Ajax, Ontario

Ajax (/ˈæks/; 2016 population 119,677) is a town in Durham Region in Southern Ontario, Canada, located in the eastern part of the Greater Toronto Area.[1]

Town of Ajax
Aerial view of Ajax
Aerial view of Ajax
Official logo of Ajax
Town of Ajax by the Lake
Ajax is located in Regional Municipality of Durham
Ajax is located in Southern Ontario
Coordinates: 43°51′30″N 79°02′11″W / 43.85833°N 79.03639°W / 43.85833; -79.03639Coordinates: 43°51′30″N 79°02′11″W / 43.85833°N 79.03639°W / 43.85833; -79.03639[1]
Regional MunicipalityDurham
Established1955 (1955)
 • MayorShaun Collier
 • Governing bodyAjax Town Council
 • MPMark Holland (Ajax)
 • MPPsRod Phillips (Ajax)
 • Land67.07 km2 (25.90 sq mi)
90 m (300 ft)
 • Total119,677 (Ranked 44th)
 • Density1,634.2/km2 (4,233/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Postal Code FSA
L1S, L1T, L1Z
Area codes905, 289, 365, and 742
Websitewww.ajax.ca Edit this at Wikidata

The town is named for HMS Ajax, a Royal Navy cruiser that served in the Second World War. It is approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of Toronto on the shores of Lake Ontario and is bordered by the City of Pickering to the west and north, and the Town of Whitby to the east.


Carruthers Creek in Ajax

Before the Second World War, the territory in which Ajax is situated was a rural part of the township of Pickering. The town did not originate as a typical rural village, but is a 20th Century planned community that was first established in 1941 when a Defence Industries Limited (D.I.L.) shell plant was constructed and a townsite grew around the plant. By 1945 the plant had filled 40 million shells and employed over 9,000 people at peak production. It had its own water and sewage treatment plants, a school population of over 600, and 50 km (31 mi) of railroad and 50 km (31 mi) of roads. The entire D.I.L. plant site included some 12 km2 (5 sq mi). People came from all over Canada to work at D.I.L.

The burgeoning community received its name in honour of the first significant British naval victory of the war. From December 13 to December 19, 1939, a flotilla of British warships — HMS Ajax, HMS Exeter and HMS Achilles — commanded by Commodore Henry Harwood — engaged and routed the powerful German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee at the Battle of the River Plate, near the Uruguayan port of Montevideo in South America. Ajax was chosen as the name of this war-born community.[3]

After the war, the University of Toronto leased much of the D.I.L. plant to house the flood of newly discharged soldiers who had enrolled as engineering students. War machines were moved out and the buildings were converted to classrooms and laboratories. By 1949, the last year of the University of Toronto, Ajax Division, some 7,000 engineering students had received their basic training there.

Following the departure of the University of Toronto, the town's growth was largely due to the vision of George W. Finley of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and Ajax became a planned modern community using the wartime base for its post-war foundation.

From 1941 to 1950, Ajax had no local municipal government of its own. In 1950, as a result of a petition, the community became the Corporation of the Improvement District of Ajax with three trustees appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. By 1953, the desire for full and active participation by its citizens in an elected council and school board was strong. The Ajax Citizens' Association, formed by many civic-minded persons, presented a brief to the Ontario Municipal Board urging that the Improvement District of Ajax become the Corporation of the Town of Ajax. The Municipal Board approved this step, and on December 13, 1954, the people elected the first Town Council and the first Public School Board.

On June 22, 1973, the Ontario Legislature enacted Bill 162 to amalgamate the Town of Ajax and the Village of Pickering and annex certain portions of the Township of Pickering to the Town of Ajax, as part of the creation of the new Durham Region; this also included the remote lakeside Town of Pickering Beach. The Region and Town both officially came into being on January 1, 1974.


Ajax is bordered to the west and north by the City of Pickering, to the east by the Town of Whitby and to the south by Lake Ontario.

