Aylmer, Ontario Canada

Discover Aylmer, Ontario: A Rich Blend of History, Culture, and Community

A Brief Overview of Aylmer, Ontario

Aylmer is a charming town nestled in Elgin County in southern Ontario, Canada. Located just north of Lake Erie on Catfish Creek, it is a mere 20 kilometres south of Highway 401. Aylmer is enveloped by the scenic Malahide Township, making it a picturesque destination for visitors.

The Historical Journey of Aylmer, Ontario

The history of Aylmer dates back to October 1817 when John Van Patter, an immigrant from New York State, became the first settler on the site. The 1830s saw the opening of a general store and the sale of village lots. Originally named Troy, the town was renamed Aylmer in 1835 in honour of Lord Aylmer, then Governor-in-Chief of British North America.

By 1851, Aylmer was home to sawmills and flour-mills powered by water from Catfish Creek. Its easy access to Lake Erie made it a marketing centre for a rich agricultural and timber producing area by the mid-1860s. The construction of the 230 km Canada Air Line Railway from Glencoe to Fort Erie greatly benefited Aylmer, leading to its incorporation as a village in 1872 and a town in 1887.

From 1941 to 1961, the Royal Canadian Air Force Training Facility, RCAF Station Aylmer, was located just north of Aylmer in Malahide Township. This station is now home to the Ontario Police College and The Aylmer Wildlife Management Area.

Mennonite and Amish Communities in Aylmer, Ontario

In the mid-1970s, many Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites began migrating to the Aylmer area from Mexico. By the early 21st century, Aylmer and the surrounding area boasted a large Mennonite population. In addition to the Mennonite population, there are sizable Dutch, German, and British descended populations in the area.

Just east of Aylmer is a sizable Old Order Amish community, founded by families moving from Ohio in 1953. This community has grown to encompass three "districts" in the surrounding area. A number of members from this community participate in the weekly Aylmer Sales Barn, selling fruit, vegetables, eggs, and animals.

The Tobacco Industry in Aylmer, Ontario

The tobacco-growing industry played a significant role in the economic development of Aylmer. Imperial Tobacco Canada built a plant in Aylmer in the mid-1940s, employing more than 800 full-time and seasonal workers at its peak. However, declining tobacco sales in Canada led to downsizing in the 1990s, and the plant closed permanently in July 2007.

Ontario Police College in Aylmer, Ontario

The Ontario Police College (OPC) was formally established in 1962, offering its first classes in 1963. The college is situated on 300 acres of rural land five kilometers northeast of Aylmer. With 165 full and part-time employees, the college provides a 13-week program for all Police Officers in Ontario, Canada.

The Aylmer Fair in Aylmer, Ontario

The Aylmer Fair, run by the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS), is the oldest agricultural fair in District 13. The fair, which began in 1846, has grown from a few dozen exhibits in the 1850s to over 1700 in 1876. The fair continues to grow every year, attracting thousands of visitors with its agricultural exhibits, family activities, and midway events.

Demographics of Aylmer, Ontario

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Aylmer had a population of 7,699 living in 3,067 of its 3,177 total private dwellings. With a land area of 6.37 km2, it had a population density of 1,208.6/km2 in 2021.

The Climate of Aylmer, Ontario

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