Designate your property as a Municipal Historic Resource
What is designation?
Conserving historic buildings through legal protection is an internationally recognized best-practice in heritage planning. It’s supported by the Calgary Heritage Strategy and Municipal Development Plan.
Buildings can be legally protected in Alberta by designating sites as Municipal and/or Provincial Historic Resources. This protection is enabled by the Alberta Historical Resources Act, and performed by a municipality, or Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women.
Designating a Municipal Historic Resource (building or space)
- Prevents the demolition of a historic resource
- Requires collaboration with, and approval from, Heritage Planning to alter certain historic elements
- It also means that property owners and tenants can carry on with their normal day-to-day activities, such as:
- Personal use (e.g. hosting gatherings, cooking, etc.)
- Running a business (e.g. coffee shop)
- Selling the property
Municipal Historic Resource Designation is a voluntary decision by the owner and The City. If a property owner designates their property, they are eligible to apply for financial incentives and grants that can assist them with preserving their property.
Learn more about incentives and grants for heritage sites at Heritage conservation incentives and programs.
What properties are eligible?
Before designation, a property must be included on Calgary’s Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources, a list of significant local heritage sites. Properties that retain sufficient historical elements may be eligible for designation. Properties suggested for inclusion on the Inventory are first researched and evaluated by Heritage Calgary, according to the Council-approved Calgary Historic Resource Evaluation System.
Applying to designate your property as a Municipal Historic Resource
Step 1 – Check whether the property is on the Inventory
Properties listed on the Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources may be designated as a Municipal Historic Resource.
If a property is not listed on the Inventory, it must be evaluated by Heritage Calgary to see if it meets the Inventory's criteria. Find out more about the criteria and evaluation process at Heritage Calgary inventory criteria.
Step 2 – Request designation
The property owner must submit a written request to designate the property.
Step 3 – Heritage reviews request
Designation typically regulates extant historical materials. The City reviews the property and its Statement of Significance to determine if sufficient historical elements exist. This will include a site visit and updated photographs.
Step 4 – Review the proposed bylaw
The City prepares all required paperwork, including the proposed Bylaw, and confirms the Bylaw content with the property owner.
Step 5 – Receive temporary designation
The City issues a “Notice of Intention to Designate” to the property owner and notifies Council.
Once the “Notice of Intention to Designate” is issued, the historic resource is temporarily designated for 120 days. Council is required to wait 60 days to pass the designation Bylaw, as outlined in the Historical Resources Act.
Step 6 – Council votes on the bylaw
Council either passes or rejects the Bylaw to designate the property as a Municipal Historic Resource.
Step 7 – The site is designated as a Municipal Historic Resource
The City registers the Bylaw on the Land Title in question, as required by the Historic Resources Act.
Legal protection governance
The legal process to designate a site as a Municipal Historic Resource is governed by the Alberta Historical Resources Act, R.S.A. 2000 c. H-9 (the Act) and requires Council to pass a designation Bylaw.
Designation by other levels of government
- Provincial designation: In Alberta, the Provincial Designation is administered by the department of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women.
- Federal designation: The Federal designation process is overseen by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. This process constitutes honorific recognition. It does NOT protect the site from alteration or demolition.