Ontario Heritage Trust

A website that is dedicated to identifying, protecting, renewing and promoting Ontario's rich and diverse built, cultural and natural heritage. Full redesign with Web 2.0 standards of design and functionality and to better serve its audience and the Government of Ontario’s directives.


About the Ontario Heritage Trust

As the province's lead heritage agency, the Ontario Heritage Trust is entrusted with keeping Ontario's heritage alive and meaningful. The Trust gives Ontario's heritage relevance.

The Ontario Heritage Trust – the province's lead heritage agency – is dedicated to identifying, protecting, renewing and promoting Ontario's rich and diverse built, cultural and natural heritage that has influenced and continues to shape our society for the benefit of present and future generations.
Communication Strategy

Understanding of Project

The Ontario Heritage Trust’s existing six-year-old CMS-based corporate website (www.heritagetrust.on.ca) required a comprehensive refresh to bring it up to Web 2.0 standards and new Government of Ontario website guidelines and directives.The Trust had completed a thorough website assessment over a three-month period. This assessment had identified new required website content, as well as Web 2.0 and CMS functionality/features. The redeveloped website (English and French versions) should allow for future growth and enhanced web functionality, and be able to support node websites that are part of the redeveloped website structure. These unique node websites will support the Trust’s business and program activities.

The purpose of Ontario Heritage Trust’s website redesign is to:

Refresh Ontario Heritage Trust’s CMS websiteInclude Web 2.0 standards of design and functionalityBetter serve its audience and the Government of Ontario’s directives

Design requirements:

  • Implement a coherent visual identity system across the site that strengthens OHT’s brand and increase visibility
  • Design a streamlined template to make it easy to navigate, expand, maintain and update
  • Design should be flexible to allow for new technology to be implemented on an as needed basis
  • The look and feel to accurately portray the quality and calibre of the Trust and brand by introducing impactful images depicting the diverse audience and user group placed throughout the website
  • Craft an attractive, professional, clean, compelling website to support the Trust’s users with an information rich, interactive Web 2.0 toolset as per the Project Requirements
  • Redesign the site to incorporate branding colours while introducing other colours to embellish and enhance web presence
  • Rename and re-architect primary and secondary navigation
  • Improve menu terminology

Additional Requirements:

Provide an efficient and cost effective method of delivering current, factual information and news to its users to establish itself as resource for Ontario Heritage related topics
CMS implementation to accommodate multiple languages for both French and English
Streamline and update design to enable ease of use for users (front-end) as well as site administration (back-end)
Carefully consider the users and OHT’s goals by implementing usability guides such as sitemaps, way finding visuals, site wide search fields, and print friendly versions of the web site content that provide users with a positive browsing experience
Build the site backward browser compatible while adhering to W3C accessibility standards, Ontario website guidelines and multi-platform testing
Use scalable enterprise solutions which include MSSQL server based database, Windows server, ASP.NET 2.0 and AJAX
Optimize the site for search engines and directories – implement searchable content and best web practices
Use Web 2.0 technical coding standards to establish code for flexibility and wide platform compliance
Integrate a robust and scalable content management system to allow for easy document management, secure website updates and templates through a browser based Word–like editor (see Kentico CMS for overview)

Functional Requirements Overview

  • Bilingual dynamic language switch
  • Google Geomapping of several thousand plaques and properties
  • 6 additional microsites with unique templates
  • Customized search for the Places of Worship and connecting to external db
  • Custom Events Calendar
  • Content managed Image slider menu
  • Custom CMS driven mega-menu


The primary challenge of this project was to create a clean, concise and structurally sound interface to accommodate an enormous amount of content and a complex navigational structure that includes top, secondary and tertiary level menus. The site also required maximum content management functionality by multiple users, from managing the site’s many micro-sites, to adding and updating content, to editing and creating images and administering events and news.


The completely redeveloped website was designed with a unique, contemporary, fresh and relevant look and feel. Each main section has a different colour scheme based on the corporate brand. Each micro-site has its own distinct look and feel to better represent each of the Trust’s core nodes. The new site also incorporates an improved and intelligent navigation and content structure that is helped by the custom developed mega-menu web-part. Emphasis and careful consideration was placed upfront during the project's initial phases on a well thought-out UX and wireframe for each template and module.

All functional requirements had also been met with the use of the Kentico Content Management System and several custom web-parts.

Key criteria for choosing Kentico CMS

Implementation – ease of integration and the ability to expand upon from a developer’s perspective.

Flexibility – highly important in order for us to build and manipulate the template based upon our designer’s vision.

Code – the code review proved to be enough for our developers to provide approval in the Kentico CMS as the engine for this project.

Support – The Kentico tech support team has been a tremendous help in the past from previous projects thus influencing us to continue on with them.

Cost – While the CMS is feature rich and functional, it is also very cost-effective, making it an affordable solution to our associations and non-profit clients.

Features – Many well thought-out features that support today’s Web 2.0 solutions.

Technical Specifications:

  • ASP.NET, JQuery and MS SQL Server
  • Google Geomap API
  • Windows Platform
  • Kentico CMS
  • Client: Ontario Heritage Trust
Team Members: Charles Chan (Producer), Giuliano Liker (Design and Front End), Ankur Bathla (Programming), Shivam Mehta (Programming), Lori Wilson (JavaScript), David Groth (IA)
Awards: Kentico Site of the Month