Heritage is everything we have inherited, that we value and wish to preserve for future generations. It is a living legacy that helps us to understand our past, provides context for the present and influences the future.
The Ontario Heritage Trust’s origins go back to the 1950s when the Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario administered the provincial plaque program and advocated for heritage. Then, in 1967, with the passage of the Ontario Heritage Foundation Act, the Foundation assumed the role of the previous board and began to carry out its expanded mandate to identify, preserve, protect and promote Ontario's rich and varied heritage for the benefit of present and future generations. In 2005, the Ontario Heritage Act was amended and, along with an enhanced mandate and increased responsibilities, the agency changed its name to the Ontario Heritage Trust. The Trust remains the province's lead heritage agency.
The Ontario Heritage Trust – the province's heritage agency – is dedicated to identifying, protecting, renewing and promoting Ontario's rich and diverse built, cultural and natural heritage that has influenced and continues to shape our society for the benefit of present and future generations.
The Trust’s logo captures its extensive mandate through four graphic components:
The Ontario Heritage Act came into force in 1975, and has been amended on numerous occasions, most significantly in 2005. It gives municipalities and the provincial government powers to preserve the heritage of Ontario. The legislation also mandates the Ontario Heritage Trust, a Crown agency. For complete details about the act, visit the Ontario e-Laws website.
The Trust's headquarters are located in downtown Toronto at 10 Adelaide Street East. Contact us …
The Trust holds 27 built, cultural or archaeological heritage sites for the people of Ontario – from a restored 19th-century pharmacy to an Edwardian mansion … from an early fur-trading post to the world's last operating double-decker theatre … from a former slave's and leading abolitionist's house to the former home of a Father of Confederation. Eleven of these properties have also been designated as National Historic Sites.
Properties such as Fulford Place in Brockville, the Niagara Apothecary in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site in Dresden and Macdonell-Williamson House in East Hawkesbury attract thousands of visitors each year. Some sites serve as museums, reception venues, offices and film locations, used and enjoyed by the people of Ontario and visitors to the province.
The Trust also holds more than 160 natural heritage properties, including 115 properties that are part of the Bruce Trail.
Protected land includes the habitats of endangered species, rare Carolinian forests, wetlands, sensitive features of the Oak Ridges Moraine, nature reserves on the Canadian Shield and properties on the spectacular Niagara Escarpment.
Dr. Thomas H.B. Symons is the Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust. See who else is on the Board of Directors …
Heritage preservation has always been driven by the commitment of volunteers. Many of the Trust's properties are operated in partnership with local municipalities, conservation authorities, land trusts and community heritage groups. Working with these partners, the Trust ensures that these heritage sites will remain an important part of the lives of future generations. If you would like to join our volunteer efforts to help preserve Ontario's heritage, please contact us.
Visit the Trust’s Support us section to learn about how your contributions – large or small – can assist us with our important work. Perhaps you can only contribute time. Explore the opportunities to volunteer with the Trust to support us through your enthusiastic efforts.
Yes, the Trust leases space for commercial and not-for-profit use. For more information, call 416-325-5000 or email email@example.com.
We also rent spaces in several key venues for corporate meetings, workshops, parties, weddings and special events. Visit Heritage Venues and discover the perfect location for your next gathering.
Yes, we have many free publications that can be mailed to you – including our informative magazine, Heritage Matters. Subscribe to this free magazine today! Many of our publications are also available online.
Yes, the Trust sells some interesting books and posters – including the beautiful, one-of-a-kind vaudeville "Butterfly" and "Scarab" scenery posters from Toronto's Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre. The theatres also sell many souvenir items. Visitors to Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site in Dresden and Fulford Place in Brockville can also browse the gift shops for a unique gift or souvenir. Find out more information …