A defined area that is legally protected to manage and conserve heritage resources within its boundary. Each province has unique legislation that enables and/or limits a municipality’s policies for the protection of heritage districts.  These are sometimes called ‘heritage conservation areas’ (e.g. British Columbia) or ‘heritage conservation districts’ (e.g. Ontario).  Calgary does not yet have any municipally designated heritage districts, whereas Edmonton has created a ‘heritage character area’ for Glenora.  In Alberta, the Historical Resources Act specifies the legislative authority that municipalities have to create historic districts.

The word ‘district’ may also be used to identify a particular neighbourhood or commercial area, like the  ‘warehouse district’ or the ‘design district’ in the Beltline, Kensington’s ‘shopping district,’ 17th Avenue’s ‘retail and entertainment district’ or the historic ‘Mission district.’  Used in this manner ‘district’ does not imply protection.