Heritage assets and the values associated with their protection deserve recognition as they represent a reference point from which cities can look to their past, understand the present, and plan for the future. To strengthen our understanding, this research explores the relationship between Heritage Conservation District (HCD) designation and its effect on community improvement efforts.In doing so, it seeks to explore the reasons for and values associated with the desire for communities to conserve their architectural heritage. The concept of the HCD is also investigated as a mechanism for promoting heritage, and the role of the HCD in achieving revitalization goals is described. Multiple sources of evidence were analyzed to provide insight into these research objectives.Planning and policy documents and mapped census data were examined, and open-ended interviews, community surveys, and field observation were undertaken to investigate the effectiveness of policy implementation and its impact on communities. Markham Village and Unionville, two HCDs located in the Town of Markham, Ontario, serve as case studies and provide a focus on current experienceswithin a real-life setting.