The St. Thomas-Elgin branch was founded in April 2009 very much out of the ashes of Alma College, the renowned private girls school that was the city's crowning heritage jewel. The college was a victim of arson following years of neglect by its owners and inaction by various levels of government.
Former Branch president Suzanne van Bommel and past president Dawn Doty were at the forefront of community action to save the building, winning ACO recognition as a result.
St. Thomas and Elgin are at the centre of a rich railway heritage which has left behind a handful of important landmarks such as the Michigan Central Locomotive Rail Shops (now the Elgin County Railway Museum) and the famed Canada Southern Railway Station, now undergoing a major restoration as a community meeting space and home of the North American Railway Hall of Fame.
Although no complete inventory exists, the county has a rich collection of heritage buildings dating back to the 1820s. A local favourite is Old St. Thomas Church, built in 1822.
Many heritage buildings are at considerable risk due to a lack of municipal standards for upkeep. Of particular concern at present is the fate of a fine collection of late 19th century schools which are being slowly replaced by the Thames Valley School Board.
2017 Meeting Schedule for ACO Ontario
January 30, 2017 to December 30, 2017
Schedule of Executive and Council Meetings for 2017. Please open the attached pdf to see the full schedule. This document will be revised periodically as dates and locations are confirmed.
ACO EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR BILL C-323
Bill establishes tax credits for rehabilitation of historic properties
ACO supports Private Member's Bill C-323, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Rehabilitation of Historic Property), which will receive second reading in the House of Commons on February 10. This bill will establish a tax credit for expenses related to the rehabilitation of a historic property. It also establishes a tax deduction for the capital cost of property used in the course of such a rehabilitation.
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.