The Town of Ajax is home to a number of heritage properties. Many of these properties have been formally recognized by the Town either individually or as part of a Heritage Conservation District. Others have not been formally recognized but have been included on the Town’s Heritage Inventory.

The Province of Ontario established the Ontario Heritage Act in 1975 to help protect heritage properties and archaeological sites. The Act gives municipalities and the provincial government the power to identify and protect properties using various tools such as heritage registers, heritage designation, easement agreements and ownership.

The tools that are most commonly used by municipalities include:

  • the creation of a Heritage Register under Section 27 of the Ontario Heritage Act;
  • individual property designation under Section 29 (Part IV) of the Ontario Heritage Act; and
  • Heritage Conservation District designation under Section 41 (Part V) of the Ontario Heritage Act.

These tools, as well as the identification of non-designated heritage properties, can be explored further below. Questions about matters referenced in the Ontario Heritage Act that are not addressed on this page, such as Heritage Conservation Easement Agreements and Archaeological Sites, should be forwarded to the Town’s Heritage Planner.

 Heritage Register

The Ontario Heritage Act requires that every municipality in the province keep a publicly-accessible list of heritage properties. This list, called the Heritage Register, must include all properties that are individually designated under the Section 29 (Part IV) of the Ontario Heritage Act and any Heritage Conservation Districts designated under Section 41 (Part V) of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Municipalities may also include non-designated properties on their Heritage Registers. This process is commonly known as “listing” and properties added for this purpose are referred to as “listed” properties. At the present time, the Town of Ajax Heritage Register only includes designated properties. It does not include any non-designated or “listed” properties.

The Heritage Register is currently available as Appendix A in the Town’s Official Plan.

 Individually Designated Properties

Individual property designation under Section 29 (Part IV) of the Ontario Heritage Act can be used to protect any property that demonstrates cultural heritage value or interest. If a property meets one or more of the nine criteria in Ontario Regulation 9/06, it can be designated.

The primary purpose of designating heritage properties is to ensure that they are properly managed and conserved for the enjoyment of future generations. In addition to ensuring that the Town has a role in the management of a heritage property, designation also promotes knowledge and understanding about a property’s history and value.

In Ajax, there are currently 30 individually designated properties. This list includes houses, commercial buildings, places of worship, cemeteries, industrial buildings and public monuments. All designated properties can be easily identified by the presence of a designation marker.

Further information on designation is available in the Town’s Designated Heritage Properties brochure.

 Heritage Conservation Districts

A Heritage Conservation District designation under Section 41 (Part V) of the Ontario Heritage Act is used to protect a group of heritage properties that, together, express heritage value. Unlike individual heritage designations under Section 29 (Part IV) of the Ontario Heritage Act that normally focus on individual buildings or structures, district designations recognize the value of physical and spatial elements such as streets, landscape features, vistas and views that overlay an entire area.

When a Heritage Conservation District is designated, the Town assumes increased responsibilities for overseeing changes, such as the construction of new buildings, the modification of existing properties or the installation of new infrastructure. Heritage Conservation Districts are not designed to prevent growth and development, but rather, to manage change and ensure that it supports and contributes to an area’s unique and special character.

There is currently one Heritage Conservation District in Ajax. The Pickering Village Heritage Conservation District was designated in 2013 and is comprised of 58 commercial and residential properties in the Village’s central area. A comprehensive set of policies and guidelines known as the Pickering Village Heritage Conservation District Plan is designed to help ensure the conservation of the area's heritage character.

 Non-Designated Heritage Properties

The Town of Ajax has maintained an informal inventory of non-designated heritage properties since the 1990s. This list encompasses all properties in the Town that have been deemed to have heritage value or interest, but that have not been officially designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

While these properties have no formal protection from demolition or alteration, they may be considered as heritage properties for the purpose of planning or development applications. If the Town wishes to exercise control over the future evolution of any one of these properties, it must proceed with having that property designated under the Ontario Heritage Act

 Heritage Plaques and Markers
The Town of Ajax uses plaques and markers to identify important sites. Bronze plaques are located throughout the Town to tell the stories of significant people, places and events. Blue-coloured markers are posted at all heritage properties that have been individually designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

If you have questions, please contact the Town’s Heritage Planner at heritage@ajax.ca or 905-619-2529 ext. 3200.