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Welcome to ACO North Waterloo Region’s Website!

Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO) is a provincial charitable organization.

Through education and advocacy we encourage the conservation and re-use of structures, districts and landscapes of architectural, historic, and cultural significance.




This year, with the familiar landscapes of Kitchener/Waterloo transforming themselves before our very eyes, the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, North Waterloo Region branch (ACONWR) has chosen to reflect on CITY BUILDING in its annual lecture series. In our first lecture we examined the role played by planning and urban design as we traced the growth and development of our twin cities from small villages to thriving urban communities.

In the second lecture of the series, Cecelia Paine, Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Design, will discuss the role of the landscape architect in city building.

The lecture will take place on Thursday, March 8th at the offices of WalterFedy, 675 Queen Street South, Kitchener beginning at 7pm. Additional details and registration are available at Eventbrite.

Landscape architects have played a significant role in the design of Canadian cities, though their work is not as well-recognized as that of other disciplines. Paine’s presentation will trace landscape architects’ contributions to city building, from the restorative landscape movement in the late 1800s to current work that embodies such themes as cultural identity and landscape resiliency. Revealed is a picture of how landscape architects have shaped the character and diversity of Canada’s urban landscapes.

Cecelia Paine teaches community design, urban park and open space planning, and professional practice in her position at the University of Guelph. Her academic interests focus particularly on heritage landscape conservation. Prior to joining her colleagues in Guelph, Paine practiced in Ottawa where her firm specialized in heritage conservation and urban design. She recently completed an assessment of the cultural heritage resources of the Cootes to Niagara Eco-Park. Paine is a board member of the Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation and the National Capital Commission’s Advisory Committee on Planning, Design and Real Estate.

Mark Thursday, May 10th on your calendar for the third of ACO’s lecture series when Dr Luna Khirfan of the University of Waterloo explores the relationship between public engagement, place making and place experience in the urban conservation of three Middle Eastern cities on the World Heritage List.

Below are some of the past events that

ACO North Waterloo Branch has held in the past two years…





The North Waterloo Branch of the Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO) will once again host a series of three educational lectures open to the public.  The City Building Lecture Series will examine the role played by planning, urban design and landscape architecture in the 3-dimensional development of our communities while still encouraging the preservation of our built heritage.

The first lecture coincides with World Town Planning Day, an international event celebrating the accomplishments of planners and their contributions to communities.

Lecture 1: November 9

7 pm

Designing our Neighborhoods: Trends and Influences over 150 Years

Glenn Scheels,  MCIP, RPP Principal Planner,  GSP Group

Waterloo Region has grown from a scattering of small villages to one of Canada’s largest and most vibrant urban areas. A strong economy has propelled significant growth and the urban area has many neighborhoods built in different eras over the past 150 years. This lecture will provide an overview of town planning and the various planning, design and urban development movements that influenced and shaped our neighborhoods in Kitchener and Waterloo.

All lectures will be held at the WalterFedy Building

675 Queen Street South, Kitchener, Ontario














Admission is free to members, $8.50 to non-members.

Memberships available at the door.

Please register at Eventbrite.

For more details, click here







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North Waterloo Region Branch


in partnership with Princess Cinemas a film series dedicated to




This inspirational documentary chronicles urban activist Jane Jacobs battle to save historic NYC neighborhoods from the draconian plans of ruthless powerbroker Robert Moses in the 1960s. This iconic film launches ACO’s lecture series on City Building



This engaging portrait of a visionary man takes us to the heart of his ideas. Dutch architect, theorist, and urbanist, Koolhaas’ habit of shaking up established conventions has made him one of the most controversial and influential architects.



Using 50,000 archival documents, the full story of the white-knuckled countdown to the grand opening April 28, 1967 can be relived through this fascinating documentary.

