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Walton Street Heritage Conservation District, Downtown Port Hope

Port Hope, Ontario, L1A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1997/10/06

District Map; Town of Port Hope, 1997
Walton Street
Downtown Port Hope, looking east; Susan Schappert, 2007
Walton Street
Downtown Port Hope, looking west; Susan Schappert, 2007
Walton Street

Other Name(s)

Walton Street Heritage Conservation District, Downtown Port Hope
Downtown Port Hope Heritage Conservation District

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/07/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Walton Street Heritage Conservation District is located in the core of downtown Port Hope's commercial area along Walton Street, between Pine Street to the west and Mill Street to the east. The main thoroughfare is lined with three and four-storey 19th century commercial buildings, broken by historic laneways running north and south. The Ganaraska River intersects with Walton Street at the eastern edge of the Heritage Conservation District.

The Walton Street Heritage Conservation District is recognized for its heritage value by the Town of Port Hope By-laws 44/97 and 45/97, passed on October 6th 1997.

Heritage Value

The Walton Street Heritage Conservation District is one of the best-preserved and most complete 19th century commercial streetscapes in Southern Ontario. Built primarily between 1845 and 1870 alongside the Ganaraska River, the Walton Street Heritage Conservation District developed during a period of significant growth and prosperity that saw the development of the harbour, Grand Trunk Railway and viaduct, and Midland rail lines and roundhouse constructed. The subsequent growth of local industry saw the commercial buildings along Walton Street develop into substantial brick three and four-storey blocks, often replacing the wood frame buildings which had been destroyed by fire or flood. The execution of this formal main street within a third of a century is particularly noteworthy.

The Walton Street Heritage Conservation District also retains a 19th century residential component, with a range of styles that includes modest frame cottages, brick mid-century terrace housing and Queen Anne. Located to the west of the commercial core, these residences complete the picture of 19th century life in an early urban centre, while providing a transitional mixed use for the current neighbourhood. At the west end of the Heritage Conservation District is St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, a significant landmark built late in the development of the downtown core in 1906.

The architectural value of the Walton Street Heritage Conservation District is illustrated in the various architectural styles of the Walton Street storefronts that have maintained a similar scale, site plan and compatible setbacks. The subtle variations of the Neo-Classical, Italianate and late Victorian styles exist in harmony due to their shared cornice lines, continuous fenestration patterns on the upper storeys, and balanced storefronts. The 19th century residences, with their variations in style and building materials contribute to the overall quality of this well-preserved community.

The Walton Street Heritage Conservation District lies at the mouth of the Ganaraska River on the shores of Lake Ontario. The early community harnessed the power of the river for industry, as the harbour provided a gateway to the shipping lanes of the Great Lakes. The village was situated on the Toronto-Kingston-Montreal land route, and subsequently became a hub for the railways. The substantial brick buildings on the commercial thoroughfare were constructed in co-ordinated block designs within a short period of time. The result was a continuous and harmonious stretch of commercial buildings transitioning into residences at the west. The side streets that emanate from Walton in T-junctions, as roads to the north and south, are staggered along the streetscape to avoid traffic congestions and provide continuity to the streetscape.

Source: The Walton Street Heritage Conservation District Study and Plan, By-laws 44/97 and 45/97.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements that illustrate the heritage values include the:
- continuous stretches of three and four-storey brick building blocks on both sides of Walton Street
- similar scale, site plan and setbacks of the blocks
- shared cornice lines and fenestration pattern and storefronts within individual blocks
- location of the district in relation to the Ganaraska River and Lake Ontario
- continuous stretch of Walton Street, with side streets forming T-junctions
- subtle variations of the commercial architectural styles, such as: Neo-classical, Italianate, late Victorian
- various residential architectural styles
- various construction materials of the residential streetscape
- location of the residential area at the western end of the commercial core and leading up the hill to the landmark church




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Heritage Conservation District (Part V)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn
Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment
Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Single Dwelling
Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building
Multiple Dwelling


Commerce / Commercial Services
Bank or Stock Exchange

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Walton Street Heritage Conservation District By-laws 44/97 and 45/97 Heritage Port Hope Files, Port Hope Town Hall, 56 Queen Street, Port Hope Ganaraska Archives, Mill Street, Port Hope

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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