Heritage and Sustainability



Heritage planning and the conservation of our cultural heritage resources are part of the Sustainability, Heritage, Downtowns and Community Development Division and its responsibilities towards the Town of Whitby's journey in becoming a complete, healthy and sustainable community. 

The Division works towards advancing the following key Town Community Strategic Plan Objectives:

  • To promote sustainability within the community
  • To contribute to promotion of a prosperous and diversified economy
  • To preserve and advance Whitby's heritage, cutural and natural resources
  • To establish vibrant and safe downtowns

Whitby is focussed on building a sustainable community by incorporating values which integrate economic, social, environmental and cultural issues.  These are known as the four pillars of sustainability, and they are not mutually exclusive of one another.  The delivery of the Division's mandate around these four pillars requires a number of inter-related disciplines that are supportive and complimentary to each other.

Building Resilience: Practical Guidelines for the Retrofit and Rehabilitation of Buildings in Canada

A major milestone in providing Canadian guidelines and raising overall awareness of the retrofit and rehabilitation of buildings in Canada is the release of the document Building Resilience: Practical Guidelines for the Retrofit and Rehabilitation of Buildings in Canada.  It is a product of the Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Collaboration on Historic Places in Canada Working Group.  British Columbia, Ontario, and Parks Canada led the project.

Building Resilience is a technical document that:


  • offers a useful set of best practices, tools and guidelines on sustainable operations and adaptive reuse or retrofit of built heritage to address pressures to improve environmental performance;
  • addresses perceptions that buildings of heritage value are inefficient from an energy consumption perspective; 
  • presents experiences with heritage buildings as models for maintaining and retrofitting existing building stock generally; and
  • informs and educates other sectors (e.g., development / real estate) on the environmental benefits of building conservation (as compared to building new).


It will be of interest to:


  • persons involved in the conservation and reuse of heritage properties, including property owners, managers, professionals and those with an avocational interest in heritage;
  • persons more generally involved in the green building sector, including energy managers, utilities corporations, planners, building officials, building professionals, facility managers and developers; as well as
  • Government policy developers and facility management decision-makers at all levels: national, provincial, territorial, regional and municipal.


Building Resilience supports and promotes the connection between conservation - continued use and reuse of existing buildings - and climate action.  Renewing, upgrading and adapting our historic and existing buildings, neighbourhoods and communities can play a strategic role in addressing climate change.

But it's not only about buildings of heritage value.  Keeping what we already have and extending its useful life is a responsible approach to energy conservation.  Building conservation and adaptive reuse can help achieve sustainability in the built environment.  This document presents real life examples of existing buildings that challenge the commonly-held perception that older buildings are inefficient.  It showcases buildings of heritage value as models of climate action and presents guidance for effective and sensitive energy upgrades.  It also aims to inform and educate other sectors about the environmental benefits and durability of conserving buildings over new builds.

Additional Information