Since its founding in 1933 ARCHITECTURAL CONSERVANCY ONTARIO has evolved to facilitate local action backed by the strength of a province-wide organization. ACO is a charitable organization operating through a province-wide network of autonomous local branches linked together electronically through a small coordinating office in Toronto, and governed by an Executive and Provincial Council.
ARCHITECTURAL CONSERVANCY ONTARIO encourages the establishment of branches to monitor local communities to keep heritage emergencies from developing. Each branch has its own Executive. For the most part, branches operate independently, focusing on local issues and programming opportunities, as well as recruiting and supporting local members.
Typical branch activities include advocating for threatened heritage properties, providing conservation advice, publishing a local newsletter, organizing Doors Open events, managing revolving funds for heritage restoration projects, creating fundraising events, developing awards programs, leading tours, and holding antique auctions.
Policies affecting the province-wide organization are set by Provincial Council, which is made up of the Provincial Executive, and representatives (one per branch) of the individual branches. ACO Provincial Council meets four times per year, twice in Toronto, twice in branch locations. These meetings include an opportunity to share information about emerging issues, and a chance to learn from the experiences of other branches in managing similar situations. Often these emerging issues set the province-wide advocacy agenda.
Between Council meetings the business of the organization is managed by the Provincial Executive, which oversees the provincial office and its programs, liaises with the Government of Ontario on matters of province-wide importance, sets up new branches, and coordinates the Ontario Heritage Conference and Annual Awards Dinner.
Provincial Coordinating Office
The provincial office has a small part time staff which co-ordinates province-wide activities, and provides general management. It is supported through branch contributions, sponsorships, an operating grant from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, private donations as well as separate fundraising efforts.
Activities of the provincial office include the provision of insurance, the printing and distribution of brochures, preparing the organizations tax returns, supervising the issuing of charitable tax receipts, liaising with branches, organizing meetings, creating and circulating ACO's journal ACORN twice a year to all members, maintaining the website, managing the PreservationWorks! and Buildings at Risk Programs (formerly H.A.L.P).
The Provincial Executive meets monthly, except in July, August and December.
Provincial Council, which includes the Provincial Executive, meets four times a year in January, March, September and November.
Annual General Meeting:
ACO's Annual General Meeting is held the Sunday morning immediately after the Ontario Heritage Conference in May or June. Essential to the AGM are presentation by the Treasurer of ACO's Annual Consolidated Financial Statement, consideration of changes to the ACO by-law, admission of new branches and the election of new ACO officers.
While Executive travel expenses are reimbursable, it has become the custom for Executive members to donate the cost of their travel to the organization.
For branches and provincial executive are held annually, with officers serving two years terms.
All members receive Acorn twice a year, as well as being able to participate in the activities, both local and provincial, of ACO.
As it costs the provincial office more than the membership fee received to support members, donations above the membership fee are encouraged, and gratefully received.
Memberships run from January 1st to December 31st. New memberships received after September 1st receive a courtesy membership for the last months of the year and renew at the end of the following year.
Membership is offered in several categories:
Is for those wanting to support the work of their local branch. The membership fee is split between the branch and the provincial office. Additional donations can be made to either the local branch or the provincial office.
Is offered for those with an interest in province-wide matters, or who do not have a branch nearby. The full amount of the membership goes to support the provincial office activities.