As part of the Ontario Heritage Act, the Town of Innisfil may designate areas that possess distinct heritage qualities and characteristics (such as age, quality of buildings, streetscapes and open space) as Heritage Conservation Districts. With this designation, staff can develop and implement policies and guidelines through a Heritage Conservation District Plan.

The plan provides a framework for ensuring that any redevelopment, significant renovations, alterations and new growth within the district boundary is consistent and does not detract from the character-defining elements of the area. It is implemented through the requirement of a Heritage Permit. The Innsifil Heritage Committee advises Council on potential properties and areas fit for Heritage designations.

Cookstown Heritage Conservation District

Innisfil is home to the Cookstown Heritage Conservation District; an approximately 14-block area that surrounds the intersection of Queen Street and King Street. The boundaries consist of the established commercial core and older residential area. Many historical buildings within Cookstown that were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s are located in the district.

Learn more about the Cookstown Heritage Conservation District, including:

  • Boundary map
  • Information for property owners within the district, such as:

History of Cookstown

Cookstown was settled in the mid-19th Century and was originally known as Perry's Corners. By 1847, the hamlet was renamed "Cooke's Town" (later Cookstown) after an early settler, Thomas Cooke. The community flourished as a railroad line ran through the western corridor of the hamlet, creating a vibrant downtown shopping strip for local residents.

Benefits of the Cookstown Heritage Conservation District designation

There are many benefits to the Cookstown Heritage Conservation District to the greater community and the properties located within it. These include:

  • Promotion of heritage tourism, community recognition and heritage-oriented economic development
  • Provide a consistent approach to protecting and enhancing features that give the area a unique identity within Innisfil and beyond
  • Prevent development that does not fit the community
  • Provide opportunities for small- to medium-sized businesses to locate to a community with a unique character and identity
  • Prevent demolition applications from moving forward without a decision from Town Council
  • Properties within districts demonstrate average to above-average value appreciation when compared to comparable properties without such designations
  • Heritage Permits are administered by Town staff and not by other levels of government or consultants
  • Set clear guidelines and policies for new infill development within and adjacent to the area

How the designation can affect your property

There are some special considerations for property owners located in the Cookstown Heritage Conservation District boundary area.

Major renovations and alterations

We encourage all property owners in the district to contact us to determine if a Heritage Alteration Permit is necessary before beginning any major renovations or alterations to your property. There is no cost to apply for a permit and we will work with you to ensure your project complies with the policies and guidelines of the Heritage Conservation District Plan.

Interior renovations

Heritage Alteration Permits are not required for building interior renovations. Heritage Conservation District Plans are generally focused on features that are viewable from the public realm, such as from streets and sidewalks. Policies and guidelines typically relate to a building's built form, facades, street trees, etc.

Contemporary design

The Heritage Conservation District Plan allows for good design in every decade. Heritage character is assessed, and guidelines and policies are developed to conserve and enhance modern contemporary design elements. New development does not always have to be designed in a historical manner. Each individual building requirement is different, depending on its heritage contributions.

Property value and selling your property

The University of Waterloo's Heritage Resources Centre has explored the effects of property values within Heritage Conservation Districts over the past several years. Its report, titled, 'Heritage Designation and Property Values: Is there an Effect?' details the high levels of satisfaction shown by residents living within designated districts and the real estate values that generally meet or exceed the values in comparable adjacent neighbourhoods.

The designation does not change the way properties are purchased or sold. The designation is registered on title to the property.

Cookstown Heritage Conservation District Plan and Design Guidelines

View the Cookstown Heritage Conservation District Plan and Design Guidelines for more information on:

Heritage Conservation Districts in Ontario

View a complete list of Heritage Conservation Districts in Ontario, their main uses and the year that each obtained its designation.