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Dates of existence
The Heritage Canada Foundation (HCF) was established in March 1973 as a membership-based non-profit national trust. Its founding mandate was to encourage and facilitate conservation of Canada's built heritage. This mandate has since evolved to include intangible, cultural and natural heritage.
HCF runs under a Board of Governors, led by an executive director and chairman. The foundation's first executive director, R.A.J. Phillips (1973-1978), was followed by Jacques Dalibard (1978-1995), Brian Anthony (1995-2005), and Natalie Bull (2005-present). The first chairman of the foundation was Hartland Molson MacDougall, and Pierre Berton served as chairman from ca. 1975 to ca. 1982. The Governor General of Canada has been the patron of HCF since its inception.
HCF began publishing a bilingual quarterly newsmagazine to its members in 1974. The magazine's name has changed five times: Heritage Canada (1974-1979), Canadian Heritage (1979-1993), Heritage Canada (1993-1998), Heritage/Patrimoine (1998-2005), Heritage (2005-present).
The foundation advocates for strengthened heritage legislation and published its first legislative recommendations in 1974. From 1982 to 1988 the foundation helped to guide the Heritage Railways Protection Act through Parliament.
The foundation's Area Conservation program began in 1974 and aimed to protect historic neighbourhoods. This program would lead to the Main Street Program (also known as Main Street Canada), which ran from ca. 1978 until 1994. In 1988 the Heritage Regions program was founded after the success of Main Street for rural regions. Main Street also led to the Canadian Centre for Liveable Places, focused on urban conservation. HCF began an annual awards program in 1974 to recognize those involved in heritage conservation. Its annual national conference and AGM have also run since 1974. In 2002 the foundation launched its Doors Open program. HCF also celebrates Heritage Day on the third Monday in February each year.
Although HCF has not focused on acquiring property, the foundation acquired its first building by donation in 1974. From 1974 to 2005 its Property Program also worked to invest in the rehabilitation and reuse of heritage buildings and districts.