7:30pm (note time change)


Commissioned by Jim Stewart, the most published mathematician since Euclid, the fabulous Rosedale mansion known as Integral House incorporates a concert hall in its design. The architects of this acknowledged masterpiece are Shim and Sutcliffe, UWaterloo ’83 graduates



Doors Open Waterloo Region

Doors Open Waterloo Region has several talks scheduled for Saturday, September 16th.  Details of each talk are below and pdf files are attached.

Details of all Doors Open events can be found at the Waterloo Doors Open websites:

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1. Attractors

Location: University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy
10-A Victoria St. S., Kitchener
Free Doors Open Parking: UW Lot 3 (enter from Joseph St.)

2 p.m. TALK

Siamak Hariri, Founding Partner of Hariri Pontarini Architects and Partner-in-Charge of the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy design, will discuss how the firm partners with clients in their aspirations, leveraging the transformative power of collaboration and design: the ability of design to shift the perception of what an institution is and wants to be. Every project is a narrative; the unfolding, in architectural form, of the history and values of its client. By channeling the finest aspects – the very soul – of each institution into architectural form, we leverage the power of design to transform, to attract, and to uplift.

Seating for 80; open seating

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2. 60 Years at Waterloo: Perspectives of a University, from a Corn Field to Architectural Traditions

Location: University of Waterloo Dana Porter Library
200 University Ave. W., Waterloo
Free Doors Open parking: UW Lot HV on UW Ring Road (see map) or UW Lots at St. Jerome’s UC and Renison UC (enter from Westmount Rd.)

1 p.m. TALK

In this illustrated talk, Ken McLaughlin, distinguished professor emeritus and Waterloo’s official historian, will tell the story of the development of the 1,000-acre University of Waterloo campus, and its impact in Waterloo and beyond.

In the Dana Porter Library Flex Lab (floor 3); seating for 50; open seating.

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3. Iconography: Windows into Heaven

Location: Holy Transfiguration Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church

131 Victoria St. S., Kitchener

2 p.m. TALK

Discover the rich meaning of Byzantine iconography, using as illustration the iconography of Holy Transfiguration Church, during this talk by Fr. Myroslaw Tataryn, theologian, professor, and Department of Religious Studies Chair at St. Jerome’s University, Waterloo. You will be introduced to this ancient medium, often termed “theology in colour”, which adorns the walls, ceiling, and beautiful iconostasis of the church.

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4.  Life in the Detweiler Neighbourhood 150 Years Ago

Location: Detweiler Meetinghouse
3445 Roseville Rd., Roseville

11 a.m. TALK

Gather meetinghouse-style on the Detweiler benches as they did 150 years ago, and hear historian and author Sam Steiner’s overview of life and faith among the Mennonite settlers in this part of Waterloo Region. Followed by a Q&A session. Illustrated books covering much of this history will be for sale at the book table. 

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5. The Grand and the Land Indigenous History in this Place
Location: Button Factory Arts
25 Regina St. S., Waterloo
3 pm
Phil Monture of Six Nations of the Grand River, spokesperson and professional researcher  with 40 years of experience on the topics of treaties  and land issues, will provide an illustrated overview of the long history of land use in this region  and the larger Grand River watershed,  and also of the land transactions involving  Indigenous Peoples, the Crown, and later settlers.  In his ongoing research and advocacy,  Phil has worked with the Canadian International Development Agency, the Ontario Government,  the Canadian Government, the Assembly  of First Nations, and the United Nations.

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6. The Importance  of Meditation
Location: Ram Dham Hindu Temple and Brahmvidya Yogashram
525 Bridge St. E., Kitchener

11:00 am
Explore the theory and the practice of meditation, with its long tradition in South Asian culture as your context, and Swami Haripriya, a priest at Ram Dham Hindu temple, as your guide.  An opening 30-minute talk will be followed by a guided 15-minute meditation session.
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Designing for Education: Lecture # 3

The Un-Official Story: a personal account of the building of the University of Waterloo

Tuesday May 16, 2017

WalterFedy Grand River Room,  675 Queen St. S., Kitchener 

 7 p.m.

