ACO Cambridge (formerly Heritage Cambridge) was founded in May of 1970 by a group of citizens who were concerned over the demolition of important buildings in the area. It became a branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario in 1971. Its purpose is to preserve the best of our architectural heritage and to encourage new development that acknowledges and reinforces the indigenous character of our community. Such objectives call for an appreciation of what is good and worthy of preservation.
It is the mission of ACO Cambridge to promote the preservation of buildings, neighbourhoods and natural areas that are of architectural, historic and cultural significance; and enhance the unique character and quality of life in Cambridge and North Dumfries.
The organization addresses this mission through a broad list of endeavours. They range from advocacy, by providing a voice for heritage within the community and political forums, through to restoration projects and public events.
Some examples of the projects that ACO Cambridge has been directly involved with include: the adaptive re-use of the Preston School into seniors' apartments; achieving a Heritage District designation for a portion of Main Street in Galt; the restoration of Sheave Tower in Blair (pictured, left); the preservation of McDougall Cottage in Galt; and restoration work on the Gore Cupola in Centennial Park. Other projects have included the creation and installation of permanent historic interpretive plaques unveiled during the 100th anniversary of the Hespeler Reunion; hosting the GRCA Heritage Day Workshop; the development of walking tour booklets that feature historic areas throughout the city; and participation in the first Cambridge Archives Symposium.
The annual Heritage Cambridge Historic House Tour held in May is a community favourite and is supported by the efforts of over 100 volunteers. Heritage Cambridge also helps with the development of the regional "Doors Open" event held in September each year.
ACO Cambridge has also been vocal on issues that will impact our historic landscapes, such as the new Civic Administration Building project; new development height restriction policies; and the demolition of selected buildings.
ACO Cambridge participates on: the Cambridge Arts & Culture Advisory Committee; the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation; the Grand River Conservation Authority Heritage Day Workshop Committee; the Heritage Master Plan Committee; and a variety of other ad hoc groups.
A volunteer based, not-for-profit organization, ACO Cambridge is comprised of a Board of Directors and a voting membership of like-minded citizens that together celebrate the wonderful landscapes, architecture and rich history of Cambridge and North Dumfries.
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.
2016 ACO Awards – Nominations Now Open
Nominate the person, group or project you think should be honoured.
Do you know a Heritage Hero? Do you know an amazing heritage restoration? Have you read a great book, blog, newspaper series, website about heritage? Take time to recognize them – nominate that special person, or that special project in your town for the 2016 ACO Awards. Nominations are due on Friday, September 2nd, 2016. Awards will be given at the annual Awards Dinner at Osgoode Hall, Friday November 4th, 2016.
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.
Interventions to Protect: Panabaker Farmstead
Barn demolished, prior, to consideration of its fate by the Ontario Municipal Board, in spite of opposition by ACO Cambridge and Black Bridge Community Association. Farmstead property to be severed, to allow construction of 39 houses.