An increased awareness and concern for the preservation of historic buildings and neighbourhoods led to the passage of the Ontario Heritage Act in 1975. The legislation helped municipalities protect properties of cultural and historical significance and establish municipal heritage committees to advise Town Council on heritage matters.

The Ontario Heritage Act provides the Town of Smiths Falls three ways to recognize and protect properties of cultural heritage value on a municipal heritage register:

Individual Property Designation

Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act gives municipalities the ability to designate individual properties that have cultural heritage value. A property must meet two or more of criteria for designation prescribed in Ontario Regulation 09/06 in order to be designated. 

Heritage Register – Property Designated under Section 29

Nominate a Property for Designation

Listing on Heritage Register

Section 27 of the Ontario Heritage Act allows municipalities to add properties of cultural heritage value or interest to the Heritage Register of designated properties without a designating By-law. Listings under Section 27 are operationally referred to as “Properties of Interest”. A property must meet at least one (1) criteria for designation prescribed in Ontario Regulation 09/06 in order to be designated.

Heritage Register – Property Listed under Section 27

Nominate a Property for Listing under Section 27

Heritage Conservation District

Section 41 of the Ontario Heritage Act gives municipalities the ability to designate areas meeting certain criteria as heritage conservation districts. District designation can apply to a collection of buildings, streets or open spaces that are of special meaning to the community. Heritage conservation districts support an understanding and appreciation of our cultural identity.

The Town of Smiths Falls has initiated a Heritage Conservation District Study in consultation with Stantec Consulting Inc. The study will focus on our Downtown Core and inform whether or not the downtown area meets the criteria for the Town to adopt a Heritage Conservation District Plan. A project page will be launched for this project in February 2024 to provide the public with more information.

Changes to Heritage Property

If your property is listed on the Town’s Heritage Register under Section 29 or 27 of the Ontario Heritage Act, you may have obligations under the Ontario Heritage Act if you are making changes to your property or any of the buildings on the property. Review the Town’s Heritage Register to determine if your property is on the list. If your property is listed, use the drop down menus below to determine your next steps according to the type of heritage recognition.

Designated Property (Section 29)

If your property is designated under Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act, you may require alteration permission. When a development, redevelopment, renovation etc. effects a heritage attribute for a property that is listed in the designating By-law, permission from Town Council is needed to proceed with the alteration/changes. Council requires certain information be submitted to help with the review process and must consult the Municipal Heritage Committee before making a decision.

At this time, the Town does not have a formal application for heritage alterations. Please contact Manager of Development Services Karl Grenke at 613-283-4124 ext 1116 or  to discuss if your improvements are considered an alteration or to begin the heritage alteration permission process.

Property of Interest (Section 27)

If your property is designated under Section 27 of the Ontario Heritage Act you do not require permission to make changes to your property. However, if you are proposing to demolish any of the buildings or structures on the property, you must notify the Town of your intention to demolish the buildings or structures sixty (60) days before your submit your demolition permit application to the Building Department.

Notice of your intention to demolish a Property of Interest must be in writing and may be submitted:

  • In-person at Town Hall during office hours to the attention of Manager of Development Services Karl Grenke; or,
  • By email correspondence to 
Heritage Conservation District

At this time the Town does not have a Heritage Conservation District. A Heritage Conservation District Study has been initiated by the Town to determine if the Downtown Area meets the criteria for a Heritage Conservation District Designation.

Planning staff will launch a project page for the Heritage Conservation District Study in the coming weeks.

Municipal Heritage Committee

The Municipal Heritage Committee is an appointed committee of Council established under the Ontario Heritage Act. The Committee’s purpose is to provide advice and recommendations to Council on matters under the Ontario Heritage Act, to promote heritage conservation within the Town and to provide Council and staff advice on other heritage-related matters. The purpose and mandate of the Committee is determined by Council's adoption of the Municipal Heritage Committee's Terms of Reference.

The Municipal Heritage Committee currently meets at 4:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month in Council Chambers at Town Hall. Agenda packages for these meetings are posted to the Town's Council Calendar the Friday before the scheduled meeting. 

Annual Heritage Symposium

The Heritage Symposium is an annual event hosted by the Municipal Heritage Committee. The event focuses on expanding the local community’s knowledge of heritage preservation and the importance of heritage protection within our community. Each year’s event explores heritage preservation and conservation themes through presentations, discussion and tours.

On October 23, 2023, the Municipal Heritage Committee hosted the annual Heritage Symposium "Big Plans for Old Places". Recordings from our guest speakers are available by email request to


Municipal Heritage Committee Members:

The following are appointed members of the Municipal Heritage Committee:

  • Chair, Dorothy Hudson
  • Councillor Chris McGuire
  • Lorraine Allen
  • Jenny Davis
  • Klaas Vandermeer

The Municipal Heritage Committee currently has vacancies for members of the public interested in contributing to the work of this group. Please visit the Committees of Council/Advisory Boards webpage for more information and/or a copy of the Committee application. 