Pre-register here.

FREE for ACO members, $8.50 non-members.

Join ACO by clicking here.


Over his 48-year career as a student and School of Architecture Director and Professor at the University of Waterloo, Rick Haldenby has observed and, many times, been directly involved in the design of buildings on and off campus.

Photo: University of Waterloo Library Special Collections and Archives

In this all new talk, Haldenby will weave stories of buildings into a narrative that visits both high and not-so-high points in the development of the built fabric of a great institution.

Registration required.

UW Math and Computer Building under construction

Photo: Feb 6 1968. University of Waterloo Library Special Collections & Archives


Designing for Education – Lecture #2


Tuesday March 21, 2017

7 p.m.

 WalterFedy, 675 Queen St. S., Kitchener 

FREE for ACO members, $8.50 for non-members.  Join ACO here.

Please pre-register at Or call 519-635-8951.

The second event in the Architectural Conservancy Ontario – North Waterloo Region’s series on the history of school architecture in Waterloo Region consists of two short lectures:

“The One Room Schoolhouse and Beyond: The Work of the Knechtel Firm 1890 – 1930” by Susan Burke
For much of the 19th century, the one room school house played a vital role in the life of Ontario’s rural communities. Change when it came, was slow, much to the chagrin of the passionate cleric, Egerton Ryerson who, as Superintendent of Education, was bent on reform. The schoolhouse designs of this Berlin/Kitchener firm over forty years reveal the gradual implementation of the provincial standards and reflect advances in technology and pedagogical thought and in social change.

“The Modern Schoolhouse: Post-war Growth and Change in Waterloo Region” an all new talk by Rick Haldenby
The education system in Ontario changed dramatically after the Second World War. The population and the economy expanded dramatically. It was clear we needed a highly educated workforce. Cities across the province embarked on a dramatic expansion of their facilities for all levels of education. In our area the expansion was the most dramatic: dozens of new schools were built. Their designs reflected new ideas in architecture and education: some were aggressively modern, some looked back to the traditions of the past and integrated them in hybrid forms. All were designed by local architects. They were of high quality and remain with us today.

Refreshments will be served.

A History of School Architecture in Ontario

photo of Cherry Valley School Waterford 1866

Tuesday November 15, 2016

7 p.m.

 WalterFedy, 675 Queen St. S., Kitchener 

FREE for ACO members, $8.50 for non-members.  Join ACO here.

Please pre-register at Or call 519-635-8951.

Architectural historian Shannon Kyles takes a look at trends in the architecture of Ontario school buildings and the social forces which influenced these.  She will open a discussion of how the school building both reflects and contributes to the quality of education. 

Refreshments will be served.

Evolving Urban Landscapes: A Photographic Memoir

Sunday October 16, 2016

Book Launch

1:30 – 3:30 pm, remarks by the artist at 2 pm

Joseph Schneider Haus National Historic Site

466 Queen St. S., Kitchener

Book launch includes free admission to museum, refreshments

*ACO members present at the launch get $5 off normal $40 retail price.

cover of Evolving Urban Landscapes by Philippe Elsworthy

      * 74 images which depict the elements that make Waterloo Region’s urban landscape unique

      * perfect for newcomers, people considering a move to the Region, long-time or former residents

for more information contact the publisher, The Fountain Street Press


Mid-Century Modern: Focus on Factories

Duffus Plywood

An illustrated talk, by UW School of Architecture Professor Rick Haldenby, about the beautiful industrial buildings designed by Waterloo Region architects John Lingwood, Barnett and Rieder,  Jenkins and Wright in the 1950s and 1960s.

Wednesday May 25, 2016

7 p.m.

 WalterFedy, 675 Queen St. S., Kitchener 

FREE for ACO members, $8.50 for non-members.  Join ACO here.

Please pre-register at  Or call 519-635-8951.