Open City

Mapped: Hamilton's Heritage Interest Properties

By Joey Coleman
Published May 24, 2011

A few weeks ago, Matt Jelly requested from the City of Hamilton a list of all the heritage properties in Hamilton. The city responded promptly by providing a list of buildings of heritage interest to city staff.

Jelly provided the list to me for the Open Hamilton initiative.

Below, you'll find all 7,490 buildings of interest plotted on a map. The map is a work in progress and I will be adding options over the next week.

The properties are not designated heritage properties, which is a legal categorization. Rather, they are of heritage interest. Some are being considered for designation, but the overwhelming majority are not.

You can also download the tabular data in CSV or Excel format.

originally posted on Joey's website

Joey Coleman covers Hamilton Civic Affairs.

Read more of his work at The Public Record, or follow him on Twitter @JoeyColeman.

21 Comments

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By Good but... (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 00:55:57

This is great but without more information than what's provided by the Google bubbles somewhat silly. WHY are these locations designated? Without that information, they're simply red dots on a map. I love the direction that things are going here but can't see how it's going to inform us to participate in a debate in it's present state. That said, please keep up the good work going forward one and all!

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By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted May 25, 2011 at 09:17:43 in reply to Comment 63948

Agreed.

I'm requesting further information from the City of Hamilton.

The data I recieved was a list of addresses. This is a good first step, but only a first step.

I eventually wish to use the Google Fusion API to power each bubble as a form that people can "claim" their house with. Once claimed, they can add a story and photo to the information about the house.

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By It's only the start (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 07:39:03

Well, you have to start somewhere, with red dots on the map. It's only the matrix, it's not the end game--such is the "fluid" nature of the Internet. (It'd be more galling were it on printed page.) At the very least, it gets one thinking...

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted May 25, 2011 at 09:38:12

Is it just me, or does it look as it there's almost no heritage sites on the mountain south of the brow?

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 09:39:47 in reply to Comment 63960

if post-war bungalows and box stores ever become heritage sites there will be plenty. lol

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 10:06:46

Looks like someone got tired of identifying properties south of York Blvd in Strathcona. lol. One of the oldest hoods in Hamilton, but far less homes on the list compared with north of York and south of King. Great map. Nice to see that cluster downtown. We've still got a lot of great buildings worth saving and redeveloping.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 11:09:25

Seems, all it takes is having your home on a "Heritage Interest Property" is to have your home on large boulevard, St. Clair.

Too bad for all those with nice, even older and in many cases more significant homes on neighbouring streets. I mean there ia a home on Proctor which has a smaller boulevard, where the first black MP in Canada lived (Linc). I thought that would perhaps buy you heritage interest, but I guess not...

I'm going to guess this list will contain lots of 'head scratchers'.

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By bill n (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 12:17:26 in reply to Comment 63966

Formally designating a property under the Ontario Heritage Act is a fairly involved process, requiring many hours of research by volunteers and City staff, reports, ecommendations to Council, etc. So that undesignated heritage properties don't get overlooked or fall through the cracks, the Act allows the municipality to maintain a less rigourously researched and less formal inventory or register of properties of interest. It functions as a list of potential candidates for more research/designation, and often serves as a red flag to City planning staff when making planning/redevelopment decisions. Most of the listed properties probably won't ever make it to the designation stage, and there is no legal encumbrance on the owner.(In fact, I see from the map that my home is included, of which I was unaware.) Some probably get included because they are part of an historically important neighborhood or district, and might be dropped from the list once building by building research is done. Oh, and citizens can propose that a building be designated. Linc's birthplace would be a very worthy historic marker!

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By jonathan (registered) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 14:07:37 in reply to Comment 63970

Funny...on a street filled with red dots, mine and my neighbour's are the ONLY ones NOT listed :D

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By Steve (registered) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 13:01:21 in reply to Comment 63970

Linc wasn't born in Hamilton, he was born on Draper Street in Toronto. Off Front Street, between Spadina & Bathurst, that whole street has markers.

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By bill n (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 13:40:54 in reply to Comment 63971

I'm happy to have my knowledge of a great public figure enhanced, but my point remains. Any citizen could nominate his home for designation.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 16:27:44 in reply to Comment 63975

I getch ya. I just didn't want people to think I was saying Linc was born on Proctor.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 11:46:23 in reply to Comment 63966

St Clair is a designated heritage preservation district so this may explain why all the homes are listed. Neighbouring streets are not in the historic district.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 13:02:51 in reply to Comment 63969

Kind of my point. Designated for really no reason, other than it's a double wide street with a nice wide boulevard.