View of Lake Ontario as seen from Ajax Water Supply Plant located on Ajax Waterfront

Communities of AjaxEdit

  • Applecroft
  • Audley North
  • Audley Road Business Area
  • Audley South
  • Carruthers Creek
  • Carruthers Creek Business Area
  • Central Employment Area
  • Clover Ridge
  • Deer Creek
  • Discovery Bay
  • Downtown
  • Duffins Bay
  • Duffins Crossing
  • Hermitage
  • Lake Vista
  • Lakeside
  • Meadow Ridge
  • Memorial Village
  • Midtown
  • Nottingham
  • Pickering Beach
  • Riverside
  • Riverbreeze
  • Salem Business Area
  • Salem Heights
  • South Greenwood
  • Southwood
  • Pickering Village
  • Westney Heights


Downtown AjaxEdit

Ajax Council and a private developer entered into an agreement in 2012 for the purchase and sale of 9 acres (3.6 ha) of vacant town-owned land at the corner of Bayly Street and Harwood Avenue. Called "Pat Bayly Square", it will provide residential, retail and office space, as well as a civic square and civic facility.[5] Pat Bayly Square opened in September 2018.

Local governmentEdit

Ajax is governed by an elected town Council consisting of a Mayor, and local Councillors representing each of the town's three wards. In addition, three Regional Councillors each represent a ward each. The Mayor and the Regional Councillors sit on both Ajax Town Council and Durham Region Council.

The members of the elected council as of the 2018 municipal election are:[6]

Mayor: Shaun Collier

Regional Councillors:

  • Ward 1: Marilyn Crawford
  • Ward 2: Sterling Lee
  • Ward 3: Joanne Dies


  • Ward 1: Rob Tyler Morin
  • Ward 2: Ashmeed Khan
  • Ward 3: Lisa Bower

In the past, Council has sat for a three-year term, but the Ontario Legislature increased the length of municipal council terms in Ontario to four years, in 2006.[7] The last municipal election was held from 15 to 22 October 2018.[8] In 2018, Ajax Council shifted from two regional councillors and four local councillors to three regional councillors and three local councillors.[8]


Historical populations

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Ajax had a population of 126,666 living in 39,488 of its 40,275 total private dwellings, a change of 5.8% from its 2016 population of 119,677. With a land area of 66.64 km2 (25.73 sq mi), it had a population density of 1,900.8/km2 (4,922.9/sq mi) in 2021.[11]

According to the 2016 Canadian census, the median age is 37.4 years, almost four years less than the national average of 41.2 years; 19.8% of the population is under 15 years of age while 11% are 65 and over.[12]

Among those 25 to 64 years old, the highest levels of education are as follows: 66.6% of people have a post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree, 25.3% have a high school diploma or equivalency certificate, and 8.2% have no certificate, diploma, or degree. [13]

The median value of dwellings in Ajax is $501,102 compared to the provincial median value of $400,496, and the national figure of $341,556.[14]

94.2% of Ajax’s residents are Canadian citizens, with 38.9% being immigrants. 9.8% of the population immigrated between 2001 and 2010 and 3% between 2011 and 2016. The main places of birth of the recent immigrant population (2011-2016) are India (16.3%), Pakistan (14.1%), Philippines (13.2%), Jamaica (6.4%), Sri Lanka (5.4%), Afghanistan (4.0%), and China (3.9%).[15]

According to the 2016 census, the panethnic makeup of the town is: White (42.3%), South Asian (20.9%), Black (16.7%), Filipino & Southeast Asian (5.4%), East Asian (3.2%), West Asian (2.4%), Arab (1.7%), and Latin American (1.4%).[16] Aboriginals make up 1% of the population.[17] Ajax has the highest Black population percentage of any major Canadian municipality (population above 100,000).

Religions in Ajax
Religion Percent
No religious affiliation
Distribution of religions (2011 NHS)

According to the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), the largest religion in Ajax is Christianity (66.6%), with Catholics making up the largest group (31.2%). The next most reported religions are Islam (6.9%) and Hinduism (5.9%). 18.6% of the population reported no religious affiliation.[18]

According to the 2016 census, the most common mother tongue in Ajax is English (69.6%), followed by Tamil (3.8%), Urdu (3.4%), Tagalog (Filipino) (2.4%), and Persian (Farsi) (1.7%). The most commonly known languages among the population are English (98.4%), French (7.7%), Tamil (5.1%), Urdu (5.0%), Tagalog (Filipino) (3.2%).[19]

