Designation of a Heritage Building or Property

Designating a property for protection under the Heritage Act involves a far more formal process than that of listing a property on the heritage register.

Any member of the public, Heritage Committee or Council can propose that a property be designated for protection under the Heritage Act, which sets out six key steps to designating an individual property.

Steps to Designating a Property
  1. Identifying the property as a candidate for designation;
  2. Researching and evaluating the property;
  3. Serving "Notice of Intention to Designate" with an opportunity for objection;
  4. Passing and registering the designation by-law;
  5. Listing the property on the municipal registry; and
  6. Listing the property on the provincial registry.

Unlike the "listing" process, the Heritage Act sets very specific criteria that must be considered when determining whether a property should be designated. Such property would need to comply with at least one of the following criteria:

Heritage Property Criteria
  1. The property features high design value because it offers a rare architectural style, material, construction method, and/or craftsmanship;
  2. The property features high historical value because of direct associations with an event, person or organization that is significant to the community, or it reflects the work of an architect, artist, designer, etc. who is significant to the community; and,
  3. The property has contextual value because it is important in defining the character of an area, is historically linked to its surroundings, or is a landmark.

If deemed worthy, Council will pass a designation by-law that contains information about the property and lists its heritage attributes. This formal step recognizes the importance of the property, protects its heritage value, encourages conservation and promotes knowledge for all such designated properties in BWG.  Designated status provides council with the legal authority to refuse an application for demolition or a request that will adversely change and/or affect the heritage value of a building or property.

Heritage Designated Properties

The following properties in the Town of BWG have received heritage designation, or are going through the process of designation with the approval of Council:​

Auld Kirk building

Auld Kirk (1869)

3380 Line 6

​Designated by By-law 2017-94, December 19, 2017

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The present brick structure is the third church on the site. The first log building was erected by the Scotch settlement pioneers in 1823 and used as a school and church. A frame building was erected in 1827 and served until 1869 when the present church was built. This is a solid brick structure with gothic windows and contrasting white brick for lintels and simulated pilasters. It is a valued and venerable monument to the Scotch settlement pioneers. On April 16, 2019, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Scotch Settlement and the 150th anniversary of the completion of the current brick structure, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, dedicated the new doors of the Auld Kirk. The doors were re-created in their original style by local resident Bruce Chambers, an artisan woodworker with expertise in heritage architectural restoration.

Old Bradford High School

Old Bradford High School (1923)

28 Queen Street

Designated by By-law 2013-54,
May 7, 2013

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The Old Bradford High School's heritage value lies in its strong association with the local community and school board. Many of the area's leading business people, politicians and professionals were graduates of the school. The school is an excellent example of the Classical Revival Style; it is unique within the town and region for the period, scale and execution. The untouched broad front lawn has retained the Old Bradford High School as a landmark. The largely unaltered Greek classical revival building is unique within Simcoe County, and features attributes such as a grand staircase with iron railing, colonnade of Doric column pilasters and tall "Venetian" windows in panelled bays between column pilasters.

Old Town Hall

Bradford Town Hall 
(c. 1862)

61 Holland Street E

Designated by By-law 2014-74,
August 18, 2014

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The Bradford Town Hall has served a multitude of public roles including municipal administration offices, public school and community hall. The Town Hall was one of the few buildings in downtown Bradford that survived the fire of 1871, and for over 150 years has served generations of political decision-makers that have shaped the town's history. The two-storey building features the “classical revival” architectural style, with a symmetrical facade and simplified temple form. ​

Brazel House

Brazel (Brazil/Brazill) House (c. 1845)

4370 Line 7

Designated by By-law 1983-65, November 14, 1983

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​This home was built about 1845 by Irish settler Patrick ​Brazel (Brazil, Brazill). The design and floor plan are similar to other inns. The five-over-five bay front solid brick house retains the fine architectural detail from the mid-19th Century with Upper Canadian craftsma​nship. Some of the specific interior features and detailing are: doors and window sashes, door and window architecture and staircase. Over the years, it served as a farmhouse, doctors' offices, inn, nursing home and is now a residence.

Cerswell House

Cerswell House (c. 1840)

4508 Line 7

Designated by By-law 1986-47,
August 20, 1986 

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The Cerswell House was built in the early 1840s by John Cerswell, a sawmill owner who used his skills to create superior quality​ woodwork throughout the home. The all brick building was originally a farmhouse and is considered to be one of the best examples of 19th Century Georgian architecture in the area. Other special interior features are the original ballroom mantle and fireboard, parlour fireplace mantel, window sashes with glass and hardware, and post and peg staircase. Another brick building, known as the West Wing, predates the main building. It had its own fireplace and it was considered to be a meeting place for the settlers.​

Collings House

Collings House (1878)

108 Moore St.

Designated by By-law 2018-69,
September 4, 2018

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The Collings House is a two-storey brick detached house that was built around 1877. It has always been used as a private residence and has undergone limited alteration, retaining the architectural features typical of the late 19th-Century, including paired second-floor arch windows and a gable end with dropped finial. The first long-t​erm owners of the property were Andrew and Mary Jane Thompson, proprietors of Thompson's Hardware store at the southwest corner of Holland and Barrie Streets. The home became the property of Norman and Jean Collings around 1950. Norman Collings is best known for a brief career in the NHL in the 1930s. The Collings family has a long history in BWG, having been involved in local business and public service.

Elliot-Watters Log House

Elliot-Watters Log  House (1834)

3762 Line 12

Designated by By-law 2007-150, December 11, 2007

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Built by Francis Elliott on land purchased from the Canada Company in 1834, t​his is one of the very few and best preserved log houses in Simcoe County. Typical of this once common form, it is a simple 28 x 20 foot box in dimension, with end gables, fireplace, front door and usual openings. The building is in excellent condition, with original door and window openings and the original field stone foundation. It also features exposed 2nd floor joists showing beaded floorboards, first floor framing, including round log joists lapped into log sills, the original second floor plan with four bedrooms, the original beaded and battened back door with cast butt hinges. ​

​​Parker-Burbidge House ​​

Parker-Burbidge House 
(c. 1830)

3172 Line 8

Designated by By-law 2010-067, August 10, 2010​

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This is a Georgian style home of mud block construction with a later brick veneer. The home was originally a storey and a half structure that was later converted into a two storey mansard style home. The dwelling's cultural heritage value lies with its association with its first inhabitant – Thomas Parker. Mr. Parker was an Irish Palatine and a captain in the militia during the Upper Canada Rebellion. He is the original holder of the deed from the Crown dated 1840 and occupied the land as early as 1827. Thomas Parker was one of the original Reeves of West Gwillimbury Township alternating the position with William Armson for two terms.

​​Gummerson/Thorpe House

Gummerson/Thorpe House (c. 1860)

3176 County Road 27

In progress

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On August 6, 2019, Council ​passed a recommendation to begin the designation process including serving a Notice to Designate and passing a designation by-law.

This agricultural property and farm house was originally owned by Robert Gummerson, and it stayed in the Gummerson family until 1941 when the Thorpe family purchased it from the bank. The original house is a 1.5 storey brick Classical Revival building, with three wings later added to the south. The original building was built to a high standard and retains most of its original architectural detail and design both inside and outside, including original windows and trim.

Address: Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, 100 Dissette St., Unit 7&8, Bradford, ON, L3Z 2A7

Phone: 905-775-5366,

By GHD Digital