Heritage Conservation Districts (HCDs) are neighbourhoods that are protected by a municipal by-law passed by City Council under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act. HCD’s are put in place to conserve and enhance the special character of Toronto’s historic areas and neighbourhoods.

Being part of a HCD ensures that changes in the neighbourhood are guided by a clear planning and permit application process, with area specific guidelines. Property owners within Heritage Conservation Districts may also benefit from the Toronto Heritage Grant Program which can assist with the cost of conservation work.

Property owners within a HCD are required to receive a heritage permit for additions, alterations or demolition on their property. Changes to the interior, changes to the exterior that are not visible from the street, and routine maintenance like painting do not require a heritage permit. Heritage permits are free, and are integrated with the building permit process; only one application is required, and the average time for review of heritage application permit applications is three days.

Recent studies referenced by the City of Toronto indicate that property values are most often similar or higher in HCDs when compared to similar properties in undesignated areas.