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By bill n (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 13:49:04 in reply to Comment 63972

Excerpted from the "reasons for designation":

...(its) period design homes, wide tree lined avenue and centre landscaped boulevard reflect the influence of the "City Beautiful Movement" on early 20th century residential development...

So the boulevard is part of the reason, but not the only reason. BTW, a building or district doesn't have to be grand to be considered for designation. My house is a very plain, smallish house c.1890, but is of interest because it represents the lifestyle of the Irish railway workers who lived in Corktown.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 15:54:04 in reply to Comment 63976

I've made some minor change for my street/neighbourhood;

its) period design homes, tree lined avenue reflect the influence of the "American Four Square" architectural movement on early 20th century residential development...

So large swaths of the historic city could be named. :)

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By bill n (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2011 at 18:01:10 in reply to Comment 63984

Yes, there's a lot of interesting buildings and neighborhoods in old Hamilton and its suburbs.If you are really interested, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism & Culture has an excellent (free!) publication called "The Ontario Heritage Toolkit". I believe it's also on-line. There is a very well written and easy to understand explanation of the whole designation process.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted May 26, 2011 at 09:23:00

Thanks Joey. Indeed, a great beginning.

The City's listing of properties which have been formally "designated" provides a lot of very interesting information about each property. It will make a good addition to/expansion of the work you are doing.

My heartfelt thanks to all of the people who are investing their time and energy helping to make City data available and useful.

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By W.Entworth (registered) | Posted May 27, 2011 at 11:05:31

The pdf version of the inventory at http://www.hamilton.ca/CityDepartments/P... explains some of the criteria used: "The new City inventory comprises all those heritage features previously identified and documented by the former municipalities that now comprise the City of Hamilton as follows: • Town of Ancaster (Untitled collection of research reports prepared for the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee, 1976-1985), • Town of Dundas (Inventory of Buildings of Architectural and Historical Significance in Dundas, January 1996), • Town of Flamborough (Flamborough LACAC Building Survey, 1982 and LocaI Architectual Conservation Advisory Committee, 1991, Historic Building Survey of The Town of Flamborough), • Township of Glanbrook (Comprehensive Historical Inventory, September, 1984), • City of Hamilton (Inventory of Buildings of Architectural and Historical Interest, December 2000 and Inventory of Cultural Heritage Landscapes, March 1999) and • the City of Stoney Creek (Potential Sites of Historical and/or Architectural Value, May 2000). There will be additions to the inventory as survey work continues over the coming years. The inventory is not to be considered as a flxed or complete list. It will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis in order to include additional heritage features and to document or note any features that may have been destroyed."

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By Old House (anonymous) | Posted March 07, 2012 at 13:00:59

It's interesting because my home is on this list and I don't know why. What do we have to do to find out what made our house qualify to be on the list?

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By Unknown Origin (anonymous) | Posted April 20, 2013 at 13:48:47

I was told that the origin of the city's list of historical homes was that they paid a summer student to walk around the neighbourhoods and write down the addresses of any homes that looked to be of a certain age. The reason some of the more northern neighbourhoods are underrepresented is that the student didn't get there before the summer ended. I'd have thought they could have simply run a filter through the land registry to see any houses built before an arbitrary date, say 1913 since that's 100 years ago, but perhaps that information is not available for this purpose, or is inaccurate. I know a lot of homes have 1891 as their build year because that's the year the city renumbered a a lot of streets, and therefore the year those addresses appear on the city register, so if you've been told that year for your house, get to the city directories at the library and see what address the people in your house in 1891 lived at in 1890 and you might be able to trace your house back 30 or more years before that. This all said, you do NOT want your house to be officially designated as historical, or else you'll be responsible to up to three levels of government to get approval for any and all modifications, and depending how historical they designate you, they will demand all repairs be done using historically accurate methods and materials, often making any required project cost thousands or tens of thousands more than it would have otherwise. These requirements are sometimes the root of the dilapidation of historical buildings, because owners cannot afford to make the renovations as outlined by committees that make expensive demands of the owners, but in turn offer no assistance in doing so, as although there are some interest free loans and grants available, they are almost impossible to actually actually get.

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