Council passed By-law Number 2344/86 to establish a local municipal heritage advisory committee, formerly known as the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (LACAC).

Who we are

The Ontario Heritage Act provides a framework within which municipalities can ensure the conservation of properties of cultural heritage value or interest. It also encourages citizen participation in heritage conservation locally. Under section 28 of the Act, the council of a municipality is authorized to establish, by by-law, a municipal heritage committee made up of five or more people. The function of the committee is to advise council on local heritage matters and to assist the council in carrying out its heritage conservation program. Though the organization and function of municipal heritage committees* are defined by the Act, municipalities are not required to establish such a committee. However, it is the municipal council that establishes the committee, determines its terms of reference, and appoints its members.

Members of the committee come from the community and represent a cross-section of interests and perspectives. Their role is to advise and make recommendations, but with limitations. These limitations are defined by terms of reference developed by the organizing body. The Ontario Heritage Act defines the statutory role of municipal heritage committees, but also states that other responsibilities may be assigned to these committees through by-laws passed by the municipal council. The establishment of a municipal heritage committee by municipal by-law enables a municipality to encourage community participation in local heritage conservation. In practice, a heritage committee often has a dual responsibility:

  • to the municipality - to advise council on heritage issues (under the Ontario Heritage Act); and, to carry out assigned duties according to the municipal by-law or resolution and procedures established by the municipality
  • to the citizens of the municipality - to help ensure that plans for change and progress be developed in a manner which recognizes the historical continuity of their community
  • representative of community interests, the advisory committee is recognized as a legitimate vehicle for coordinating and conveying community concerns. An advisory committee, therefore, plays a very important role by enabling a community to participate more directly in the decision-making process

Heritage Pickering was re-established in January 2004. Members meet monthly at the Civic Centre from January to June and again from September to November. There is no remuneration paid to the members of this Committee.
* Municipal heritage committees replace the former Local Architectural Conservancy Advisory Committee (LACAC) as the scope of functions have been expanded beyond architectural heritage to include cultural and non-built heritage.

What we do

The role of an advisory committee is summarized as follows by the Ministry of Culture:

  • to advise and recommend
  • to provide knowledge and expertise
  • to facilitate the work of the organizing body by ensuring open and honest representation; creating a climate of consensus; and maintaining the integrity of the committee
  • to be sensitive to the community which it represents
  • to promote good will and trust within the community of interest and the community at large
  • to act as a liaison between politicians, organizational staff, members of the public, and other stakeholders

Currently, Heritage Pickering's goals are:

  1. To raise the profile and build a positive reputation for the Heritage Pickering Committee with key stakeholders
  2. to monitor and make recommendations related to land issues (such as the 407 expansion, airport/federal lands, and Seaton/provincial lands)
  3. to develop a process for and implement the designation of buildings, properties of architectural and/or historical significance
  4. to increase awareness and knowledge of heritage conservation issues.

Specifically, Heritage Pickering is working on the following projects:

Inventory of significant heritage

Beginning in the federal/airport lands, several committee members have undertaken to confirm information contained in previous inventories, revise incorrect or out of date information, add new or missing information. This information was used to identify those buildings that should be designated and therefore, protected within the planning for the proposed airport. A committee member also completed an inventory listing of cemeteries within Pickering.

Establishing communication with key stakeholders

As a newly formed and reinvigorated committee, it was essential to establish working relationships with key individuals and organizations with shared interests in heritage. These stakeholders included the members of Pickering Council, staff in various City departments such as Planning, Building, Clerks, and the Library, contacts with provincial agencies such as the Ministry of Culture, Ontario Heritage Foundation and federal agencies such as Transport Canada.

Monitoring provincial / Seaton land planning

As the Pickering Growth Management Study and the province's Oak Ridges Moraine land swap and Greenbelt study have moved forward, our committee members have attended and participated in numerous meetings and workshops to learn about the plans for the area as well as represent heritage issues in the discussions.

Responding to arising issues

A number of issues impacting heritage arise throughout the year. We respond to requests from the Planning department to comment on development plans.


The committee also completed an inventory of heritage assets located in the Pickering Public Library, and we hosted the Durham Regional Heritage Workshop with participants from Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Clarington, Scugog.

Heritage Pickering has plans to:

  • secure designations for significant heritage buildings and/or areas
  • develop information and education resources
  • continue communication with a number of stakeholders at the federal, provincial, regional and local levels


An important role for municipal heritage committees is to pursue designation under the Ontario Heritage Act for properties of cultural, historical or architectural value or interest. Designation can apply to individual properties or to a whole neighbourhood or district and is usually shown by a plaque on the designated building. Once designated, public recognition for heritage value is achieved and benefits include some protection from demolition or unsympathetic alteration, notification of permit applications related to that building/area as well as a connection to the historical significance of the building.  In some municipalities, designated property owners are entitled to a property tax rebate to assist with the upkeep.  Pickering currently has 17 designated properties/areas.

Council, Municipal Heritage Committee, property owner(s) or the public can initiate the designation process. The process includes a detailed report on the heritage significance, an application to Council, public notice of intention to designate, the passing of a by-law and the designation registered on title.

Visit the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport web site for further detailed information on designations.

Related links

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Ontario Heritage Trust

Pickering/Ajax Digital Archives

Pickering Museum Village

Whitevale Heritage Conservation District Guide

Heritage Permit Application