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Who we are

The National Trust is an independent national charity that empowers communities to save and renew heritage places.

Heritage places are the backbone of resilient, diverse and sustainable communities: think of historic lighthouses and schools, rural landscapes, Indigenous heritage sites, places of faith, older homes and neighbourhoods, and the buildings and vibe on Main Street.

We work with partners, donors and funders to see heritage places play their part as cornerstones of climate action and social cohesion, and we spark important conversations about Canada at the places our members visit and discover.

What we do

We empower local heritage sites with game-changing coaching and expertise, we inspire travellers with beautiful historic places to visit and discover, and we challenge the status quo to keep useful older and heritage buildings out of landfill.


Our Launch Pad coaches and Regeneration Works resources change the game for grassroots groups and their heritage places.  The Endangered Places List helps keep existing and older buildings – Canada’s largest consumer good – out of landfills.


Our advocacy action tackles the issues that put heritage places at risk, and our national conference, webinars and gatherings host vital inter-disciplinary connections for grassroots advocates, professionals and government policymakers, tourism operators, developers, homeowners and more.

Why our work matters

Heritage places are critical for sustainable communities, central to responding to climate change, and vital to our collective wellbeing and sense of belonging.  Yet every day more and more are lost.  In a 30 year period, for example, Canada lost more than 20% of all pre-1920 historic places, and many more continue to be threatened by neglect, weak legislation, development pressures, and lack of funding.

Our impact

Through funding, coaching, outreach, and leadership we help save and renew heritage places in Canada.

Helped save or improve the outlook for 56 Endangered Places since 2005, including the Bell Barn in Indian Head, SK, the Guild Inn in Toronto, ON and the Post Office in St. Stephen, NB.

Connected 41 community groups with Launch Pad experts in fundraising, marketing, and business since 2017 to help unlock the potential of their heritage places.

Successfully advocated for creation of the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act and the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, as well as many early heritage acts in provinces and territories across the country.

Delivered $1.4 million to 89 historic buildings, cultural landscapes, and other heritage places since 2016, helping them renew places that matter and foster local identity and wellbeing through their work.

Our latest highlights

Here are a few recent examples of the ground breaking work we do to empower grassroots activists, change the system by offering national leadership, and support advocacy action in heritage conservation to keep useful older and heritage buildings out of landfill.

Tashme Historical Society – Launch Pad Recipient

The Sunshine Valley Tashme Museum (BC), a former Japanese Canadian internment camp, received much-needed coaching to explore the fundamentals of fundraising and to develop donor stewardship strategies – one of 41 Launch Pad sites since 2017.

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Educational Opportunities and Free Webinars

We reach thousands of people every year through our national conference and free live webinars, now available to members as an on-demand video library.

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Historic Places Days

Reaching millions of people every summer, Historic Places Days shines a spotlight on historic places and spaces across the country through both in-person and virtual events, contests and more.

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Heritage Reset

The Heritage Reset project is accelerating conversations within the field about our values and the purpose of our work.  Led by the National Trust and heritage organizations across the country, the research will help practitioners reach a broader audience with heritage conservation in a way that is informed by society’s priorities and values.

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Our team

We are a national charity with staff working remotely across the country and at our headquarters in Ottawa. We are governed by a volunteer Board of Governors from across Canada, and advised by leading heritage practitioners and public figures. We are honoured to have Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada as Patron of the Trust.

Our partners

We have national networks that work together and tackle pan-Canadian challenges and issues.

Our National Council

We are connected across the country through our National Council, a network of leaders representing organizations with national, provincial, or territory-wide mandates in the protection and celebration of historic places.

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National Roundtable on Heritage Education

The National Roundtable on Heritage Education brings to together educators and students from Canada’s post-secondary heritage conservation programs to work collaboratively, and help launch the next generation of heritage craftspeople, professionals, and advocates.

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Our Funders and Sponsors

The National Trust is proud to be associated with many non-profit, government, and corporate partners

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