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Heritage Planning Program

The Heritage Planning Program of the Planning and Building Department is operated through the aegis of the Community Heritage Commission and Council. The program includes four ongoing initiatives:

Heritage Conservation Projects

Planning and Building Department is responsible for monitoring both privately-owned and civic heritage sites and ensuring their compliance with the City’s bylaws, Heritage Revitalization Agreements and adopted heritage conservation standards. All properties identified in both the Heritage Register and Heritage Inventory qualify for incentive programs offered through the Heritage Planning Program.

Heritage Site Designations

Through the Heritage Planning Program the City of Burnaby has pursued offering incentives, including Heritage Revitalization Agreements for the protection of heritage buildings listed on the Community Heritage Register. The City’s policy is to protect all buildings under municipal heritage site protection under the Heritage Conservation Act. The designation of municipal heritage sites provides for their legal protection. Under the legislation no building protected by a heritage designation bylaw can be altered or demolished. To date Burnaby has protected over 50 structures under Heritage Designation Bylaws or land title covenants.

Burnaby Community Heritage Register

The first Heritage Inventory of Burnaby, titled “Windows to Burnaby’s Past”, was completed by the Burnaby Historical Society in 1985. This inventory was adopted as a working document by the Heritage Commission in 1989. In 1992, Burnaby’s centennial year, Burnaby Council implemented a Civic Heritage Policy and designated over 20 City-owned buildings as heritage sites.

A heritage building or site does not have to be over 100 years old to be listed on the Burnaby Heritage Register or the Burnaby Heritage Inventory. The oldest protected building in the City is the 1891 Wintemute House, while the newest heritage building is the 1965 Baldwin House, a modern masterpiece designed by Arthur Erickson.

There are over 170 resources listed on the Heritage Register and Heritage Inventory ranging from simple workers cottages to mansions and unique structures such as the ‘Swinging Girl’ neon sign. Burnaby Heritage buildings and structures form a valuable record of the development and change that has occurred in Burnaby’s history.  Approximately one-third of these sites are municipally designated and protected by municipal bylaw and listed on the Heritage Register.

The City of Burnaby maintains a Community Heritage Register under the provision of Section 954 of the Local Government Act which outlines that “A local government may, by resolution, establish a Community Heritage Register that identifies real property that is considered by the local government to be heritage property.”

Protected Heritage Resources

There are over 50 heritage resources protected by City Council through Heritage Designation bylaws, Heritage Revitalization agreements and covenants. These individual resources are automatically updated and listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places through the provincial government’s participation in the program, as these properties form part of the British Columbia Register of Historic Places.

The Heritage Register – Protected Heritage Resources was adopted by Council in 2003. Detailed ‘Statements of Significance’ have been written and incorporated into the new Heritage Landmarks database on the Heritage Burnaby website.

The Council adopted Heritage Register - Protected Heritage Resources (updated to 2011), which includes over 50 heritage buildings and structures which are protected by individual bylaws, Heritage Revitalization agreements and Land Title covenants:


It is important to note that being listed on a Community Heritage Register in the Inventory category provides no formal protection for these individual buildings, but recognizes their heritage significance to the community and offers a management tool to be used by the City for future consideration of heritage protection through the implementation of available incentives through the Heritage Planning Program and the City’s civic heritage stewardship program.

This category of the Heritage Register is under continual review and change. As heritage inventory properties in the City are identified for future heritage designation or a Heritage Revitalization Agreement, Council may by resolution add these properties to the Heritage Register - Inventory. When properties are protected through a heritage designation bylaw, they can be re-designated by Council resolution, and listed under the protected category of the Heritage Register. Similarly, if a heritage resource cannot be preserved by the City through offering available incentives, a property could be removed from the inventory through Council Resolution.

The Heritage Register - Heritage Resource Inventory was adopted by Council in 2003 and detailed ‘Statements of Significance’ have been written and incorporated into the new Heritage Landmarks Database on the Heritage Burnaby website.

Burnaby’s Heritage: An Inventory of Buildings and Structures

The City has been using a heritage resource inventory since 1989 to track all of the City’s significant public and privately-owned heritage buildings and resources that are not protected by heritage designation bylaws and not listed on the Burnaby Community Heritage Register. As inquiries are received for these properties the City’s Heritage Planner will review the property’s status and work with the property owner in order to facilitate any proposal for its conservation. Approval of any upgrade of an inventory property to become part of the Burnaby Heritage Register is undertaken with the review of the Community Heritage Commission and Council consideration and adoption.

In 2007 the Community Heritage Commission completed a new heritage inventory “Burnaby’s Heritage: An Inventory of Buildings and Structures” which is the culmination of many years of effort to identify and evaluate the built heritage of the City. This new inventory includes both those heritage resources adopted by Council for the BCHR and properties eligible for inclusion.

It is important to note that listing a property on this inventory does not constitute heritage protection. There are no financial or redevelopment restrictions for private or public owners of heritage resources when a property is listed in a heritage inventory. Rather, the inventory is a heritage management tool which serves the stewardship of heritage resources by providing wider public awareness of heritage resources located throughout the City.

The inventory forms a cornerstone of the City’s Heritage Program to identify and create public awareness of the rich history and architectural landmarks that contribute to the character of our city’s unique neighbourhoods. The inventory was adopted by the Community Heritage Commission and has been incorporated with its historical and architectural information into the new Heritage Landmarks database on the Heritage Burnaby website.

To search for a property listed on the inventory you can search the Online Database located on the Heritage Burnaby Website or review Burnaby’s Heritage: An Inventory of Buildings and Structures.

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