Within the City Development Department, our Heritage Planner focusses on the identification, documentation and protection of properties with historic value in our community.  Our Heritage Planner also chairs the Heritage Pickering Advisory Committee, a body appointed by City Council to advise on heritage matters.

The Ontario Heritage Act

The purpose of the Ontario Heritage Act is to give municipalities and the provincial government powers to preserve the heritage of Ontario. Of primary focus are the protection of heritage properties and archaeological sites.

The Act also encourages residents to participate in the conservation of their local heritage. Under section 28 of the Act, the City of Pickering Council passed By-law 2344/86 to establish a local municipal heritage advisory committee, now known as the Heritage Pickering Advisory Committee.

What is a heritage property?

A ‘Heritage Property’ is a property that has been formally identified by a municipality to have cultural heritage value or interest.  The formal designation is supported by a municipal by-law, passed by a municipal council under the authority of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Formal designation of heritage properties is one way of publicly acknowledging a property’s heritage value to a community. It also helps to ensure the conservation of these important sites for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Properties protected under the Ontario Heritage Act, can fall under different categories, such as designated, listed, and Heritage Conservation District.

The Municipal Heritage Register

Section 27 of the Ontario Heritage Act requires that a municipality keep a register of local municipal properties that are determined to be of cultural heritage value or interest. This register should list all properties situated in the municipality that have been designated by the municipality, or by the provincial Minister.

The City of Pickering Municipal Heritage Register lists properties designated under Section 29, Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. The register also includes property that has not been designated, but that the municipal Council believes to be of cultural heritage value or interest. These properties are listed under Section 27, Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, and require Council approval prior to demolition.

The City of Pickering also has an Inventory of Historic Properties, completed in 2002. The Inventory was created to identify potential properties which may merit future protection. These properties are not listed under the Ontario Heritage Act and have no protection against demolition or alteration.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding these listings, please contact our Heritage Planner at 905.420.4617, or send an email to citydev@pickering.ca

The Whitevale Heritage Conservation District

To ensure the preservation and enhancement of the special character of the Hamlet of Whitevale, on June 7, 1993, By-law 4074/92 was passed by Council, designating the entire Hamlet of Whitevale as a Conservation District.  The Hamlet is nestled in a rural setting and features modest rural homes and commercial buildings. The nature of the hamlet has not changed significantly in character since the late 19th century and the building style remains a mixture of typical rural Ontario vernacular architecture* combined with Victorian influences and materials in common use at the time of construction.

*the phrase ‘typical rural Ontario vernacular architecture’ refers to the three prominent styles of rural architecture used to build homes in 19th century Ontario, including ‘the Suburban Villa’, ’the Small Gothic Cottage’, and ‘the Cheap Farmhouse’.

The Whitevale Heritage Conservation District Guide outlines:

  • the objectives for creation of the Conservation District
  • a description of the character of this Conservation District
  • an inventory of the heritage buildings in the Hamlet
  • mapping to show the location of the Hamlet
  • Heritage Conservation Guidelines for maintenance, repair, restoration alterations,  and additions of buildings and sites
  • how to get Heritage District permits

Alterations to a Heritage Designated Property

Sections 33 and 42 of the Ontario Heritage Act, indicate that a Heritage Permit is required for proposed alterations, additions or demolition to any property that has been individually designated under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act. A Heritage Permit is also required for proposed new construction, changes, additions or demolition to a property located in a Heritage Conservation District designated under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Designated Heritage Properties are subject to guidelines that direct how alterations to the building and site can be carried out.  When considering an alteration to a Heritage Property, the owner of the property is required to submit the proposal to the City for approval prior to commencing work, and may need to apply to the City for a Heritage Permit.

Depending on the scope of the proposed alteration, the property owner may be granted approval at a staff level for minor works. Larger projects may require review for approval through the Heritage Advisory Committee or City of Pickering Council.

