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:

  1. choice of a name for the society*
  2. election of officers
  3. appointment of a committee to prepare the constitution and by-laws
  4. discussion of the advantages and responsibilities of incorporation
  5. membership costs, benefits and responsibilities
  6. 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 (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 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: 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.

Newly-Incorporated Societies

The following groups were incorporated in 2023

Built Environment Hamilton
Newboro and Area Heritage Society

Recent Incorporations

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 SocietiesMonth of IncorporationYear of Incorporation
Newboro and Area Heritage SocietyJuly2023
Built Environment HamiltonFebruary2023
Schumacher Historical SocietyNovember2022
Elliot Lake Historical SocietyJune2022
Lanark County Arts & HeritageMay2022
Flamborough MuseumMay2021
Friends of Springfield House ComplexApril2021
Grey County Black Heritage SocietyMarch2021
Friends of the Old Stone Mill HouseMarch2021
Friends of Century ManorMarch2021
Heritage ColchesterMarch2021
Friends of the Mindemoya Old SchoolJanuary2021
Blue Mountains Historical SocietyNovember2020
Leaside Heritage Preservation SocietyNovember2020
Ancaster Village Heritage CommunityJune2020
East Luther Grand Valley Historical SocietyMarch2020
Friends of Grand Trunk Railway 1008March2020
Middleport Heritage SocietyMarch2020
North Frontenac Historical Society & Archives November2019
The Thorold Museum (2019)September2019
Hamilton Police Historical Society and Museum Inc.September2019
Brant Railway Heritage SocietyAugust2019
Ontario Barn PreservationMay2019
Stratford and District Historical SocietyMay2019
Maitland Mills AssociationJanuary2019
Adjala Historic Church and CemeteryOctober2018
Latchford House of Memories Museum and Ontario Loggers Hall of Fame SocietyJuly2018
West Willowdale Neighbourhood AssociationJune2018
Brooklin Heritage SocietyMay2018
UE Loyalists Bridge AnnexApril2018
Hockley Historic Community Hall & ChurchApril2018
Junction Heritage Conservation DistrictJanuary2018
NOW Social History FoundationJune2018
Rella Braithewaite Black History FoundationNovember2017
Deseronto & District Historical SocietyFebruary2017
Friends of Hope MillDecember2017
St. Mark’s Coptic MuseumFebruary2017
Madill Church Preservation SocietyNovember2017
Friends of Grain ElevatorsJune2016
Halton Black History Awareness SocietyJuly2016
Lakehead Transportation Museum SocietyJune2016
Friends of Historic Bovaird HouseMay2016
Elgin Historical SocietyApril2016
The Friends of Wesleyville Village, OntarioMarch2016
Green Machinery History and HeritageJune2016
Heritage Port StanleyDecember2015
Middlesex Centre ArchivesDecember2015
Buddies of the BrillOctober2015
Thunder Bay Railway Historical SocietyOctober2015
Centre Lochiel CentreAugust2015
McNab & District Celtic Heritage SocietyAugust2015
Nottawasaga Lighthouse Preservation SocietyMarch2015
The Harmony CollaborationMarch2015
Leslieville Historical SocietyJanuary2015
West Nipissing Historical SocietyJune2014
Renfrew County Museums NetworkJune2014
Nine Mile Point Lighthouse Preservation SocietyJune2014
Friends of Moreston Village at Grey RootsJune2014
Canadian Lighthouses of Lake SuperiorFebruary2014
Sharon Burying Ground AssociationFebruary2014
Essex Armoured Soldiers MuseumFebruary2014
Historical Society of South DundasJune2014
The 100th Regiment Historical SocietyNovember2013
Plympton-Wyoming Historical SocietyOctober2013
Haliburton Highlands Quilt GuildFebruary2013
Friends of the South Grey MuseumOctober2013
Toronto Branch The Monarchist League of CanadaOctober2013
The Community Waterfront Heritage CentreOctober2013
The Friends of the Beaverdams ChurchOctober2013
Friends of the Educational Archives Serving Brant, Haldimand, and Norfolk CountiesMay2013
Penetanguishene Historical SocietyMay2013
Glengarry Pioneer MuseumMay2013
Silver Mountain and Area Historical SocietyFebruary2013
Les Amis Duff-BâbyOctober2013
Canadian Chapter of the Society for the Preservation of Old MillsMarch2012
Society for the Preservation of Paris Architectural HeritageJune2012
New Sudbury Historical Society/Historique du Nouveau Sudbury June2012
Friends of AuchmarOctober2012
Morgan Horse Heritage CentreOctober2012
John McNeely McCrea Pioneer Model and Educational FundOctober2012
Paris Plains Cemetery AssociationOctober2012
Huntsville and Area Historical SocietyOctober2012
Wiikwe-aapkaak Gabizhiwebak SocietyOctober2012
Kensington Market Historical SocietyNovember2012
Southern Ontario Military MusterNovember2012
Friends of the Marrickville TurbineMarch2012
Kanyen'keha Revitalization SocietyDecember2011
Ramara Historical SocietyJune2011
The Montgomery's Inn Museum INNovatorsOctober2011
Kennebec and District Historical SocietyOctober2011
New Credit Cultural Heritage SocietyJune2011
Dalkeith Historical SocietyJune2011
Sumac-Simcoe County's Cultural NetworkJune2011
The Society for the Preservation of the Samuel Bechtel Burial GroundOctober2011
Friends of Freeman StationFebruary2011
Algoma 1812February2011
Friends of Lincoln's HistoryFebruary2011
Norfolk Arts Culture and Heritage AllianceFebruary2011
Early Canada AssociationFebruary2011
Archives LanarkDecember2011
Glengarry Fencibles TrustApril2010
Irondale Historical SocietyNovember2010
Friends of Ermatinger Clergue National Historic SiteNovember2010
North Halton Celtic Historical SocietySeptember2010
Friends of Twelve Mile Lake ChurchSeptember2010
Halisburton County Historical SocietySeptember2010
National Historic Sites Alliance for OntarioSeptember2010
Soo Pipe BandJune2010
Howe Island Historical SocietyNovember2010
Powassan & Area Historical SocietyFebruary2010
Les amis du Musee du Moulin a fleurFebruary2010
The Jack Munroe Historical Society of Elk CityNovember2009
The Canadian Royal Heritage TrustMarch2009
Kawartha HeritageSeptember2009
Chiefswood Board of TrusteesSeptember2009
Canadian Friends Historical AssociationSeptember2009
The Adolphustown-Fredericksburgh Heritage SocietyJune2009
The Unionville Villagers' AssociationMarch2009
London and Western Ontario Branch of the UELSeptember2009
The Portland on the Rideau Historical SocietyJanuary2009
Dunnville Culture & Heritage FoundationNovember2008
Credit Valley Heritage SocietyNovember2008
Bruce Mines and District Historical SocietyNovember2008
Wollaston HeritageSeptember2008
Weston Heritage Conservation DistrictJune2008
Thornhill Heritage FoundationApril2008
Essex & Community Historical Research SocietyMarch2007
Societe Historique de Nouvel-OntarioSeptember2007
Anderson Farm Museum & Heritage SocietySeptember2007
SilverShoe Historical SocietySeptember2007
Green Bay Heritage Cemetary AssociationMarch2007
Ontario Heritage Fairs AssociationMarch2007
Trafalgar Township Historical SocietyMarch2007