Anshu Arora LLM, MSc, PMP

Cell 604-828-7331 |

Protecting Heritage Sites in Vancouver through Legal Designation

The purpose of designation is to protect a heritage building from unsympathetic alteration, and subsequent loss of character or value. A designated landscape can also be protected from unsympathetic construction or excavation.

However, some alterations may be required for the ongoing use of a designated building, interior, or landscape.


Buildings, interiors, or landscapes that merit designation are recommended to City Council by the Director of Planning, with the advice of the Heritage Commission.

As part of the designation process:

  • The property owner is sent a notification letter
  • Council places notifications in local newspapers
  • A public hearing is convened

The property owner is compensated by the City for any possible loss in property value, perceived or real. The property owner is also compensated for rehabilitation and ongoing obligations of the designation. Compensation can be in money or - most often - through bylaw relaxations.


A majority vote of Council is required to pass a bylaw designating a building, any portion of its interior, or a landscape. The designation is then noted on the property title. Once a site is designated, the City enacts a new bylaw specifically for that site.


Fore more information, visit City of Vancouver Website