Welcome to ACO NextGen, a group within ACO dedicated to students and emerging professionals who share an interest in historic architecture and conservation.

ACO Mandate: “Through education and advocacy, to encourage the conservation and reuse of structures, districts and landscapes of architectural, historic and cultural significance, to inspire and benefit Ontarians.”


The Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO) is a charitable organization operating through a network of autonomous local branches in communities across Ontario, linked by a small co-ordinating office in Toronto, and governed by its Executive and Provincial Council. ACO has been involved in preserving Ontario’s architectural and environmental heritage since 1933 by helping communities and owners preserve structures of architectural merit, and places of natural beauty or interest.


The goal of NextGen is twofold: Firstly, to provide a community for the sharing of mutual interest in historic preservation. Secondly, to promote professional development for members by providing networking and volunteer opportunities, hands-on learning, recognition and awards.


Since 2011, NextGen has led a series of programs and events for our members, including our annual Design Charrette and Job Shadow Program, Ontario Heritage Conference sponsorships, NextGen Awards, pub nights, building tours and lectures.

ACO NextGen was created out of the need for a centralized heritage and sustainability group that is designed to meet the unique needs of youth.

Who Should Join?

Anyone with an interest in Ontario’s built and cultural heritage landscapes. Architectural conservation requires the skills and knowledge of many fields, including architecture, history, cultural studies, urban planning, photography, interior design, landscape architecture, art history, sustainable design,  archaeology, civil engineering, museum studies, geography, architectural theory, conservation studies, and more.


Networking: Networking plays a key role in developing your career in conservation, and NextGen aims to expand on these opportunities as much as possible. Connecting you to established professionals in the industry to learn more about your career path, as well as connecting you with community members who share your interests.

Exclusive Events: NextGen events provide unique opportunities for members to gain hands on experience, make connections, and learn. We host two large annual events, a Design Charrette and Job Shadow Program, as well as smaller events throughout the year such as pub nights, lectures, tours, and more.

Community Engagement: Be a part of a community of like-minded, passionate, individuals who want to protect our structures and culture. We’ll make sure your never restricted from connecting with others based on your location by posting frequently on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram about local initiatives, at risk buildings, architecture=-related events, and more.

Job Postings: We want to make sure our passionate and talented members are able to enter to professional industry successfully, so we’re always on the lookout for job postings across Ontario that are relevant to architecture and culture to share across our network.

Mentorship: Members have the opportunity to organize events under the ACO NextGen banner. Whether you’d like to host a talk and tour to promote research you’ve pursued, or are interested in gaining valuable leadership and volunteer skills with a non-profit, the NextGen Executive Team can provide support to bring your event ideas to realty.

Heritage News: It can be difficult staying up-to-date on all the heritage news in Ontario, so we’ll find articles for you and share them on Facebook and Twitter.

Get Published: Publish your work and research in ACO’s ACORN magazine, our newsletter and our blog.


ACO NextGen hosts two annual events, a Job Shadow Program in February during Heritage Week and a Design Charrette during the Fall, as well as various socials, tours, and more throughout the year.

This year, ACO NextGen is also excited to be collaborating with ACO Toronto and Giaimo Architects on The Toronto Oculus revitalization project. Read the full July 2019 media release here. This project is one of five recipients of Park People’s 2019 Public Space Incubator (PSI) Program, funded by the Balsalm Foundation and Ken and Eti Greenberg. The PSI program aims to encourage and support the next generation of creative public space projects by providing access to funding and professional networks. A series of events and programming will be offered by ACO NextGen as part of this project in Fall 2020.

Participants take part in our annual Design Charette


Meet the ACO NextGen Executive Leadership Team here.


Join our monthly newsletter to stay up to date on NextGen events, news, job postings, volunteer opportunities and more.

Success! You're on the list.


If you are interested in learning more about our events, volunteer opportunities, membership, or have any other questions, please send us an email at nextgen@arconserv.ca or get in touch using the form below. If you are interested in becoming a member, click here to register.

Follow us on social media for updates on architecture and heritage related job postings, events, news, and more!

Recent Posts

  • Hidden Canada: The History and Future of Rooming Houses in the Annex, Toronto
    The distinctive architecture of the Annex has a history rooted in multiple-occupancy living. With proper regulations, support, and upkeep, rooming houses have the potential to provide effective, affordable housing in Toronto.
  • Hidden Canada: A NextGen and U of T Project
    The articles in this series seek to unveil some of Canada’s architectural riches and emerged from a class project at the University of Toronto. In this fourth-year undergraduate seminar, students were asked to either focus on little-studied aspects of the built environment in Canada, or to approach well-known places from a fresh perspective.
  • Guild Park and Gardens: Toronto’s Architectural Sculpture Gallery
    After the Second World War, Toronto underwent development and many buildings were pulverized into gravel. Thanks to the foresight of one collector however, the remains of some sixty-odd buildings were salvaged from the rubble and artfully arranged on the grounds of the former Guild Inn.
  • Searching for Meaning in Mesopotamian Architecture
    Architecture is the language of a city. Ancient Mesopotamians achieved and cultivated a transcendental quality in their built environment.
  • Opinion: House-by-House to Holistically
    A long-time fixture of the heritage vocabulary has been the word “save.” To save something is not unnoble; in fact, it connotes heroism and valour. It implies that the advocates for historic places are defenders against an omnipresent threat. However, it also implies we are reactionary.
  • 15 Queen Street Initiative
    Are you a student or recent graduate? Apply now to get real-world experience as an Emerging Heritage Consultant.
  • Becoming a Heritage Detective: Identifying Historic Wallpapers in the Mann House (1861)
    After a stack of old wallpaper is discovered behind some plaster in a heritage home, Sarah Harrison tries to figure out how old each layer is.
  • NextGen Job Shadow: Insights from our participants in the age of COVID-19
    As the 7th annual Job Shadow Program came to a close, we asked some of our participants to reflect on their epxeriences.
  • Thank you to our 2021 Job Shadow Hosts
    In February of 2021, ACO NextGen celebrated Heritage Week by offering its annual Job Shadow program for students and emerging professionals.  We would like to express our gratitude to all of this year’s Job Shadow Hosts. Despite the challenges and uncertainty brought…