Mother tongue Population %
English 83,025 69.6
Tamil 4,530 3.8
Urdu 4,055 3.4
Tagalog (Filipino) 2,840 2.4
Persian (Farsi) 2,075 1.7
French 1,515 1.3
Arabic 1,510 1.3
Spanish 1,235 1.0
Gujarati 1,105 0.9
Punjabi 1,050 0.9
Mandarin 1,040 0.9
Cantonese 945 0.8
Italian 855 0.7
Knowledge of language Population %
English 117,300 98.4
French 9,175 7.7
Tamil 6,125 5.1
Urdu 5,925 5.0
Tagalog (Filipino) 3,785 3.2
Hindi 2,975 2.5
Persian (Farsi) 2,715 2.3
Spanish 2,190 1.8
Arabic 2,045 1.7
Punjabi 1,990 1.7
Gujarati 1,550 1.3
Mandarin 1,415 1.2
Italian 1,280 1.1
Cantonese 1,160 1.0


In 1945, with the closing of D.I.L., there was no industry within the town, but in 1949, Dowty Aerospace started operations in Ajax. By 1969, major employers included Volkswagen Canada, DuPont, Paintplas, Ajax Textile, AEG Bayly Engineering and many others.

Shopping was virtually non-existent in the mid-1940s, but by 1970 major shopping centres such as Ajax Plaza, Harwood Place Mall and Clover Ridge Plaza were constructed. The 1980s saw an expansion of retail shopping malls to include Discovery Bay Plaza, Transit Square, Baywood Plaza, Westney Heights Plaza and most recently the Durham Centre at Harwood Avenue and Kingston Road.

The 1970s saw the beginning of many physical changes to the face of Ajax. New subdivisions spread over vacant land in central Ajax. The early 1980s brought extensive development to the southern part of Ajax with large, upscale housing units constructed along Lake Driveway.

The recession of the early 1980s did not stop residential development in Ajax. Westney Heights started north of Highway 2 and offered home buyers low interest rate mortgages while interest rates were then at an all-time high of 18% to 20%. Development north of Highway 2 stretched from Church Street in Pickering Village to Harwood Avenue, with the Millers Creek development south of the highway down to the edge of Highway 401.

Ajax DownsEdit

Ajax Downs is a casino that is located on 50 Alexander's Crossing, near the intersection of Kingston Road and Audley Road. It has been controversial since the announcement of the Durham Live casino in 2018. The Ontario premier Doug Ford had promised to keep the Ajax Downs open after the completion of the casino. In 2022, The Durham Live casino was completed. Although it is referred to as the Pickering Casino, it lies on the border of the two small cities. This marks the first major casino operation in the Greater Toronto Area. [20]


Health careEdit

The Ajax and Pickering General Hospital first opened in 1954 with 38 adult and children's beds. It was expanded to 50 beds in 1958 and a major expansion to 127 beds took place in 1964. The emergency and outpatient services were expanded in 1975. The large growth of population in the Town has prompted a further expansion. Approval was granted in the fall of 1990 to further expand. In 1999, the Hospital merged with Centenary Health Centre in Scarborough to become part of the Rouge Valley Health System. Construction on a $60 million expansion began in 2007, although that has been marred by the highly controversial closure of the 3 West Mental Health ward in 2008, which was originally to be part of the expansion.

Emergency servicesEdit

The Durham Regional Police police Ajax from a station in Pickering. Durham Region provides Ambulance/emergency medical services. Ajax Fire & Emergency Services provides firefighting services from three fire stations.


Multi-use trail over Caruthers Creek. The overhead bridge carries a Canadian Pacific rail line.

In 1973, the Town of Ajax conducted a survey of potential transit ridership in Ajax. This led to the creation of Ajax Transit with bus service beginning in 1973 under a contract with Charterways Transportation Limited, which operated service using a fleet of school buses, with heaviest ridership between the Pickering Beach area and downtown Ajax.

In the late 1970s, the town brought the operations in house and began operations on the Elm, Duffins, and Beach routes, which exist to this day. In the early 1980s, the Harwood, Westney Heights, and Village routes began service. Service on the Puckrin route began in the late 1980s.

