Why Plan for CHLs?

Planning for CHLs provides a number of community benefits. Like historic buildings and districts, CHLs can reveal information about unique and valued aspects of an area and how it has evolved over time. By conserving forms and features that reveal important stories from our past, CHLs contribute to a community's character and sense of place. Quality of life, encompassing a variety of social, cultural and economic benefits (e.g. cultural activities and tourism), are closely tied to the historical and aesthetic values and educational opportunities provided by CHLs.

For these reasons, consideration of CHLs in land use and infrastructure planning is a requirement of provincial, regional and municipal policy. The Provincial Policy Statement requires that significant Cultural Heritage Landscapes be conserved. The Region of Waterloo Official Plan directs area municipalities to designate CHLs in their Official Plans and establish associated policies to conserve these areas. Reflecting this planning framework, Waterloo's Official Plan requires the City to identify and document any Cultural Heritage Landscapes in accordance with guidelines that have been developed by the Region.

What landscapes are proposed to be included on the inventory?

A total of 27 cultural heritage landscapes were identified as significant and are proposed for inclusion on the CHL inventory. A more detailed description of each landscape can be found in Appendix F of the consultant's report:

Residential Neighbourhoods
  • Colonial Acres (WL-NBR-1) is a low density, mid-20th century suburban residential development with post-war veteran bungalows and Colonial Revival style homes. The community first developed as part of the Veteran’s Land Act in 1957 in an effort to provide housing for returning veterans. Subsequent plans for the suburban residential neighbourhood were presented to the Waterloo Planning Board in 1963 and the development again expanded in 1964 through the creation of the Colonial Acres residential subdivision. This residential neighbourhood continued to expand through to the end of 1980s.
  • Erbsville (WL-NBR-2) is a former pioneer settlement, is characterized by low density residential structures, several of which date to the mid-19th century. The former village contained a cluster of non-Mennonite immigrants, mainly European Germans, who developed the area post-1835. Natural features of the Erbsville area include Laurel Creek, two Environmentally Sensitive Policy Areas, a portion of Erbsville Park, and the Wideman Tributary.
  • MacGregor-Albert Neighbourhood (WL-NBR-3) is the only Heritage Conservation District (HCD) in the City of Waterloo. Located adjacent to the commercial core of Uptown Waterloo, the neighbourhood is characterized by single detached houses constructed around a 19th century street plan. It is the city’s oldest residential neighbourhood and was established in conjunction with the expansion and development of King Street north of Abraham Erb’s mill. Due to its long period of development, the neighbourhood’s buildings represent a diversity of ages and architectural styles. 
  • Mary Allen Neighbourhood (WL-NBR-4) is located southeast of Uptown Waterloo, is a distinctive, older inner-city residential area that developed largely between 1880 and 1920. It is one of the city’s oldest residential neighbourhoods and features a diversity of architectural styles, including Queen Anne Revival, Berlin Vernacular, Italianate and Ontario Gothic. The neighbourhood includes three churches, a school, a public park and is bisected by a historic rail line.
  • McDougall Road (WL-NBR-5) is a residential neighbourhood spanning from Erb Street West to Shakespeare Drive, is an organically evolved neighbourhood with a diversity of residential architectural styles. Some of the homes were originally constructed as summer cottages and have since been transformed into year-round residences. The neighbourhood’s topography is hilly and contains mature trees, garden plots, as well as wildlife including deer and pheasants. The roadways are narrow with a rural cross section that does not include sidewalks, a unique streetscape design remaining in the predominantly urban fabric of the City of Waterloo.
  • Menno Euclid Neighbourhood (WL-NBR-6) is representative of an early residential neighbourhood built around a 19th century grid street pattern in the City of Waterloo. The landscape is predominately composed of modest, single detached homes constructed between the 1860s into the early 20th century. The neighbourhood is historically associated to Waterloo’s early manufacturing industries, and physically and functionally linked to one of Waterloo’s most significant industrial employers, the Seagram Distillery.
  • Veterans' Green (WL-NBR-7) is a 50-unit affordable housing complex comprised of 12 two-storey townhouse buildings. Representative of victory housing, the design of the complex is simple and compact and set amongst open manicured green space. It is one of Ontario’s first housing projects designed for returning veterans from World War II.
  • Westmount Neighbourhood (WL-NBR-8) is located west of the commercial core of Uptown Waterloo, is characterized as an upscale garden suburb with curvilinear streets with boulevards. Initiated in 1912, the land was assembled by industrialist/developer Talmon Rieder, who was influenced by the City Beautiful movement and the designs of the Mont Royal and Westmount neighbourhoods in Montreal. The neighbourhood continued to develop until the mid-20th century and reflects a variety of architectural styles as a result.


