Heritage grant programs
Conserving heritage resources is an important part of sustainable city building. Heritage buildings are living legacies and can be defining characteristics of a community. These properties create and maintain a sense of place and identity, showing the development of a neighbourhood or city over time.
Heritage grants are financial assistance programs offered under a variety of terms. They help property owners with the costs associated with restoring, preserving and rehabilitating historic properties. In Calgary, owners of legally protected resources can apply for both municipal and provincial grants to support heritage conservation projects.
Conserving heritage resources can have many advantages for municipalities and their residents, including social, educational and economic benefits. In additional to their aesthetic value, heritage buildings are important places for Calgarians to learn about and understand our shared past. These resources are integral to the cultural and economic viability of our city, helping to keep Calgary an affordable and desirable place to live and work:
- The restoration and rehabilitation of historic resources requires the labour-intensive involvement of skilled trades, creating and supporting employment for Calgarians.
- Statistics Canada reports that 24% of overnight visitors to the Calgary area participate in a cultural activity, with a majority visiting a historic site.
Protecting heritage buildings also avoids the negative environmental impacts of demolishing viable, existing structures – promoting adaptive re-use, and reducing construction and demolition waste.
Since its inception in 2012, The City’s Historic Resource Conservation Grant program has supported conservation work for designated Municipal Historic Resources. More information about the success of this grant can be found in the Heritage conservation in Calgary progress snapshot, which is updated quarterly.
To be eligible for a City of Calgary Historic Resource Conservation Grant, a property must be listed on The City’s Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources and be municipally designated (legally protected) or in the process of designation.
The grant program reserve is $500,000 per year. On November 26, 2020, Council approved a one-time increase to $1.5 million per year for 2021 and 2022. Of that funding, $1 million is reserved annually for non-residential properties, and $500,000 is reserved for residential properties. This distribution reflects the typically larger financial requirements of non-residential resources, which are often multi-storey buildings with more complex conservation needs.
Residential grant funding
Residential sites include historic buildings that were originally constructed to contain only dwelling units, and not other uses or activities. This includes one or two-family buildings (i.e. single-family, semi-detached and duplex homes) and multi-family buildings (i.e. row-housing and apartments). Residential sites do not include historic mixed-use buildings or other types of historic resources.
For 2021 and 2022, $500,000 per year is available for residential properties. Qualifying residences must be designated as a Municipal Historic Resource, or in the process of designation. These funds are to be used for restoration, preservation and rehabilitation work on residential historic properties in Calgary.
Eligible property owners can receive matching funds up to 50% of approved conservation costs for a qualifying capital project. Applicants are eligible for to apply once every five years, but within a 15-year period the total grant amount cannot exceed $125,000 for a given property. Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis – and applicants may submit at any time.
Non-residential grant funding
Non-residential sites include all types of historic buildings or resources that were not originally constructed to contain only dwelling units. Non-residential sites include mixed-use, commercial, industrial, religious or institutional buildings, or historic resources that are not buildings.
Funding of $1 million per year for non-residential sites is approved for 2021 and 2022 only. Qualifying sites must be designated as a Municipal Historic Resource, or in the process of designation. These funds are to be used for restoration, preservation and rehabilitation work on historic sites in Calgary.
Matching funds (50% of the approved costs) are reserved for a heritage conservation project, up to $1 million per property. Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis – and applicants may submit at any time. Grant funded projects may include:
- Work to restore and/or conserve regulated historic elements on a property
- Professional fees (e.g. technical studies, architect fees)
- Upgrading/modernizing essential building systems (e.g. electrical, structural, HVAC)
For complex or large-scale projects, applicants are encouraged to seek the expertise of a heritage conservation consultant to assist with planning and project management.
Due to the increase in funding, the program terms and conditions have been updated. Information on eligibility and the application process can be found in the current (March 2021) terms and conditions.
For more information about heritage grants, eligibility and the application process, or other inquiries about heritage grants, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Jackson Residence before restoration
Jackson Residence after restoration
Lougheed Building before restoration
Lougheed Building during restoration
Lougheed Building after restoration