About Cookstown and the Heritage Conservation District
Cookstown was settled in the mid-nineteenth century and was originally known as Perry’s Corners. By 1847, the hamlet was renamed Cooke’s Town (later Cookstown) after an earlier settler, Thomas Cooke. The hamlet flourished as a railroad line ran through the western corridor of the small hamlet, creating a vibrant downtown shopping strip for local residents. The majority of the buildings located along Queen Street, Church Street and King Street within Cookstown date back to the early settlement.
The Cookstown Heritage Conservation District study area comprises of an approximately 14 block area surrounding the intersection of Queen Street and King Street. There are a number of historical buildings within Cookstown built in the late 1800s and early 1900s that were considered in the Heritage Conservation District Study.
The impetus to create a Heritage Conservation District in Cookstown is a strategic goal within Inspiring Innisfil 2020, a community-based strategic plan that has been adopted by the Town of Innisfil Council in 2010. On May 16, 2012, Town of Innisfil Council approved a recommendation to create a Heritage Conservation District Steering Committee to spearhead the search for a consulting firm and manage a Study. The Steering Committee consisted of 2 members of the Innisfil Heritage Committee, 1 member of the Cookstown Chamber of Commerce/Cookstown Property Owner and 1 member of Innisfil Council.
Heritage district designation within Cookstown allowed for the creation of guidelines and programs to provide protection and sustainability of the unique historical assets. The intent of the guidelines is to manage and guide future change of Cookstown through the adoption of plans and design policies which seek to conserve, protect, and enhance the area’s special character.
Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act, 2005 provides municipalities with the opportunity to designate areas that possess a distinct heritage character. The Cookstown Heritage Conservation District boundaries consists of the established commercial core and older residential area. There are a number of historical buildings within Cookstown built in the late 1800s and early 1900s that are located in the Heritage Conservation District. In association with the Heritage Conservation District, a Cookstown Community Improvement Plan has been developed.