Prior to submitting an application for a Heritage Permit, property owners are strongly encouraged to contact Nilesh Surti, in the City Development Department at 905.420.4660 ext 2035 or email citydev@pickering.ca

Types of alterations that may require a Heritage Permit include:

  • Repair, alteration or replacement of exterior building elements including, but not limited to: windows, doors, roof finishes, skylights/solar panels, cladding, cornices, decorative architectural features, porches etc.
  • New signage or the alteration, repair and or removal of existing signage
  • New lighting or the alteration, repair and or removal of existing lighting
  • Additions to a building
  • New garages or accessory buildings on the property
  • New built elements in the landscape including fences or hard landscaping (walkways, driveways, parking pads)
  • Revisions to previously approved permits
  • Work in situations that require emergency repair, or are considered to be Health and Safety issues by the Chief Building Official
  • Construction of a new building or structure (primary building)
  • Removal or relocation of any building or structure
  • Demolition of any building or structure

City of Pickering - Heritage Pickering Advisory Committee

The Heritage Pickering Advisory Committee is a local municipal heritage advisory committee, established by Council under By-law 2344/86. Formerly known as the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (LACAC), the Heritage Pickering Advisory Committee plays a vital role in the research and conservation of Pickering's history.

More Heritage Resources

Pickering Local History Collection Digital Archive

Pickering Museum Village

Thistle Ha’ Farm (National Historic Site of Canada) 

Ontario Heritage Trust

Archives of Ontario – Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industry

Pickering's Historic Hamlets


Balsam General Store

A post office was opened in the settlement in the late 1850s. By the early 1900s, Balsam had a number of businesses including a general store, a flour mill, and a harness shop.


Brougham Bentley House

This hamlet was the geographic and political centre of Pickering Township. Brougham was originally called Bentley’s Corners. Bentley House was designated as a Recognized Federal Heritage building in 1992.


Cherrywood Blacksmith's Shop

Early settler John McCreight settled here (1834) and named the area. Designated buildings include the John Petty house and blacksmith shop. The brick kiln manufactured bricks and tiles. Evidence of the blacksmith’s shop remains at the southwest corner of the Third Concession Road and Rosebank Road and is a designated heritage property. The former place of worship on the north side of the Third Concession Road west of Rosebank Road is made of bricks from the original brick yard. In Cherrywood, a general store remains; buildings associated with the former place of worship remain but are closed and a newer school building has been converted to a place of worship.


Claremont Brock Street South

Settled in the 1820s, Claremont was originally called Noble’s Corners after early merchant Thomas Noble. The name was changed to Claremont with the coming of the post office. Claremont is the birthplace of one of Canada's most iconic artists, Tom Thomson, of the Group of Seven.

Green River

Green River Store and Book Shop

C.L. Burton grew up in Green River. His father ran the general store in Green River (now a used book store). Settled in the 1840s and known then as “Smithville” after the owner of the mill, the village was busy with community facilities by the late 1880s. The hamlet is located at the beginning of the Seaton Hiking Trail.


Greenwood General Store

First called Norwood, the village became Greenwood after Fredrick (Squaire) Green bought and operated a mill there. Green then added another mill, a creamery, and was a justice of the peace. Early township meetings for Pickering and Whitby were held in Greenwood in 1801. The earliest settlers came mostly from Yorkshire and Northern Ireland. John Diefenbaker attended school at Greenwood when his father was the school master at S.S. # 9.


Kinsale Church

The earliest settler in this hamlet was Wing Rogers. Wing Rogers was related to Timothy Rogers who was a first settler in Pickering Township with his large group of Quakers. Kinsale School still stands, and has now been transformed into a daycare centre.


Whitevale United Church

The Hamlet of Whitevale is a designated Heritage Conservation District. The community was first called Majorville, as John Major settled and built the first mill here in the 1820s. Donald McPhee opened a hotel in 1855. T.P. White later built a grist mill, and further developed the community. The first post office was called Whitevale. The old mill pond, located north of the Hamlet, is now a regionally significant wetland. Former mill buildings remain along Whitevale Road.

Historic Pickering Images

Check out this small sample of historic images. More images are available from the archives at the Main Branch, Pickering Public Library in their History Room. For more information about Pickering’s history, contact the library’s Local History and Genealogy librarian at info@picnet.org, or call the library at 905.831.6265.