Incorporation of Affiliated Societies
Independent, not-for-profit historical corporations.
An Act to incorporate The Ontario Historical Society, Assented to 1st April, 1899, is an Act of the Ontario Legislature that authorizes the OHS to incorporate an affiliated society dedicated to preserving and promoting Ontario’s history.
Citizens dedicated to preserving and promoting some aspect of Ontario’s history can apply to incorporate non-profit corporations through affiliation with The Ontario Historical Society.
Interested historical organizations must go through an application process during which they must form a volunteer board of directors and draft an organization mission statement, constitution and by-laws, pay an administration fee to the OHS in addition to holding a public meeting.
This unique opportunity allows the Society to encourage and empower Ontario citizens interested in preserving and promoting their local heritage, and as such, remains a flagship programme.
If your organization would like to learn more about the process to become an independent, not-for-profit historical corporation in the Province of Ontario, please contact:
Executive Director Daniel Dishaw
The Ontario Historical Society
34 Parkview Avenue
Willowdale, Ontario M2N 3Y2
Tel: (416) 226-9011
Fax: (416) 226-2740
Forming a Historical Society, Affiliation, and Incorporation FAQ
In many areas of the province of Ontario growth and change have enveloped villages and towns, changing their character in many ways. Suddenly the residents realize how little is left of the landscape, streetscape, buildings and artifacts that made up their community. From this realization comes the concern of an individual or a group of citizens that an organized and concerted effort must be made to preserve the history and culture of the area. Often the most logical means of accomplishing this task is the formation of an historical society. The challenge that an historical society faces in a modern community is a formidable one; however, the scope of activities is limitless, and the appeal to members of all ages, backgrounds and interests can be universal.
To discuss the idea of forming an historical society, a date for an exploratory meeting should be selected and advertised as widely as possible in the community and the surrounding area. Two people should be selected to act as chairperson and as secretary for the introductory meeting so that there is some structure to the meeting. An agenda should be prepared for the meeting so that a framework exists in which to work. The agenda might include:
- introduction of all those attending
- brief outline of concerns of those organizing the meeting
- guest speaker (from a neighbouring society, The Ontario Historical Society, or the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Regional and Corporate Services Division), describing the steps necessary to form a society
- discussion about goals and objectives
- geographical area to be covered
- a question and answer period
- a discussion of the way to proceed for the development of this particular society (if sufficient interest is generated by the group present).
The secretary should record the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all those attending and keep minutes of the meeting. If the decision is made to proceed with forming a society, a steering committee, consisting of a chairperson, secretary and publicity co-ordinator (and perhaps others) should be selected for an interim period until the group formally organizes. The chair should select an appropriate date, time and place for the next meeting in consultation with those attending. Everyone present should be encouraged to bring at least one guest to the next meeting.
Immediately following the meeting the publicity co-ordinator should prepare a news release about the meeting and forward it to all local papers (if reporters were not present).
A news release should be prepared well in advance of the next meeting and taken in person (if possible) to the local newspapers, radio and TV stations and other local media. This news release, like all other news releases, will be the image of the new society in the community. It should be clear, concise, brief, to the point and answer the questions who? what? where? when? why? It should also contain the name and telephone number of someone to contact for further information.
Several goals should be achieved at the founding meeting. They include:
- choice of a name for the society*
- election of officers
- appointment of a committee to prepare the constitution and by-laws
- discussion of the advantages and responsibilities of incorporation
- membership costs, benefits and responsibilities
- schedule of meetings – both public meetings and executive meetings.
*The name of the organization should be chosen with care to ensure that it reflects the interests of the group and the geographical area to be served. If the group decides to become incorporated, and at some later date wants to change the name, the members will find that this can be a costly and time consuming process.
The election of officers may be spontaneous, with nominations coming from those attending the meeting, or a nomination report may be prepared in advance and presented at the meeting. In either case, consider filling the following positions:
Honourary President(s) President Vice President(s) Secretary – Recording and Corresponding Treasurer
How many committees will be needed to carry out the work of the new organization? Consider the following: Membership, Programmes, Publicity, Social, Fund Raising. Are there others?
Successful organizations and institutions must have the support of the community, whether it is a geographical community or a community of interest, to grow and prosper. From the very beginning it is important to communicate regularly with your community through the media, newsletters and outreach programmes. The programmes should complement your goals and objectives while appealing to the broadest possible audience.
