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Heritage as a concept can be understood as a tangible thing such as an object like a building or an artifact and can even be a part of our natural environment, such as a park. It can also be intangible, as in language, customs, songs and oral history. Heritage encompasses the identification, protection and promotion of things that are important in our culture and history. Heritage conservation can include the natural environment, buildings or even whole neighborhoods. One example of heritage conservation as a whole, is downtown Brandon. Revitalizing & protecting old neighborhoods—like downtown Brandon—ensures that our quality of life is improved and that community cohesion is maintained.


"A people without the Knowledge of their past history, origin & culture is like a tree without roots"- Marcus Gravey


Heritage Conservation can be Seen on Multiple Levels:

  •  incentives & fundraising efforts
  • advertisement campaigns 
  • grant programs
  • student internships
  • educational programs
  • tourism programs 
  • marketing strategies
  • & events like Doors Open!

Some Benefits to Heritage Conservation Include:

  • job opportunities
  • increased community revenue
  • community pride
  • increased sense of belonging
  • better understanding of Canadian history 
  • economic development 


The Brandon Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee (MHAC), through the City of Brandon Planning, Property & Buildings Department (PPB), issues municipal heritage permits for work proposed on Municipal Heritage Sites. This permitting process allows MHAC to ensure the proposed work maintains the heritage character of the affected site. To obtain a municipal heritage permit, you can start by completing this application form and submitting a complete application package to PPB. The following is a summary of the municipal heritage permit process that may take about one month at best:

  1. The applicant needs to provide details of the proposed work as part of the application package
  2. PPB reviews the application and provides its analysis and recommendations to MHAC
  3. PPB schedules a date and time for the application to be presented to MHAC
    1. The applicant is required to attend the MHAC meeting to present the application to and answer questions from MHAC
  4. MHAC will deliberate and render a decision, and PPB will relay the decision to the applicant
    1. The proposed work must comply with the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada
    2. MHAC can approve, with or without conditions, or reject a municipal heritage permit application
    3. If MHAC approves an application, PPB will provide the applicant a copy of the permit
    4. If MHAD rejects an application, the applicant may file an appeal, and City Council will make a final decision
  5. The applicant may concurrently apply for other permits, such as a building permit, but approvals for those permits will be withheld pending MHAC’s decision on the associated municipal heritage permit
  6. The successful applicant will have a year to complete the work approved under the heritage permit, including any and all conditions of approval

A municipal heritage permit is not required for the following situations:

  • Any work on a Municipal Heritage Site that is also designated as a Provincial Heritage Site and/or a National Historic Site, and the provincial or federal authority having jurisdiction approves the proposed work
  • Ordinary maintenance or repair of a building, structure or site designated as a Municipal Heritage Site where such maintenance or repair will not alter, demolish, remove, destroy or damage any character-defining elements on the building, structure or site
  • Any work in the interior of a building or structure, unless a Municipal Heritage Site designation protects the interior

Be advised that work on a building or structure may require other approvals, such as a building permit from PPB.

547 – 13th Street
(Lots 14/17, Block 30, Plan 16)
Brandon, Manitoba
Designation Date: October 6, 2003
Designation Authority: The City of Brandon

This 1¾ storey house is believed to have been built in 1881 during the city’s first decade of settlement and was the homestead residence of one the first settlers of the area, James Arthur Johnston. This yellow brick structure reflects a variety of architectural styles, but the tall narrow paired windows at the front of the building and the brick string course suggest that the predominant architectural style is Italianate Revival. The rear of the structure is of brick construction, while the front is a wood frame with a brick veneer. The foundation is a combination of various sized stones and gravel (rubble) with a mortar of lime and sand.

The home has had several owners who were significant to the economic and political development of Brandon. James Johnston was a farmer, cattle dealer, land broker and proprietor of Johnston Estates. He owned some 1,500 lots in the city which he sold as business and residential sites. Johnston was also an alderman on Brandon City Council from 1883 to 1885. The property was then owned from 1902 until 1922 by Archibald Charles Douglas, the County Court Bailiff, and later sold to Marion Doig in 1941. It remained in the Doig Family until 1993. The Doigs have been local proprietors in the City of Brandon since 1906.

This house is one of the oldest single family residences still occupied in Brandon and represents an important feature in the historic development of Brandon and its people.

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Do you have any stories or comments to share about a heritage property in the City of Brandon? Contact us online.