OLTA’s 20th Anniversary

OLTA Turned 20 Years Old!

Ontario Land Trust Alliance officially turned 20 years old July, 2022! We are incredibly grateful for the 20 exceptional years we’ve worked with the land conservation community in Ontario and our land trust members.

It is amazing to think how much the land conservation movement in Ontario has changed over the years and how land trusts, and our land trust heroes, have contributed to these positive changes.

A short history…

Some impactful groups in Ontario that influenced the land trust movement date back to the early 1980s with the formation of the National Heritage League. This group was active until around the 1990s and once this dissolved, several active members created a committee of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists (now known as Ontario Nature) to continue furthering the conservation work of Ontario land trusts and non-profit conservation groups. In 1997, this became the Ontario Nature Trust Alliance (ONTA), with 14 founding members.

By mid-2001, with a membership of 23 land trusts, it was decided to fully incorporate as the Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA Inc.); the letters patent for OLTA were approved on July 2, 2002, and OLTA became the official provincial association for the Ontario land trust movement!


To commemorate OLTA’s anniversary, our team, along with board members and volunteers, have created graphics and documents to celebrate our collective impact and history! This includes a history book on the Land Trust Movement in Ontario, a Story Map to share OLTA’s story over time, a summary timeline of OLTA over the past 20+ years (shared within the Story Map), and collective impact graphics to showcase how much our land trust members’ contribute to land conservation and protection in Ontario.


A History of the Land Trust Movement in Ontario (1947-2016)



When incorporated in 2002, OLTA was a small group of incredible and dedicated volunteers, including Stew Hilts, Dave Walker, Paul Peterson, Ron Reid, Ian Attridge, and Andrea Kettle, to name a few. Where would OLTA be without all your enthusiasm and commitment to the land trust community? Our team is thankful for the support of hundreds of volunteers and supporters, board of Governors, and staff members, past and present.


Ontario Land Trust Alliance’s 20th Anniversary Story

OLTA’s staff team created a Story Map to share OLTA’s milestones, successes, and stories over the past 20+ years. It includes a Summary Timeline, a description of what OLTA has been up to recently, and where we are headed. We even feature OLTA members’ projects and properties! Click on the image below to visit our Story Map.

NOTE: This is a living document; for information on how to contribute, see below.


Land Trusts in Ontario – Collective Impact

OLTA’s staff team has also gathered information from our Land Trust Members to share Ontario Land Trusts collective impact over time. Can you believe that we’ve increased the amount of land protected and managed by over 500% in 20 years? Our land trust members and associates have gone from securing less than 200 properties 20 years ago, to securing over 1,100 properties, currently. That is incredible!

Land trusts in Ontario have also made a strong impact when it comes to engagement, awareness, and support for land protection. Every year, Ontario land trusts collectively engage over 255,000 people across Ontario and beyond, through land trust events, property visits, e-news, and social media. And over 125,000 people support land trusts by volunteering, donating, or contributing their membership. In addition, as of this year, over $4 million is available to our land trust members and partners for land securement in Ontario – whereas, we started at a mere $14,000, 20 years ago! OLTA has supported the protection of conservation lands valued at $110.3 million, supports recover actions for at least 74 species at risk, and has strong partnerships with other 50 organizations. Wow!

Here at OLTA, we give a big shoutout to everyone who is actively engaged in the land trust community in Ontario, and invests their time, energy, and passion. We make an impact because of your strong support.


For a larger version of these Impact Graphics, click here.

The incredible projects that we’ve collaborated on with partner organizations have been amazing. Thank you to all the fantastic organizations that we’ve worked with to continue to #ProtectTheLandWeLove! We are grateful for your support, collaboration, and shared passion to care for natural spaces.