A new organization has the challenge of projecting a positive profile to the community. Everyone will be interested in observing how you prepare your publicity, how you organize your programmes and how you conduct your affairs. This places an added responsibility on all those assuming leadership to ensure that every aspect of the society’s activities is interesting, of a high quality and very professional, in order to attract and hold the interest of the community.
- Payment of your annual OHS membership fee, by credit card, cheque, or Interac e-Transfer (to email@example.com) (see membership fees). Affiliates will be emailed a renewal notice 30 days in advance of their renewal date, with a secure link to pay online.
- A copy of your annual report to your members, with information on activities and events held during year.
- A copy of your annual financial statement.
- A copy of any publications produced during year.
- Additionally, please log in to your membership profile and review the contact and officer information. If any updates need to be made to your profile, please click “Edit Profile” to edit.
Documents may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to The Ontario Historical Society, 34 Parkview Ave., Willowdale, ON M2N 3Y2.
Note: a copy of the paper Affiliate Annual Report form is no longer required.
As part of the new Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, on October 19, 2021, the Province of Ontario launched the Ontario Business Registry for not-for-profit corporations to register, file annual returns, and update their information online.
All not-for-profit organizations must register their organization here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/ontario-business-registry to keep their corporation status in good standing.
Ontario Business Registry Instructions for Not-for-Profits
Please see this step-by-step instructions document prepared by the OHS.
Ontario Business Registry Instructions (opens a 12-page PDF)
Please note that the OHS is a non-government organization and not associated with the Ontario Business Registry. Any mistakes in the instructions are our own. The document will be updated as we learn more about the new system.
The following groups were incorporated in 2023
Built Environment Hamilton
An Act to incorporate The Ontario Historical Society, Assented to 1st April, 1899, at The Legislative Assembly of Ontario, authorizes The Ontario Historical Society (OHS) to incorporate not-for-profit historical corporations as independent legal entities in the Province of Ontario. The Society’s membership includes over 350 of these incorporated heritage organizations. Since March 2007, the OHS has incorporated the following historical organizations across Ontario:
|Affiliated Societies||Month of Incorporation||Year of Incorporation|
|Built Environment Hamilton||February||2023|
|Schumacher Historical Society||November||2022|
|Elliot Lake Historical Society||June||2022|
|Lanark County Arts & Heritage||May||2022|
|Friends of Springfield House Complex||April||2021|
|Grey County Black Heritage Society||March||2021|
|Friends of the Old Stone Mill House||March||2021|
|Friends of Century Manor||March||2021|
|Friends of the Mindemoya Old School||January||2021|
|Blue Mountains Historical Society||November||2020|
|Leaside Heritage Preservation Society||November||2020|
|Ancaster Village Heritage Community||June||2020|
|East Luther Grand Valley Historical Society||March||2020|
|Friends of Grand Trunk Railway 1008||March||2020|
|Middleport Heritage Society||March||2020|
|North Frontenac Historical Society & Archives||November||2019|
|The Thorold Museum (2019)||September||2019|
|Hamilton Police Historical Society and Museum Inc.||September||2019|
|Brant Railway Heritage Society||August||2019|
|Ontario Barn Preservation||May||2019|
|Stratford and District Historical Society||May||2019|
|Maitland Mills Association||January||2019|
|Adjala Historic Church and Cemetery||October||2018|
|Latchford House of Memories Museum and Ontario Loggers Hall of Fame Society||July||2018|
|West Willowdale Neighbourhood Association||June||2018|
|Brooklin Heritage Society||May||2018|
|UE Loyalists Bridge Annex||April||2018|
|Hockley Historic Community Hall & Church||April||2018|
|Junction Heritage Conservation District||January||2018|
|NOW Social History Foundation||June||2018|
|Rella Braithewaite Black History Foundation||November||2017|
|Deseronto & District Historical Society||February||2017|
|Friends of Hope Mill||December||2017|
|St. Mark’s Coptic Museum||February||2017|
|Madill Church Preservation Society||November||2017|
|Friends of Grain Elevators||June||2016|
|Halton Black History Awareness Society||July||2016|
|Lakehead Transportation Museum Society||June||2016|
