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.