National Conference

The annual National Trust Conference is Canada’s largest heritage learning and networking event. Held every year since 1974, the National Trust Conference brings together a wide-range of people working to keep Canada’s heritage alive: from grassroots activists and elected officials, to professionals, planners, policy makers, and property owners. Conference themes have tackled pressing issues for Canada’s heritage movement, including community revitalization, heritage tourism, sustainable development, and climate change.

Call for Presentations

(with Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals and Indigenous Heritage Circle)

Transforming Heritage

October 26–28, 2023 (Ottawa, Ontario)

National Trust for Canada 50th Anniversary Conference

Canada’s heritage conservation movement is transforming itself to meet new needs in society. Are you on board?  Advancing decolonization and anti-racism, leading climate action, and supporting the efforts of grassroots organizations, governments, and the private sector and to address socio-economic challenges are front and centre in our communities.  At this watershed moment, the heritage sector has the opportunity to accelerate our benefit to society through transformational changes to our mission and practice, based on a shared vision.

The National Trust’s 50th anniversary conference is a fitting heritage milestone to seize on lessons from the movement’s many dramatic or gradual transformations over time as a compass for the future.  Together, how will we shape the next 50 years, addressing pressing issues like reconciliation, affordable housing, accessibility, climate change, social justice, and economic resiliency?

Presentation/session proposals are invited on the following themes:

  1. Social-Cultural Reset – Activating the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Confronting Exclusion, and Transforming Practice
    There is now growing recognition that heritage conservation needs to actively transform current practices and principles to ensure they cease to perpetuate bias or exclude, and to decentre the colonial stories that have historically been associated with heritage places. This conference stream explores how new social and ethical imperatives are propelling a fundamental revamp of conservation paradigms, including what is defined as heritage, and by whom. How can heritage practitioners, site operators, advocates, policymakers, and others create an inclusive culture of conservation?
  2. Environmental Reset – Championing Heritage Conservation as Climate Action
    While the heritage sector has embraced “the greenest building is the one that already exists,” it has been slow to seize a leading role in climate action, and been reluctant to deviate from long-held principles to accommodate heavy site intensification or substantial changes like deep retrofits and moving buildings. How far are we prepared to go? How quickly can we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with allied fields (e.g. circular economy, building deconstruction, environmental protection) and are we prepared to make necessary compromises? This conference stream explores how the Canadian heritage sector can rapidly recalibrate to accelerate building reuse and landscape preservation, build allies, and shift public attitudes.
  3. Economic Reset – Removing Systemic Barriers to Reuse & Empowering Conservation
    The heritage sector needs to do more to champion affordable housing through building reuse and ensure heritage renewal does not displace existing communities. How can the heritage sector be more effective at removing systemic barriers to reuse, levelling the financial playing field to compete with new construction, and ensuring equal access to heritage conservation expertise across Canadian society? How can we ensure adequate funding for essential heritage places that cannot easily adapt to new uses? This conference stream focuses on changing the system for urban and rural heritage places, and identifying how the heritage sector can realign its work to drive transformational change.


  • Traditional Presentation (15 minutes)
  • Spark Presentation (7 minutes)
  • Lightning Talks (5 minutes)
  • Traditional or Non-Traditional Conference Session (60-90 minutes) 

To encourage participation of community and other external partners (those working outside of the heritage sector) who will only attend their session, registration fees may be waived in consultation with the National Trust. The National Trust will work with the presenter(s) and make efforts to find resources to support their participation. If you require an accommodation in order to participate in any part of this conference, or if you have suggestions on how we can improve accessibility, please let us know how we can support by sending an email to

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: Friday, April 21, 2023

Notification of acceptance of submissions will be made by late May 2023. Presenters of accepted abstracts will receive a discount on full conference registration. Student presenters will receive full conference registration at no cost.

All sessions and presentations at National Trust Conference 2023 may be live streamed, filmed, and images or video footage taken. To participate in the conference, presenters will need to agree to a speaker release allowing images and video footage to be webcast on the National Trust Conference 2023 website, displayed or archived on other National Trust/CAHP/IHC channels, or used in promotional materials.

To submit your proposal, or for more information:

Tel.: 613-237-1066 x 227

View the full Call for Presentations here


Be Part of the Heritage Reset – Raise your voice in “reset” working sessions as we reinvigorate the Canadian heritage vision, and get inspired by reboot efforts underway in the United States and Australia. Review the Heritage Reset Framework here. And the bilingual version here


Stay in touch. Get our newsletter.