Discovering Ayr, Ontario: A Blend of History and Modernity
Nestled within the Township of North Dumfries in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ayr, Ontario, Canada, is a charming community located south of Kitchener and west of Cambridge in Southwestern Ontario.
A Glimpse into the History of Ayr, Ontario
The village, now known as Ayr, was originally a group of settlements - Mudge's Mills in the centre, Jedburgh to the east, and Nithvale to the west. These settlements eventually merged into one as they expanded. The name Ayr was first used in 1840 when it was assigned to the post office.
The territory, which would later become the township of North Dumfries, was sold to Philip Stedman in 1798 by Joseph Brant of the Six Nations. The ownership later transferred to Thomas Clarke and then in 1816 to William Dickson, a wealthy immigrant from Scotland.
The first actual settler was Abel Mudge, who built a dam, a sawmill, and a grist mill. The Nith River and Cedar Creek were useful for powering mills. Most subsequent settlers at Mudge's Mills were Scottish farmers, artisans, or tradesmen.
Jedburgh was founded by John Hall from Scotland in 1832. He built a flour mill and a distillery. Nithvale was founded during the early 1830s when a flour mill and two sawmills were opened.
The settlement at Mudge's Mill was laid out by James Jackson, the first settler, with J. R. Andrews, and Robert Wylie in 1839. The name Ayr was chosen by Wylie after his hometown of Ayr, Scotland.
By 1849, the John Watson Manufacturing Company (later Ayr Machinery Works) was already making threshing, mowing, reaping, and other farm implements. By then, the population was 700 and a newspaper and library were operating. The town-hall was built in 1850.
The village got a rail line from the Credit Valley Railway in 1879, which helped facilitate the importing and exporting of goods. Jedburg and Nithvale were absorbed into Ayr in 1884 when the village was incorporated, with foundry owner John Watson as the first Reeve.
Modern Ayr, Ontario: Community Buildings and Developments
The newest major addition to the village of Ayr is the North Dumfries Community Complex, with major construction completed in 2011.
Despite some population decline around 1910, Ayr saw a resurgence starting in the 1950s with new homes built for commuters, helping to increase the population. In January 1973, Ayr was incorporated into the Township of North Dumfries and the Regional Municipality of Waterloo.
Ayr, Ontario in TV and Movies
Ayr has been a popular location for film and television productions. The Canadian documentary series from the mid-80s and early 90s, "Sketches of Our Town," featured Ayr in one of their episodes.
The 2003 movie "Cold Creek Manor," starring Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone, Stephen Dorff, and Juliette Lewis, was filmed in Ayr. The town was also used for scenes in the 1978 Paul Lynch film "Blood and Guts" and "The Hard Part Begins" five years prior.
Portions of the film "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days" were filmed in downtown Ayr. The Stephen King miniseries "11/22/63," starring James Franco, was filmed in and around Ayr and the Township of North Dumfries.
The town also served as a filming location for "Murdoch Mysteries Season 9 Episode 6" and scenes for "Impulse" TV series were filmed in downtown Ayr.