Commercial, Industrial and Retail Landscapes

  • Commercial Core (WL-COM-1) is located along the King Street corridor between William Street and Young Street, has served as Waterloo’s commercial centre for over 200 years. It contains a wide-range of building styles and spaces, including those from Waterloo’s early settlement period. The area is an evolving CHL containing contemporary buildings, public spaces and streetscapes that reflect present day social, cultural, economic and transportation needs.
  • Seagram Lands (WL-COM-2) are located on the site of the former Seagram Distillery (in operation from 1857 to 1992) in Uptown Waterloo. The landscape contains five designated industrial buildings from the former distillery. As the Seagram company became the world’s largest producer of spirits, these remaining structures define the historic industrial character of the City as a manufacturing powerhouse of the 19th and 20th centuries. 
  • Sun Life Financial Office (WL-COM-3) represents the headquarters of the city’s first life insurance company, the former Mutual Life head office, and a grand example of the Renaissance Revival style of architecture within a Beaux Arts designed landscape in the City of Waterloo.
  • Uptown Cultural District (WL-COM-4) contains a concentration of award winning historic and contemporary buildings that serve as a focal point for arts, culture, innovation and research. Centred around the intersection of Caroline Street and Erb Street West, the landscape represents a unique expression of the evolution and contemporary adaptation of a 19th century landscape.
Institutional Landscapes

  • University of Waterloo (South Campus) (WL-INS-1) the 237-acre South Campus, centred on Ring Road, is directly associated with local community builders, the creation of higher education and the establishment of the City of Waterloo as a globally recognized Intelligent Community. Several significant architects designed the campus’ modern and contemporary buildings in a variety of architectural styles, set within a complementary designed landscape.
  • Wilfrid Laurier University & Martin Luther University College (WL-INS-2) form an evolving post-secondary landscape north of the commercial core of Uptown Waterloo. Founded in 1911 as the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Canada, the Martin Luther University College was the first post-secondary institution in the city and the landscape continued to evolve as Waterloo Lutheran University became Wilfrid Laurier University in 1973. The institutions developed in conjunction with the urban development of Waterloo and pioneered the city’s reputation as a hub for post-secondary education.
  • William Street Pumping Station (WL-INS-3), built in 1899, was the first pumping station constructed in Waterloo and is associated with the town’s early urban and economic development. Pressure to develop a reliable water system came from the need for better fire protection and the increase in water demand as a result of a surge in industrial growth and population increases in the latter part of the 19th century. The architectural details of the structures on site are consistent with the Victorian Industrial style, a design commonly used for utility buildings during this era. 
Cemeteries

  • Mennonite Meeting House & Cemetery (WL-CE-1) contains a simple, Georgian-style meeting house as well as an adjacent cemetery. Constructed in 1848, the meeting house exemplifies the style and materials of 19th century Mennonite meeting houses in Ontario and yields information that contributes to an understanding of the region’s early Mennonite community and culture. It is the city’s first Mennonite meeting house and cemetery and last remaining early Mennonite meeting house. 
  • Mount Hope Cemetery (WL-CE-2) is a large, multi-denominational cemetery established in 1867 containing the gravesites of Waterloo’s early settlers and prominent local families. The cemetery forms part of the larger park-like Mount Hope cemetery that includes lands in the City of Kitchener
Parks, Natural Areas and other Public/Private Open Space

