Ontario was founded in September of 1882 by George and William B. Chaffey. The City was named after the home of the Chaffey Brothers, Ontario, Canada. The Chaffey’s established three principles for the “Colony” that had social and economic implications including a mutual water company concept, a grand thoroughfare, and an agricultural college for general education. Seven mile long Euclid Avenue, with twin roadways and a central mall, was the stately backbone of the Colony. It’s long easy incline, from the Southern Pacific railway tracks on the south to the tableland at the mouth of San Antonio Canyon on the north, was ideal for the development of gravity irrigation. In 1903, Ontario had been declared The “Model Colony” as an Act of Congress of the United States for its innovation, principals, and establishment of a new standard for urban living. The Model Colony stood as a prominent example of a successful irrigation project for many years.
Ontario’s Historic Preservation Program seeks to preserve and protect the significant architectural, historical, and cultural resources, which reflect Ontario’s unique character and heritage. In 2003, the State of California Office of Historic Preservation designated the City of Ontario a Certified Local Government (CLG). The Advance Planning division is responsible for administering the City’s Historic Preservation Program and the Historic Preservation Ordinance. Planning staff, along with the Historic Preservation Sub-Committee and Historic Preservation Commission, review all historic preservation applications, including proposed alterations to the exterior of historic buildings and alterations to public improvements, such as street trees, within Ontario’s historic neighborhoods.
The Historic Preservation Program implements the Historic Preservation Ordinance by processing Certificates of Appropriateness or Waivers for minor alterations, restoration, and rehabilitation, Landmark Designations for local, state, and national registers, historic property evaluations, historic property surveys, and ensuring environmental compliance. The Program offers incentives for historic preservation such as the Mills Act Contract (Preservation Agreements), bronze plaques, and the City Council hosted Model Colony Awards for historic resources within the City.
The Historic Preservation program coordinates and collaborates with the local non-profit Ontario Heritage and other organizations to promote, inform, educate, and celebrate historic preservation and the program.