Transforming Heritage at the Trust’s 50th anniversary Conference

Ottawa, ON, October 25, 2023 – The National Trust for Canada is pleased to announce its 50th anniversary Conference, Transforming Heritage, taking place from October 26-28 at the Château Laurier in Ottawa, Ontario. This milestone sold-out event will bring together over 700 heritage professionals, advocates, and industry leaders from across the country to exchange knowledge and ideas about heritage places and older buildings. The Conference is being held in partnership with the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP) and the Indigenous Heritage Circle (IHC).

MP John Aldag encouraged Members of Parliament to support the passing of Bill C-23 in Question Period. Watch the clip on Facebook.

The National Trust for Canada is the leading national charity dedicated to the conservation and use of Canada’s historic places. For 50 years, since its inception in 1973, the organization has powered a movement dedicated to preserving and revitalizing heritage buildings, landscapes, and communities for the benefit of people and the planet.

Conference highlights

Friday, October 27 | Opening Plenary
Transforming Heritage: How Far Will We Go?
Launched by words of welcome from the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation and other dignitaries, this rapid-fire opening plenary will inspire and challenge delegates and lay the foundation for important conversations throughout the conference about heritage conservation must do more of, or do less of, or do differently to respond to today’s urgent circumstances. Building on pre-conference surveys to test-drive paradigm shifts and tangible changes needed to heritage conservation approaches, speakers will explore how far will we go to ensure that our work aligns with and supports climate action and carbon reduction, reconciliation and restorative justice, affordable housing and more.
Moderator: Natalie Bull (Executive Director, National Trust)
• Lloyd Alter (Writer and editor, Toronto Metropolitan University)
• Graham Nickerson (Community Inclusion Liaison, City of Fredericton)
• Julie Harris (Senior Heritage Planner and Architectural Historian, Matrix Heritage)
• Phil Pothen (Ontario Environment Program Manager and In House Counsel, Environmental Defence)
• Darren Peacock (Principal, Janu Consulting)

Friday, October 27 | Anishinabe Evening Social
Conference goers can meet members of both the Algonquin First Nation of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and the Pikwakanagan First Nation at this special Anishinabe led event. The Anishinabe Odjibikan have prepared an evening social featuring the Eagle River Drum Group, traditional dancers in beautiful regalia, a birchbark canoe and crafts display with Pinock Smith, snacks provided by Commanda Catering and a variety of vendors. This is a unique experience for an opportunity to hear some great music, learn about the drum, the different types of regalia and the dances that accompany them.

Saturday, October 28 | Opening Plenary
Panel and Interactive Discussion – Heritage Conservation Futures
The National Trust (then the Heritage Canada Foundation) was created in 1973 in the middle of a “Crisis Decade” defined by profound socio-economic, cultural, political, and environmental shockwaves and shifts. Now, in 2023, we are amid our own “Crisis Decade”, with a climate change disaster alongside socio-economic and cultural shifts that demand a fundamental remaking of relationships and ways of being. Where do we find hope, purpose, and resolve in this time of convulsion? This session brings together examples of how Canada’s heritage conservation movement is quietly, yet rapidly, undergoing significant transformation. Speakers will share examples that will challenge delegates and inspire important conversations about their own places, practices, and initiatives.

Moderator: Chris Wiebe (National Trust)
• Julian Smith (Architect, Conservator, Scholar, Educator)
• Graham Singh (CEO, Trinity Centres Foundation)
• Janis Monture (Executive Director & CEO, Canadian Museums Association)
• Jessica Chen (City Planning Professional & Co-Founder, JIA Foundation,) & Karen Cho (Team Member, Documentary Filmmaker, JIA Foundation)
• Natalie Voland (Présidente de Gestion immobilière Quo Vadis inc.,)

Saturday, October 28 | Closing Plenary
Galvanized to Action
The closing session features three heritage conservation powerhouses in a conversation that will look back at what we can learn from the original ‘crisis decade’ – and look forward to the action required of us now. Don’t miss this milestone conversation between a legendary architect and advocate who continues to blaze the way, a respected academic whose recent book chronicles the sweep of heritage conservation theory and practice; and an archaeologist and leader who is redefining the heritage movement’s big “Why.”

Moderator: Natalie Bull (Executive Director, National Trust)
• Phyllis Lambert (Architect, Activist; Founder, Héritage Montréal and Canadian Centre for Architecture)
• Dr. Christina Cameron (former Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, University of Montreal)
• Dr. Kisha Supernant (President, Indigenous Heritage Circle; Director, Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology; Professor, Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta)

• Transforming Heritage – Challenging and inspiring programming about leading-edge work in Black urbanism and Indigenous cultural heritage. Learn how heritage places are radically rethinking their interpretations and get inspired by the latest work to increase density in heritage neighbourhoods, decarbonize heritage buildings, and decolonize heritage planning practices.

• Elders Circle Sessions – Special small group Circle sessions led by Elders from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabe community and the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation. Explore topics such as Anishinabe perspectives on “heritage” and whose heritage is being conserved in Canada and how to implement TRC Calls-to-Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

About the National Trust for Canada
Created in 1973, the National Trust for Canada is a leading national charity dedicated to the conservation of Canada’s historic places. The Trust believes that heritage places and older buildings are integral to solving community challenges and meeting contemporary needs, including climate resilience, diversity and inclusion, identity and sense of place, community wellbeing and more.
History and heritage can be complex and contentious, dominated by settler perspectives, and the Trust is actively working to change the system. Learn more at

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