When prominent Guelph businessman Arthur Cutten bought the house on 13 Stuart St. in the early 1900s, the already-impressive property took on a new life.

Built just a decade earlier, Cutten added a two-storey front verandah, a detached garage for a driver and a covered walkway so people could get inside without worry of rain or snow. 

The upgrades made the house a center of attraction in Guelph. It still holds significance in the area today, and that's why Guelph City Council is determined to designate the house as a heritage site.

Doing so would ensure that the house's exterior stays protected from any potential changes by its current owner, but giving heritage status to a building or area isn't just about keeping something just because it's old. In fact, heritage properties can help boost local economies through tourism.

Why designate?

Heritage designations are a cultural mainstay in the region and add to the history and character of local communities.

"If council believes the property cultural heritage value, they have the ability to designate [it]," Guelph senior heritage planner Stephen Robinson told CBC K-W.

The purpose of the heritage designations is often to protect properties that have value to the community, but Robinson says that does not imply that nothing can be done with them afterwards.

"If you want to make changes, they simply need to be appropriate, in keeping with the heritage character of the property and also approved," he said.

Despite their role as monuments to our rich local history, Erin city councillor Jeff Duncan says heritage properties aren't just about keeping something that's old.

He says they also serve as an economic resource for local communities.

"If you think about places you want to stay or visit, they usually revolve around some sort of heritage aspect," he told CBC News.

Hear Adetayo Bero's in-depth report, in the audio below.