to the community
  • Protect the property's cultural heritage value
  • Encourage good stewardship and conservation
  • Promote knowledge and understanding about the property

The Ontario Heritage Act governs matters such as the Heritage Register, designated properties, and heritage conservation districts and forms the role of the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee in advising Council on heritage matters. Owen Sound's Community Services Committee has the mandate of a Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee.

The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) states that significant heritage structures and significant cultural heritage landscapes must be conserved. Under the PPS, 'significant' applies to designated properties and properties that are listed on the Heritage Register Listing. Development on lands near a protected heritage property must not affect any of the heritage attributes of the protected designated property.

Heritage Permits help Council track alterations to designated properties and ensure that alterations are in keeping with the heritage character of the property. A streamlined process allows staff to approve projects which protect the heritage attributes of these properties. Significant alterations may require the consideration of the Community Services Committee and Council. 

Please contact the Planning and Heritage Division before making any alterations to a designated property to determine whether a heritage permit is required.

The City offers heritage incentive programs including the Facade and Structural Improvement Program and the Heritage Property Tax Relief Program. More information is available on the Planning Policy & Urban Design page under the Community Improvement Plan accordion.

Heritage Incentives

Owen Sound has heritage policies and programs that focus on enhancing our downtown and waterfront as well as protecting historic buildings:

  • Community Improvement Plan
  • Facade and Structural Improvement Program
  • Heritage Property Tax Relief Program

More information about these programs is available on the Planning Policy & Urban Design page under the Community Improvement Plan accordion.

Interpretive Programs

Curious about how a place, person, or event has shaped Owen Sound? The City's interpretive programs tell the story of our community.

Designed to interpret our history and celebrate our heritage, Owen Sound's interpretive plaques are located in parks and along streets throughout the City. The precise location of each plaque can be found using the Story Map app.  

Below is a list of interpretive plaques. The year indicates when the plaque was installed.

The City's interpretive plaque program began in 1998 with the placement of five plaques around the inner harbour. Since then, close to 50 plaques have been located around the City with themes including Historic Owen Sound, Local Heroes, Marine and Rail History, and Black History.

A variety of banners are installed on poles throughout the downtown and harbour areas during the spring, summer, and fall that improve the streetscape while showcasing the City's history and culture.

On the Tours page (on our Tourism website), you will find walking tours of Owen Sound that include some interpretive plaques. Tours include the Downtown Walking Tour, East Side Walking Tour, West Side Walking Tour, Mill Dam Walking Tour, Corkscrew City Tour, and Cemetery Tour.

Greenwood Cemetery's Potter's Field Monument and Interpretive Plaque Project

Thank you to community representative and volunteer Aly Boltman for leading this initiative.

Welcome to the place where the present and the past meet, the start of a community effort to honour its history and its forgotten citizens.

Greenwood Cemetery in Owen Sound, Ontario, is home to a Potter's Field where at least 1242 vulnerable people from our community lay in their final resting place completely unidentified, without any visible marker to note a life lived or an individual's story. Hundreds of newborns/stillborn/toddlers, orphans, seniors, the working poor, the homeless and hundreds of members of Owen Sound's black community including those who escaped on the Underground Railroad and their descendants.

Potter's Field (also known as the "Indigent Lot") became operational in 1860 and was in use for more than 100 years. The definition of Indigent is "suffering from extreme poverty."

In 2018, an anonymous donor came forward at the City of Owen Sound's Doors Open cemetery tour and generously offered to support the creation of a permanent monument to honour those in Potter's Field. The City of Owen Sound supports this plan and has agreed to provide a complementary interpretive plaque and website for this project.

Between December 2018 and the end of February 2019, the public was asked for input on ideas for the future design of the Potter's Field monument. Thank you to those who took the time to contribute their thoughts by completing this short survey. The data from the survey was analyzed and presented at the spring 2019 open house.

You can also review the list of all known persons in Potter's Field.

On behalf of the donor and the volunteer committee, thank you,

Aly Boltman

Potter's Field Memorial

Potter's Field Memorial monument

The Potter's Field Memorial monument was unveiled at Greenwood Cemetery in May 2021.

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