|Friends of Historic Bovaird House||May||2016|
|Elgin Historical Society||April||2016|
|The Friends of Wesleyville Village, Ontario||March||2016|
|Green Machinery History and Heritage||June||2016|
|Heritage Port Stanley||December||2015|
|Middlesex Centre Archives||December||2015|
|Buddies of the Brill||October||2015|
|Thunder Bay Railway Historical Society||October||2015|
|Centre Lochiel Centre||August||2015|
|McNab & District Celtic Heritage Society||August||2015|
|Nottawasaga Lighthouse Preservation Society||March||2015|
|The Harmony Collaboration||March||2015|
|Leslieville Historical Society||January||2015|
|West Nipissing Historical Society||June||2014|
|Renfrew County Museums Network||June||2014|
|Nine Mile Point Lighthouse Preservation Society||June||2014|
|Friends of Moreston Village at Grey Roots||June||2014|
|Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior||February||2014|
|Sharon Burying Ground Association||February||2014|
|Essex Armoured Soldiers Museum||February||2014|
|Historical Society of South Dundas||June||2014|
|The 100th Regiment Historical Society||November||2013|
|Plympton-Wyoming Historical Society||October||2013|
|Haliburton Highlands Quilt Guild||February||2013|
|Friends of the South Grey Museum||October||2013|
|Toronto Branch The Monarchist League of Canada||October||2013|
|The Community Waterfront Heritage Centre||October||2013|
|The Friends of the Beaverdams Church||October||2013|
|Friends of the Educational Archives Serving Brant, Haldimand, and Norfolk Counties||May||2013|
|Penetanguishene Historical Society||May||2013|
|Glengarry Pioneer Museum||May||2013|
|Silver Mountain and Area Historical Society||February||2013|
|Les Amis Duff-Bâby||October||2013|
|Canadian Chapter of the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills||March||2012|
|Society for the Preservation of Paris Architectural Heritage||June||2012|
|New Sudbury Historical Society/Historique du Nouveau Sudbury||June||2012|
|Friends of Auchmar||October||2012|
|Morgan Horse Heritage Centre||October||2012|
|John McNeely McCrea Pioneer Model and Educational Fund||October||2012|
|Paris Plains Cemetery Association||October||2012|
|Huntsville and Area Historical Society||October||2012|
|Wiikwe-aapkaak Gabizhiwebak Society||October||2012|
|Kensington Market Historical Society||November||2012|
|Southern Ontario Military Muster||November||2012|
|Friends of the Marrickville Turbine||March||2012|
|Kanyen'keha Revitalization Society||December||2011|
|Ramara Historical Society||June||2011|
|The Montgomery's Inn Museum INNovators||October||2011|
|Kennebec and District Historical Society||October||2011|
|New Credit Cultural Heritage Society||June||2011|
|Dalkeith Historical Society||June||2011|
|Sumac-Simcoe County's Cultural Network||June||2011|
|The Society for the Preservation of the Samuel Bechtel Burial Ground||October||2011|
|Friends of Freeman Station||February||2011|
|Friends of Lincoln's History||February||2011|
|Norfolk Arts Culture and Heritage Alliance||February||2011|
|Early Canada Association||February||2011|
|Glengarry Fencibles Trust||April||2010|
|Irondale Historical Society||November||2010|
|Friends of Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site||November||2010|
|North Halton Celtic Historical Society||September||2010|
|Friends of Twelve Mile Lake Church||September||2010|
|Halisburton County Historical Society||September||2010|
|National Historic Sites Alliance for Ontario||September||2010|
|Soo Pipe Band||June||2010|
|Howe Island Historical Society||November||2010|
|Powassan & Area Historical Society||February||2010|
|Les amis du Musee du Moulin a fleur||February||2010|
|The Jack Munroe Historical Society of Elk City||November||2009|
|The Canadian Royal Heritage Trust||March||2009|
|Chiefswood Board of Trustees||September||2009|
|Canadian Friends Historical Association||September||2009|
|The Adolphustown-Fredericksburgh Heritage Society||June||2009|
|The Unionville Villagers' Association||March||2009|
|London and Western Ontario Branch of the UEL||September||2009|
|The Portland on the Rideau Historical Society||January||2009|
|Dunnville Culture & Heritage Foundation||November||2008|
|Credit Valley Heritage Society||November||2008|
|Bruce Mines and District Historical Society||November||2008|
|Weston Heritage Conservation District||June||2008|
|Thornhill Heritage Foundation||April||2008|
|Essex & Community Historical Research Society||March||2007|
|Societe Historique de Nouvel-Ontario||September||2007|
|Anderson Farm Museum & Heritage Society||September||2007|
|SilverShoe Historical Society||September||2007|
|Green Bay Heritage Cemetary Association||March||2007|
|Ontario Heritage Fairs Association||March||2007|
|Trafalgar Township Historical Society||March||2007|