ACO Port Hope is the largest and most active branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. We envision a Port Hope whose future is inspired by its past, and we strive to inspire a passion for the conservation and celebration of Port Hope’s heritage through education, advocacy, expertise, stewardship and storytelling.
Led by the example of many dedicated volunteers who have gone before us, the executive members of ACO Port Hope have worked diligently to attain our goals. Thanks to the tireless work and advocacy of ACO Port Hope, our community can now boast one of the most outstanding inventories of historically significant homes and buildings in Canada.
What We Do
ACO Port Hope receives charitable donations, and manages charitable fundraising events, such as the ACO Antique Auction. In turn, ACO Port Hope makes grants available for restoration projects in the Municipality of Port Hope.
In 2012, the membership overwhelmingly voted to commit up to $500,000 in the form of grants and loans to assist with practical architectural restoration projects in Port Hope’s downtown core. Scaffolding went up at the commercial block at Walton and Ontario streets as the first project, and bricks were cleaned and re-pointed together with other masonry repairs that were addressed at the same time. Heritage windows were also restored. Since then, similar preservation work has been completed on about 15 buildings in the heritage downtown core.
In the Fall of 2019, ACO acquired O’Neill’s Opera House which was Port Hope’s music hall and opera house, until 1928 and the main Port Hope branch of the Royal Bank of Canada until 2016.
ACO Port Hope acted as custodian of The Opera House for 21 months until it was sold to HopeTowns Community Ventures (HTCV) in September 2021. During this time, ACO sought to document key attributes and artifacts within the property in order to provide future access to our local heritage. Every room, every piece of newspaper, poster, graffiti, and messages on the walls were photographed. In addition, ACO Port Hope retained, at its expense, consultants to prepare drawings and specifications for the exterior restoration of The Opera House. Thanks to ACO Port Hope, these drawings and specifications for the restoration are complete and in the hands of the new owners of the building. HTCV is currently in the process of bringing the heritage restoration of The Opera House to fruition.