  • Forested Hills (WL-OPS-1) is the largest woodland in the City of Waterloo. Located on the west side of the city, the Waterloo Moraine and the Forested Hills Environmentally Sensitive Protection Area (ESPA 19) contains a rolling landscape with hardwood forests, wetlands, rare plants, migratory breeding birds and other wildlife. It provides over 12 kilometres of walking and hiking trails, including Waterloo GeoTime Trails and associated interpretive signs.
  • Grand River Corridor (WL-OPS-2), including the Walter Bean Trail, Kaufman Flats, Kaufman Estate, forms part of a larger river system that has played a significant role in sustaining and enriching the lives of indigenous peoples, non-indigenous settlers and present day residents of the region. Archaeological evidence and oral histories point to the Grand River and its banks as a critical resource and place of cultural importance for indigenous peoples. Early urban settlement and growth in Waterloo was also dependent on the Grand River for a variety of functions including industrial power and transportation. The Grand River Corridor continues to be valued for its natural heritage features and ecosystem services, aesthetic and scenic qualities, recreational opportunities, and historic relationships. The adjacent Walter Bean Trail and Kaufman Flats support the river corridor by buffering it from adjacent development and providing opportunities to view and access the river. The Grand River in its entirety has been designated a Canadian Heritage River.
  • Heritage Green Park and Brewmeister's Green Park (WL-OPS-3) serve as one of Waterloo’s earliest public spaces. The parks include green space, landscaped flower beds and outdoor furniture. A fountain is located in what is now Brewmeister’s Green Park and dates to 1950, replacing the original circa 1900 fountain that fell into disrepair. A commemorative plaque and a large glockenspiel in a gazebo are also located in Brewmeister’s Green Park.
  • Waterloo Park (WL-OPS-4) is located on 116 acres northwest of the commercial core of Waterloo, is characterized by its built heritage and commemorative elements, outdoor recreation opportunities and natural features such as Silver Lake and Laurel Creek. Opened in 1894, Waterloo Park was the first municipal park in the Village of Waterloo and one of the earliest established in Ontario. Although land use changes and development have occurred in the urban core surrounding the landscape, the park has evolved while maintaining its historic presence, many built and natural elements and opportunity for recreation in the city.
  • Westmount Golf & Country Club (WL-OPS-5) is located adjacent to the Westmount neighbourhood of Waterloo, is a 64 ha private golf course that spans the border of the Cities of Waterloo and Kitchener. Established in 1929, it was designed by renowned Canadian golf course architect, Stanley Thompson. The landscape provides an important open space in the context of its setting adjacent to Waterloo’s urban core.
Agricultural Landscapes

  • Elam Martin Farmstead (WL-AGR-1) is a sixth-generation Mennonite farmstead that was founded in 1820. The property contains 14 structures and several landscape elements, including orchards (fruit trees), a treed farm lane, kitchen garden and fence line on an 18.5 acre heritage landscape. The buildings and layout that make up the farm complex demonstrate the Mennonite Old Order way of life as its built and natural elements were constructed to service the needs of a large, immigrant family.
  • Former Snyder Farmstead (WL-AGR-2) is associated with the Snyder family, one of the earliest Pennsylvania German Mennonite families to settle in Waterloo County. The property contains a Georgian Mennonite farmhouse constructed in 1877–78, a rare three-storey bank barn constructed in the 1880s, a drive shed and shop, along with other smaller outbuildings and three contemporary structures added to the site as a result of the commercial function of the current property owner, The Timeless Materials Company.
  • University of Waterloo (North Campus) (WL-AGR-3) provides a contrast to the adjacent purpose-built, innovative and high-tech UW South Campus. The landscape contains the Brubacher House Museum (former farmstead), playing fields and natural elements like Laurel Creek, Columbia Lake, the Trans Canada Trail and University of Waterloo Environmental Reserve. Having retained a great deal of open green space, the north campus is reflective of its historic agricultural land use and is associated with early Pennsylvania German settlement practices and culture, in addition to local community builders and the creation of higher education in the City of Waterloo.
Transportation Corridors

  • Iron Horse Trail (WL-RD-1) is located along the former Preston & Berlin Street Electric Railway corridor, links Uptown Waterloo to downtown Kitchener. It is 5.5 kilometres in length and connects Waterloo Park to Victoria Park, providing a scenic and historic recreational amenity for the two cities.
  • Region of Waterloo Railway Line (WL-RD-2), running north-south through the centre of the city, is an early example of a Canadian railway system. Constructed between 1853 to 1856, it was the first railway to cross Waterloo Township. The southern portion of the corridor, now known as the Spurline Trail, includes a 2.5-kilometre multi-use trail that runs along the Waterloo Spur Line. The trail connects Uptown Waterloo with downtown Kitchener in addition to connecting the Trans Canada and Iron Horse Trails.

What does it mean if I own property within a proposed CHL?

The inventory of significant CHLs will not automatically provide protection to a landscape or its features. Rather, the inventory will identify landscapes that are important to the community and that should be the focus for future planning studies and initiatives. Future planning studies and initiatives will include more detailed assessments of each CHL and recommended actions to promote, enhance or conserve each CHL. Final plans or actions would involve additional public consultation and require council approval.

Recommended actions could include enhancement of a CHL through interpretive signage and streetscaping initiatives; incentives to encourage conservation, such as grant programs or tax incentives; management of change through area specific design guidelines, zoning or site plan control; and protection of key heritage resources through designation of an individual property or heritage conservation district.

Possible CHL Plan outcomes