Mandate & Mission

Our Vision

Connecting Ottawa with its rich history and heritage

Our Mission

The Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa (CHOO) empowers Ottawa’s heritage sector with expertise, tools and resources; connects its heritage networks; and represents it to the broader community.

Strategic Priorities


  • Outcome: CHOO championed Ottawa’s heritage sector by building strong relationships with City Council, cultural umbrella organizations, and by increasing the sector’s media presence.


  • Outcome: CHOO connected members to each other and strengthened the heritage network across Ottawa.


  • Outcome: CHOO empowered members by providing tools and resources they required to be viable organizations within the heritage sector.

The Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa | le Conseil des organismes du patrimoine d’Ottawa (CHOO|COPO) is an umbrella organization serving cultural heritage organizations in the greater Ottawa area.  CHOO|COPO plays a leading role in developing and sustaining Ottawa’s heritage sector and ensuring local residents have access to heritage.  To achieve its objectives, CHOO|COPO works closely with museums, archives, historical and genealogical societies, cultural communities, heritage buildings and sites as well as a range of heritage scholars, supporters and advocates.  CHOO|COPO also acts as an important liaison with all three levels of government.

CHOO|COPO began as a meeting of heritage groups under the aegis of the City of Ottawa’s Department of Culture and Recreation from 1988 to 1990, before being established as the Heritage Council of Ottawa | le Conseil du patrimoine d’Ottawa in the fall of 1990.  The name was changed in 1992 to the Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa | le Conseil des organismes du patrimoine d’Ottawa.

CHOO|COPO is a registered charity governed by a volunteer Board of Directors that oversees policy development and the overall planning and management of the organization’s activities.  CHOO|COPO’s members are a diverse group of engaged citizens and heritage organizations who are at the heart of the Council and play a vital role in animating discussions, informing planning and developing programs.

CHOO|COPO develops its programs in response to the changing needs of its members and the region’s heritage community.  Key activities and services include a website promoting local events, resources and opportunities;  a weekly electronic newsletter; advocacy; a virtual gateway to projects, exhibits and local history; coordination of heritage-related events;  and provision of professional development and networking.

CHOO|COPO operates as a true council and is unique as a hub of discussion, collaboration and programming aspiring to be a model of excellence in organization.  By strengthening the heritage sector, CHOO|COPO lays the groundwork for heritage organizations to be strong partners in growth, the economy, and innovative approaches in building community.

The Board has set ambitious longer-term priorities in our Strategic Plan.  Within three years, this plan will have begun to actualize our longer-term vision through specific and measurable actions.  The identified priorities will inform the rolling plan beyond the initial three-year time frame.  Not all items will be completed within the duration of this strategic plan;  rather they will form the basis for future strategies and tasks as CHOO|COPO moves forward in implementing its mission.

CHOO|COPO believes that heritage is an essential community component that contributes significantly to the quality of life, cultural identity and economic prosperity of a city and its residents.  To reflect the evolution of Ottawa’s heritage community and CHOO|COPO’s expanding role, the Board has reviewed and revised the Council’s foundation statements.


CHOO|COPO is a proud member of: