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.
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.
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.
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.