Rails of Change: The Hickson Trail Cultural Heritage Landscape Study

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Yeoman, Kenneth Paul
Railway , Railscape , Rural Planning , Planning , Heritage , Landscape
This study presents a cultural heritage landscape assessment of the Hickson Trail. A former railway corridor and associated commercial/industrial node in the Village of Hickson, Ontario have been identified by the author of this study as a potential cultural heritage landscape requiring a systematic evaluation to determine heritage value and whether conservation measures are warranted. As a result, the research questions posed in this study are the following: 1. Is the Hickson Trail (the former Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway) a cultural heritage landscape as defined by the Ontario Provincial Policy Statement?; and, 2. Does the Hickson Trail (the former Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway) merit protection under the Ontario Heritage Act? These questions are posed to provide a cultural heritage landscape evaluation in the context of Ontario’s heritage planning policy regime. The elements of ‘railscape’ are presented by the author to guide both historical research and a landscape survey. A methodology adapted from the United States National Parks Service is utilized as a framework to evaluate the historical significance, integrity and boundaries of the potential cultural heritage landscape. Overall, the study’s findings are that Hickson Trail is historically significant; however, the landscape lacks sufficient integrity to designate under the Ontario Heritage Act.
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