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.
2016 Meeting Schedule for ACO Ontario
January 1, 2016 to December 30, 2016
Schedule of Executive and Council Meetings for 2016. Please open the attached pdf to see the full schedule. This document will be revised periodically as dates and locations are confirmed.
Fall ACORN 2016 - Call for Submissions
"Back to School"
April 12, 2016 to July 29, 2016
Calling for articles and photos for the Fall issue of ACORN on the theme of "Back to School" - the intersection of education and heritage.
Ontario Heritage Conference 2016-Stratford St. Marys
May 12, 2016 to May 16, 2016
The annual Ontario Heritage Conference comes to Perth County for the first time. It is sponsored by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and Community Heritage Ontario. The Stratford-Perth branch of the ACO is taking the lead in planning, organizing and managing the event.
Annual General Meeting
Architectural Conservancy Ontario
May 15, 2016
Architectural Conservancy Ontario will hold its Annual General Meeting in Stratford, Ontario immediately following the 2016 Ontario Heritage Conference.
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.
Draft Culture Strategy Released
Comment Deadline May 13
ACO can take a lot of credit for pointing out the value of built cultural heritage as a foundational element of cultural development in Ontario. Our response was posted on Culture Talks, along with several others expressing concern about the minimal inclusion of cultural heritage. By the end of the process, 6 of the top ten posts related to built culture! We need to keep up the great work. Please read the document carefully, and post your comments. ACO will be preparing a formal response. In the meantime we can pat ourselves on a job well done!
Ontario Heritage Conference Stratford
Preservation in a Changing World
Update on Ontario Heritage Conference in Stratford, a great time in a great place. Lucky us.