E-mail: info@ohfa.ca



The Heritage Fairs Program is an educational initiative that provides an opportunity for students to explore any aspect of Canadian heritage in a dynamic learning environment. Students are encouraged to use the medium of their choice to tell stories about Canadian heroes and legends, Canadian milestones and achievements and personal stories of Canadian interest and then present the results of their research at a public exhibition.

The Fairs Program is divided into three components. School or Community Fairs take place between February and April; Regional and Provincial Fairs are scheduled during April and early May.



The Fairs Program began with a pilot Fair in Winnipeg in 1993. Five Fairs were held in 1995: Brandon, MB; Kamloops, BC; Kingston, ON; Moncton, NB; and Sherbrooke, QC . By 2000 the Fairs Program grew to include students in remote, rural and urban communities from every Canadian province and territory.

Highlights of the 2006 Fairs

More than 263,000 students worked on projects and participated in a Fair

Over 50,000 projects were submitted to 90 Regional/Teritorial/Provincial Fair sites

Over 1,000 communities were involved, representing all ten provinces and three territories

12,000 volunteers were involved in helping to deliver the program


In 2009, over forty school boards in Ontario were represented by more than 48,000 students at the twenty Regional Fairs held last April and May. Along with thousands of dedicated teachers and parents, the success of the Fairs can be attributed to the enthusiastic support of community-based volunteer organizations including committee members from historical societies, museums, libraries, multicultural groups, school boards and local businesses. Over 3000 volunteers helped deliver the Ontario Fairs program in 2009. The chart below shows the growth of Ontario from 1995 to the present.


1995 - Kingston

1997 - Sudbury, York (Aurora)

1998 - Hamilton-Wentworth

1999 - Keewatin-Patricia, Toronto East

2001 - Toronto Catholic

2003 - Thames Valley, Ottawa, Simcoe County

2004 - Durham, Kawartha Pine Ridge, Niagara Catholic, Toronto West, Niagara Public, North Bay

2005 - Trillium Lakelands, Peel

2006 - Algoma District, Grand Erie, Perth


The Fairs Program has had phenomenal growth and it is the Ontario Heritage Fairs Associations intention that every eligible student in Ontario will be provided with the opportunity to participate in a Fair or an on-line showcase during his or her years at school.

The Ontario Heritage Fairs Association is a charitable organization dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of Canadian history and its importance in shaping our future.

Ontario, with the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, added another initiative to its Fairs Program in 2004.

Kingston, ON was the location chosen for the first Ontario Provincial Heritage Fair. 100 students from different parts of Ontario came together at the Provincial Fair to learn more about the rich cultural diversity, history and geography of Ontario ; to meet other students from all parts of the province; and to showcase the projects they produced for their Regional Fairs with peers and public. The success of the fair and the increasing growth of participation in Ontario have created an energy and interest that has resulted in the Provincial Fair becoming an annual event which now takes place in a different city in the Province each year.


2004 - Kingston
2005 - Hamilton
2006 - Niagara Region
2007 - Ottawa
2008 - Ottawa
2009 – Ottawa

2011 - Toronto
2014 - Toronto

Administration of the Ontario Fairs Program

Each Regional Fair Site in Ontario automatically becomes a member of the Ontario Heritage Fairs Association (OHFA). The sites meet once a year at a general meeting held in the Toronto region to discuss current issues and make policy decisions. The Association, with a generous grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, hires three part-time coordinators to manage the program. The coordinators assist Regional Fair organizers; facilitate the growth of new sites; provide workshops at conferences and universities; work with a local volunteer committee to organize the annual Provincial Fair; and keep sites up-to-date on new initiatives, programs and resources.

A monthly newsletter, "Hello Ontario", is produced to ensure that both the public and registered sites receive up-to-date information. The newsletter started in 2002 as a simple information e-maile to site coordinators. It was the main communication tool for the Association until 2004 when Ontario launched its own website (www.ohfa.ca) to support the Fairs program.