When Is An Old House, a Heritage House?
It has be very common in the past to replace many of our older homes and buildings with newer and more polished versions of what we think the perfect (or most profitable) house should look like. In so many cases we have seen history being replaced by function and profitability.
We List and Sell older homes in the Greater Victoria BC Area and as such we are often asked "what makes an old house a heritage house? and what is the difference.
Simply stated, all heritage designated homes are old(er), but not every old house has a heritage designation.
Having a House/Property designated as Heritage, preserves the features, the historic and or significant legacy of the house / property for present and future generations. In the BC Municipal Act there are provisions that grant Municipal Councils the power to designate property (land and or buildings) as Heritage.
Many of the Greater Victoria Municipalities have Heritage Registers on which current Heritage Designated properties can be found
Here are a few examples:
- Saanich Heritage Property Site
- Victoria Heritage Property Site
- Oak Bay Heritage Property Site
- Esquimalt Heritage Property Site
- Heritage BC Site
- An owner of a heritage building may enjoy a sense of pride and participation in the history of its Greater Victoria Community.
- The Heritage Designated Property is included in the local Heritage Inventory Publications.
- Designation does NOT give the general public access to a property without the owners consent.
- Heritage Designation does NOT affect ownership, and as such does not impede purchase or sale of a designated property.
- Heritage Designation Remains with the Property upon sale and is registered on it title.
- Often (in all cases we checked) the District or City will provide a Plaque to identify the building or site as a designated historic site.
- Heritage Designation of a site or house gives the owner(s) access to cost sharing grants from community heritage foundation to repair, restore or improve the exterior, roof and or foundation of their heritage residence.(applications, approval process and an annual maximum applies in the various communities). Please check the heritage property site of the community you are in for specific application details.
The Common Criteria to Evaluate and Determine if your Greater Victoria Old House is potentially a Heritage House;
- Its Character, interest or value as part of the history of the community.
- How the Property is identified with a person, group or event that significantly contributed to the culture, history or development of the community (locally or otherwise)
- It Architectural Style or way of life to the community
- Use of elements of outstanding attention to Design, Detail, Materials or Craftmanship
- Its relationship to other sites or buildings by forming heritage groupings, clusters, streetscapes or Vista's
- Adding Unique or important (visual) charecteristics to a location, neighbourhood or Community
If you feel that your Greater Victoria old house is possibly eligible to be a Heritage House, the process and journey to discover all there is to know about your old house may be so much fun that achieving its Heritage Designation will become almost an afterthought. We encourage you to find out all you can about your own home or property, we are sure that you will find the experience and results pfanntastic, regardless if your old house is or is not a potential heritage house, being able to tell (and document) its story will ad value and appreciation to your house and its future....Which is never a bad idea....