Municipal Heritage Committee Mission Statement:

The Smiths Falls Municipal Heritage Committee is committed to continuing the identification and preservation of buildings, structures, features and lands that are of cultural and/or historical value or interest and to initiating and promoting a conservation ethic and climate of responsible stewardship of the community’s cultural heritage assets.


Photo Gallery: 2024 Heritage Highlights will appear here on the public site.
2 Russell Street East

This building was originally constructed for the Canadian Bank of Commerce in 1913 (Now known as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce [CIBC]). The building was designed by Scottish-born architect, Victor Daniel Horsburgh who was appointed in 1910 to design many new branches for the bank. Victor was required to follow the bank’s design requirements which included designing home accommodations within the building for the bank manager. This was common for branch designs in smaller communities such as Smiths Falls.

The building itself features characteristics of Edwardian Classicism. This is presented by the structure’s straight roof line, simple detailing, many windows and plain stone lintels.

7 Russell Street West

7 Russell Street West

What you know as Davidson’s Courtyard is actually named after Davidson’s Bakery which was established in 1889. The bakery initially consisted of a brick home in which the Davidson family lived in the upper level with the bakery downstairs. The backyard featured a beehive oven where bread was baked.

As years went on, the owner’s son took over the business and expanded building the larger square brick building in 1922 and an addition to the east side of the building in 1927. The many expansions resulted in the present courtyard configuration with the building enclosing the courtyard on three sides with the open end facing the street. These renovations and expansions have made the original bakery unrecognizable today.

Do you have a historical photo of this building? We want to hear from you. Please contact us at

4-16 Main Street East

In Smiths Falls, commercial buildings were typically set close to the edge of the property line with the sides of the buildings unadorned to provide opportunity for additions or new commercial buildings to connect. The area addressed as 4-16 Main Street East along the north side of Main Street East is an excellent example of unadorned building sides making room for new infill buildings.

Furthest to the west (toward Beckwith Street) sits 4-6 Main Street East known as the McGillivray Block. The original assessment records note that the property was initially owned by shoemaker John MacGillivray Sr. The building was constructed in the 1870s and is said to have housed the Apothecaries Hall, the oldest established business in Town.

Centrally located on this block is an 1886 commercial building originally constructed as a branch for the Union Bank at 8-12 Main Street East. This building presents unique architectural features of its time such as the rounded upper storey windows and ornate brickwork which separates the building from its neighbours.

14-16 Main Street East brackets the east side of the Union Bank creating a heritage streetscape. The building was constructed by J.D. Lamb, a merchant and tailor, sometime before the 1890s. The property was used as the J.D. Lamb Store until it later became known as the Foster and Graham Store.

Although these three buildings were constructed over a period of several years, the buildings respect one another’s’ architectural style featuring similarities such as rounded window heads, ornate brackets, and a contrast of brick colours.

23-29 Beckwith Street North

This stone building is one of the remaining buildings from “Millionaire’s Row”. The building escaped destruction by fire, which unfortunately was the fate for many original commercial buildings along the east side of this area of Beckwith Street.

The location of the property along the Town’s main street, Beckwith Street, and the building’s set along the property lines suggests that this property has always been intended for commercial use. Assessment records dated back to 1856 indicate that the property has been owned by several businessmen prominent in their time with occupants such as the Bell Telephone Company listed as upper floor tenant in 1899 and 1905.

Today, this building is legally two separate properties known as 23-25 Beckwith Street North and 27-29 Beckwith Street North. The building consists of upper stories residences and commercial units on the ground floor.

21 Market Street North

Did you know that the location of Rotating Rug Rentals (RRR) was a car dealership at one time? It’s true! Originally named the Chalmers Building, by 1937 this property housed the Clark and Lewis Ford Dealership. The evidence? There is an existing vehicular ramp inside the building which was used to relocate vehicles from the first to the second storey of the building.

Following, the Corporals Guard from Kingston took ownership and turned it into an armoury. The armoury was used by the Royal Canadian Dragoon’s until 1960 to train military persons to march and handle weaponry. We suspect this property was called the “Armoury” when Frost and Wood, future owners of the property, began manufacturing activity for World War 2.

Do you have a historical photo of this building? We want to hear from you. Please contact us at

11 Market Street South & 30 Chambers Street

Although separate properties today, rumour has it that these two buildings may have been connected at one time. It is believed that these properties were originally constructed as inns or taverns. This belief originates from the built forms of the structures. Around the time of the original construction, commercial buildings within the Smiths Falls area were often set close to the property lines, resembling similar design characteristics to was seen in Scotland, England or Ireland.

The earliest ownership records for these properties date back to the 1850s, roughly 20 years after the buildings were constructed. In the 1850s, 30 Chambers Street was known as the Pig’s Ear Tavern with rooms on the upper storey to rent. In 1863, 11 Market Street South was owned by William Garvin and used as the Rideau Hall hotel. The two original buildings are assumed to have been joined in the 1870s that later became the Albion Hotel.

Contact Us

Municipal Heritage Committee
77 Beckwith Street North
Smiths Falls, ON, K7A 2B8
Phone: 613-283-4124 Ext. 1136

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