Windsor, Canada's automotive capital, has a proud history that can be traced to the late-18th Century's immigration of French settlers from Quebec and Detroit. These pioneers developed the rich farmland and lent their names to our streets. There were two important Aboriginal villages on our riverfront. The Border Cities of Sandwich, Ford, Walkerville and Windsor amalgamated in the 1930's to form the nucleus of our modern municipality. We are all heirs to this history and, as such, its protectors.
The Windsor Region Branch was formed in 1995 – the result of a few heritage-minded people getting together to save (and eventually move) the Walkerville Town Hall. The old Town Hall (also known as the Barclay Building) was built in 1904, designed by architect Albert Kahn. Ninety years later, with a corporate plan to reduce its heavily taxed physical plant, Hiram Walker & Sons, Ltd. decided to raze the former Town Hall along with the malthouse and the Walker Stores building.
A determined group of volunteers quickly formed the Preserve Old Walkerville committee to try to save the Town Hall. Within a year sufficient funds had been raised to have it moved. Today, thanks to an imaginative and enterprising businessman who purchased it, the Town Hall has been restored and renovated to house a new cultural and commercial attraction. The Preserve Old Walkerville committee became the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario - Windsor Region Branch.
Since then, we have participated in the Walkerville Heritage District Study, made presentations to City Council about the Norwich Block and Riverside Drive East, and did everything we could to save Glengarda for the enjoyment of future generations. In 1999, we sponsored our first Photo Contest -- "Get the Picture!" and, in partnership with CBC-TV Windsor and the Windsor Heritage Committee (WHC), produced 100 episodes of "Heritage Highlights”. Heritage Highlights can be seen regularly on CBC-TV.
From 2001 to the present, we have worked very closely with SOS-Eglises in Lakeshore, going through Superior Court, the Conservation Review Board and the OMB - with an ultimate goal of having St. Joachim and Annunciation Roman Catholic chutrches designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. Mission accomplished!
A major issue at present is Bellevue House in Amherstburg, included in Heritage Canada’s 2009 list of the top ten endangered places in Canada.
At all times, we work very closely with the local Heritage Committees.
The ACO is comprised of volunteers and enjoys non-profit status. We seek new members who share our concern for architectural and landscape conservation in our own special community.
Your membership in the Windsor Region Branch of the ACO will provide the strength in numbers that will permit us to continue these activities, as well as opening up the possibility of offering conservation advice through workshops, conducting tours of heritage sites and publishing material on local history. It will also offer you the opportunity to enjoy the fellowship of like-minded friends.
ACO IS SEEKING A TREASURER
VOLUNTEER COUNCIL (BOARD) POSITION
Do you have a financial background and a commitment to preserving our built heritage? ACO’s Council Executive currently seeks a qualified individual to join the Provincial Council (Board) and to assume the role of Treasurer of the organization.
ACORN MAGAZINE - CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
150 Reflections - ACORN Spring 2017
ACORN is now accepting submissions for the Spring 2017 issue. The theme of this issue is "150 Reflections". Click on this item for details.
Culture Strategy for Ontario
ACO stresses need to build heritage into the Culture Strategy Program
In September the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS) announced a new initiative, the development of a Culture Strategy for Ontario. A series of Town Halls are planned to get our views. Click on this item to learn more.
MP Peter Van Loan Proposes Tax Credits for Heritage Properties
National Trust for Canada is organizing Response
MP Peter Van Loan has introduced a Private Members Bill proposing Income Tax Credits to assist private owners of heritage property with restoration costs. This is good news for heritage, whether or not it passes as widespread support for the initiative may result in either passage or a similar bill from government. National Trust for Canada is organizing heritage organizations across the country. ACO's Policy Committee will be developing a formal response from ACO.