Galt Core Heritage Conservation District Project

Project overview

On July 28, 2020, Council initiated a Heritage Conservation District Study for the Galt Core Area in the City of Cambridge. This page is intended to provide information about the ongoing study process, highlight opportunities to get involved, and serve as a resource on heritage conservation districts. Updates will be posted to this web page throughout the duration of the project. To receive an email when an update is posted, click subscribe at the bottom of the page.

Heritage Conservation Districts (HCDs) are areas protected by a by-law passed under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act. HCDs are usually groups of buildings or structures, such as neighbourhoods, which have a unique historic character. District designations are put in place to help conserve and enhance historic areas, guide future development so that it has a positive impact on local areas, and help maintain a sense of place and pride in our unique communities.

There are two steps required to designate an HCD in Ontario. The first is a heritage conservation district study which examines the history of the area and its buildings and structures. The study makes recommendations as to whether the area should be designated as a district and what its boundaries should be. If the study recommends designating the area as a district, the second step is a heritage conservation district plan. The plan is developed, in consultation with the local community, and includes design guidelines, policies for growth and development, and recommendations about heritage permits.

The Galt Core area is currently undergoing the study phase.


  • Galt City Centre has been identified as an important heritage area within the City of Cambridge since at least the 1980s. In 1985, the Main Street Heritage Conservation District was designated, recognizing the significance of a block of commercial buildings on the south side of Main Street between Ainslie and Water Streets.
  • In 2008, The City of Cambridge Heritage Master Plan recognized Galt City Centre as a heritage “character area” and recommended further evaluation.

  • In 2013, the City adopted Downtown Urban Design Guidelines which recommended that the existing Main Street Heritage Conservation district be expanded to encompass a greater area. Main Street Urban Design Guidelines that recognized the special heritage character of Galt City Centre were also adopted at this time.

  • Through 2018, consultation was conducted to determine public support of a potential Heritage Conservation District Study for Galt City Centre and to establish study area boundaries. This consultation indicated public support for a Heritage Conservation District Study.

  • On October 9, 2018 The City of Cambridge Planning and Development Committee approved the commencement of the Galt Heritage Conservation District Study in 2020 subject to future capital budget approval.

  • On 28 July 2020, Cambridge City Council directed staff to commence the Galt Core Heritage Conservation District Study and conduct it concurrently with the Galt Core Area Urban Design Height Guidelines, Growth and Intensification Study, and city-wide zoning bylaw review to prepare an updated, coordinated planning framework for the Galt Core Area.


The Heritage Conservation District Project will be divided into two Phases: A Study Phase (Phase 1) and a Plan Phase (Phase 2). The Study Phase is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2021, and if Council proceeds to the Plan Phase, this phase is scheduled to be completed in early 2022. The purpose of the Study Phase will be to document and evaluate the Cultural Heritage Value or Interest of the Study Area shown below. The Plan phase will only occur if approved by Council based upon the recommendations of the Study Phase. The purpose of the Plan Phase is to create a document outlining objectives and detailed guidelines to help promote development that conserves the heritage values identified during the Study Phase. 

Progress to date 

  • The Galt Core Heritage Conservation District project was initiated in July 2020

  • Consultants, ASI, Fotenn Planning and Design, and Stevens Burgess Architects were retained in January 2021 to undertake the Study and, if approved, prepare a Heritage Conservation District plan. 

Upcoming work

  • The Project Team is currently thoroughly researching the history of Galt to help understand its heritage interest or value.
  • Beginning in February 2021, the Project Team is scheduled to begin surveying the study area to identify important elements that may contribute to its cultural heritage value or interest.

Study area

The Study Area boundaries include the lands located south of Park Hill Road, west of Wellington Street, north of Concession Street, and east of the Grand River in the City of Cambridge.

The study area includes much of the downtown core of the former City of Galt (Galt City Centre). Galt City Centre is a unique community within the City of Cambridge notable for its urbanized mix of commercial, industrial and residential land uses, its important cultural and civic institutions, its distinctive architecture, and its relationship to the Grand River.

The study area is characterized by a high concentration of nineteenth and early twentieth-century structures, including a number of major civic properties designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, such as Historic City Hall, the Galt Public Library, the Old Post Office, and the Fire Hall Museum. 

Boundary Area 

Aerial Map of Study area boundary 

Get involved

Public engagement is an important part of the designation of a heritage conservation district because it helps answer questions you might have about district designation and allows you to identify and protect the things about your area that are important to your community. You are encouraged to get involved in the study process.

Please be aware that in an effort to continue physical distancing and keep our community safe, we will be holding many of our community engagement activities online. If you are not able to access online materials, please contact us for alternate formats. Information about our public engagement sessions, resources, surveys and more will be posted below for you to access. Check back often as this page will be updated regularly as the study progresses.

We will conduct Public information Centres throughout the study process. All residents, property owners, business owners, developers, and any other interested parties are invited to attend and participate in open houses to ask questions, share information, and provide feedback on the study. Public information centres are your opportunity to help shape the future development of your area. Information about the time, date, and location of public meetings will be posted here as they are scheduled.

Current Opportunities

Public Information Centre

Topic: Galt Core Heritage Conservation District Public Information Centre 1

Date: Monday February 8th, 2021

Time: 6:00pm-8:00pm

Link to Register: This is now closed


A Public Information Centre, open house, will be held at the above date and time as a Webex Virtual Meeting. The purpose of the open house is to introduce the Galt Core Heritage Conservation District Study, to create space for attendees to ask questions, and to create an opportunity for attendees to share their knowledge regarding the study area’s heritage, its special places, and its assets that should be managed as Galt continues to grow and change.

The open house is open to all business owners, property owners, residents, agencies, developers, and any other interested parties. Participants are required to register by 5pm on February 7th, 2021 at the link above to attend.

This open house is the first of two Public Information Centres to be held over the course of the study. The first part of the open house will involve a brief presentation by City staff introducing the study, its goals, process and timeline followed by a question and answer period. Attendees are encouraged to submit questions to the e-mail address listed below 24 hours in advance. They will also have the opportunity to ask questions during the question and answer period.  

The second part of the open house provides an opportunity for attendees to share their knowledge about the study area with the consultant team and City staff. It will involve a brief presentation from the consultant team, led by ASI, sharing information collected to date about the area. Attendees will then be invited to join smaller break out group sessions focused on communicating to the consultant team what qualities and places they value in the study area. This information will help shape the consultant team’s evaluation of the study area.

If you require information in an accessible format or accommodation to access municipal services, please contact

For assistance with registration, or to submit questions or comments, please contact Abraham Plunkett-Latimer, Senior Planner, Heritage.

Public Council Meeting

An information report presenting the Terms of Reference for the project will be considered by Cambridge City Council on 16 February 2021. The meeting is scheduled to be held between 5:00pm and 11:00pm and will be livestreamed on the City of Cambridge YouTube channel. 

Documents, reports and updates

Galt Core HCD Goals and Process February 8, 2021

Galt Public Information Meeting #1- Breakout Discussion

Contact information

Abraham Plunkett-Latimer, Senior Planner - Heritage
City of Cambridge, Community Development Department
50 Dickson Street, 3rd Floor,
P.O. Box 669 Cambridge8,Fax(519) 740-9545