With literally hundreds of heritage assessments and evaluations behind us, we are frequently consulted by senior civil servants, communities, architects, engineers and developers wanting to make informed decisions on heritage landscapes, buildings and public works. At Contentworks we help clients determine the heritage value of properties and structures, and address conservation requirements — from planning through to development. The foundation of our work consists of solid historical research and analysis conducted in the context of relevant legal and policy obligations. Our advisory services span a variety of situations: from national research on types of historic properties, to in-depth studies of specific buildings, landscapes and public works in a municipal context.
Conservation plans allow property managers to balance the needs of heritage conservation with the ongoing use of a property and its landscape and built features. The process of writing the plan and the plan itself ensure that custodians fully understand heritage values before decisions about site alterations are made. Conservation plans are usually developed by multidisciplinary teams consisting of a conservation architect, heritage landscape specialist and an historian. As cultural resource specialists and historians, we have developed a guide to conservation plans for the Ontario Realty Corporation. We have also acted as project managers or core team members in several planning projects, including the Management Plan for the Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site in Ottawa and conservation plans for large, provincially owned properties.
Many jurisdictions in Canada, such as the Province of Ontario and First Nations bands, include impacts on cultural heritage as an area of concern in environmental assessments. Contentworks has conducted investigations on numerous sites to determine whether cultural heritage resources are present and what mitigation measures need to be developed. When appropriate, we also include archaeological investigations in our environmental assessments.
Heritage Impact Statements (HISs)
As heritage becomes a more prominent issue for localities and developers, our services are increasingly in demand at all stages in the redevelopment of heritage buildings and properties. A typical HIS will examine the bearing of a proposed modification or development on the heritage value and characteristic of a historic place, proposing measures that will reduce the impact or improve heritage outcomes. Some Canadian municipalities, including the City of Ottawa, require Heritage Impact Statements for most developments within designated heritage conservation districts.
Heritage evaluations and reports
Contentworks has provided research, documentation, analysis and writing for heritage assessments on hundreds of buildings – including dozens of Canada’s landmark properties – for the private sector, the federal government, the Province of Ontario and municipalities around the country. Our clientele ranges from individual property owners seeking to make alterations within heritage districts to managers and urban planners who need to understand how heritage conservation goals can be accommodated through normal realty planning and development.
Statements of Significance
A Statement of Significance (SOS) is an integral element to listing a designated heritage resource on provincial, territorial and federal registers. Contentworks has authored hundreds of statements of significance for Parks Canada on properties in every region of Canada, as well as for the Ontario Realty Corporation and Nunavut. We also author SOSs for municipalities.
Sophisticated GIS projects often require content and public engagement support. Contentworks has worked in multi-jurisdictional environments to define mapping needs, determine whether Indigenous communities want to share information, and address issues related to languages, informal place names and boundary definitions.
- Department of National Defence
- Ontario Realty Corporation
- National Capital Commission
- Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
- Parks Canada
- Private property developers and owners
- Public Works and Government Services Canada
- Town of New Tecumseth, Ontario
Project: Ottawa River Parkway Corridor Cultural Landscape Study (2005). Client: National Capital Commission (NCC)
Contentworks conducted a study of the scenic Ottawa River Parkway to describe the role the corridor has played in adjacent neighbourhoods over the years, and in the history of land-use planning within the National Capital Region. The fully illustrated report documents our discoveries, and makes recommendations concerning the management of the Parkway’s cultural heritage value. The study drew on previous work done by the Contentworks team to provide guidance to the NCC on the identification and management of cultural landscapes in Ottawa, as well as on advice from a landscape architect.
Photo: Ottawa River Parkway, Ottawa, ON. Credit: Contentworks Inc.
Project:NTI IIBA Cultural Heritage and Materials Study, 2011. Client: Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
In 2011, Contentworks produced an inventory of cultural materials and reviewed requirements for interpretive materials for a set of communities establishing tourism projects associated with five conservation areas in Nunavut. Our work carefully sifted through archival and published materials to emphasize the value of Inuit informants and perspectives.