Conserving Buildings & Properties

Effective heritage conservation involves preservation, rehabilitation, restoration or a combination of all three. Many factors are considered in order to determine heritage value – including appearance, historical or spiritual significance and use. When we know what's important about a place, we can better understand how to care for it.

B.C. fosters a culture of heritage conservation. Even though most heritage resources are privately owned, we can all share in the responsible stewardship and the cultural pride associated with them. Some of the benefits to conserving our heritage include:

  • An attractive province: We’re proud of our well-kept, diverse and sustainable communitieswe know that tourists like it, too.
  • It’s the green choice: Reusing buildings means less new constructionless wasted energy and materials and fewer harmful emissions. It also preserves green spaces and farmland.
  • Promotes a sense of well-being: Conserving our heritage connects us to our past and strengthens our sense of self, our sense of community and our ability to shape our future.
  • Revitalizes our communities: Converting old buildings into restaurants, shops and offices generates income and keeps them trendy and vibrant, too!
  • Gives the economy a boost: Heritage buildings generate jobs during rehabilitation and draw tourists and commercial activity long afterwards.

Renovation & Rehabilitation

Renovating or rehabilitating a heritage building offers a unique opportunity to  protect the environment while keeping the character and identity of our communities intact.

The Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada is the first-ever pan-Canadian benchmark for heritage conservation practice in this country. It offers results-oriented guidance for sound decision-making when planning for, intervening on and using historic places. This document establishes a consistent, pan-Canadian set of conservation principles and guidelines that will be useful to anyone with an interest in conserving Canada's historic places.

Environmental Sustainability

Historic buildings are inherently sustainable. The conservation and rehabilitation of these buildings is extremely important to curbing climate change and other negative impacts on the environment.


Community Heritage Register Listing vs. Heritage Designation

A property may be listed on a heritage register, or have heritage designation, or both. Here are the differences:

Heritage Registration Heritage Designation
Identifies a historic place that the community deems to have heritage value Provides permanent legal protection for a historic place
Does not provide permanent legal protection Changes require a Heritage Alteration Permit
Is enacted by local government council resolution Is enacted by bylaw