In 2001, Ajax Transit and the neighbouring Pickering Transit were amalgamated into the Ajax Pickering Transit Authority (APTA), which operated under the joint ownership and oversight of Ajax and Pickering.

In 2006, APTA was amalgamated into Durham Region Transit along with the other municipal transit services in Durham Region.

Road transportation in Ajax is dominated by Highway 401, which runs east–west through the town, dividing it in half. Access to Highway 401 both east and west is available via Westney Road and Salem Road. Only four streets allow transportation from the north end of town to the south end of town by crossing over or under Highway 401. These streets are (from west to east) Church Street, Westney Road, Harwood Avenue and Salem Road. Lakeridge Road crosses the highway, but it is traditionally held to be the border between the towns of Ajax and Whitby. Notable streets that run parallel to the highway are (from north to south) Taunton Road, Rossland Road, Kingston Road (Highway 2) and Bayly Street. At Salem Road is where Highway 401 narrows to three lanes each way, causing a severe traffic bottleneck eastbound during rush hours and special holidays due to increased travel to Ottawa and Montreal.

The closest international airport to Ajax is Toronto Pearson International Airport, located 50 kilometres to the west in Mississauga.


Ajax is served by the Durham District School Board and the Durham Catholic District School Board. There are five high schools and several elementary schools. Two of the high schools are Catholic schools: Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School and Archbishop Denis O'Connor Catholic High School. The other three are the public secondary schools: Ajax High School, J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate and Pickering High School.


The Ajax Rock are a box lacrosse team that, as of 2009, have been promoted to the Senior "A" Major Series Lacrosse league.[21] They play during the summer months out of the Ajax Community Centre.

The town is the home of two minor leagues, the Ajax Spartans Minor Baseball Association and the Ajax Knights Minor Hockey Association.

There is also a growing rugby union club that has been established since 1949 called the Ajax Wanderers. Their clubhouse is located on 1717 Harwood Ave. N, just south of Taunton Rd.

Ajax is home to several clubs: Ajax FC, Ajax United and Ajax Azzurri. The Ajax ringette association is popular. Ajax has a football team, the Ajax-Pickering Dolphins.

Ajax Cricket Club is located in the community.

The Ajax Community Centre is also home to the Ajax Scuba Club

Ajax is the home of the and the Ajax Ice Waves, a synchronized skating team, and the Ajax Skating Club.

Waterfront Park

Notable people and groupsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Ajax". Geographical Names Data Base. Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  2. ^ a b "Ajax, Town Ontario (Census Subdivision)". Census profile, Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
  3. ^ Kitts, Daniel (10 November 2015). "The Second World War created Ajax. Here's how". TVO. Toronto ON. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Map Legend". Explore Ajax. Archived from the original on 20 July 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  5. ^ "The New Downtown Ajax" (PDF). Town of Ajax. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Mayor and Members of Council". www.ajax.ca. Retrieved 2018-11-04.
  7. ^ "Municipal Elections Act, 1996, S.O. 1996, c. 32, Sched". Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  8. ^ a b "2018 Ajax Municipal Election voting period". www.ajax.ca. Retrieved 2018-11-04.
  9. ^ "1991 Census of Canada: Census Area Profiles". 2.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved 2017-03-07.
  10. ^ "Population. Volume 1. General characteristics, households and families = Population. Volume 1. Caractéristiques générales, ménages et familles". February 2, 1958 – via Internet Archive.
  11. ^ "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions and census subdivisions (municipalities), Ontario". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  12. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Ajax, Town". Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada.
  13. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Ajax, Town - Education". Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada.
  14. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Ajax, Town - Housing". Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada.
  15. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Ajax, Town - Immigration and citizenship". Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada.
  16. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Ajax, Town - Visible minority". Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada.
  17. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Ajax, Town - Aboriginal peoples". Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada.
  18. ^ "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables - Ajax". Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada.
  19. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Ajax, Town - Language". Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada.
  20. ^ https://pickeringcasino.com/get-directions/
  21. ^ "Ajax-Pickering Rock moving up to the Major". Archived from the original on 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
  22. ^ "Women's Professional Soccer – FC Gold Pride – Candace Chapman". Archived from the original on 2010-08-10. Retrieved 2014-09-23.
  23. ^ McNair, Brian (July 31, 2012). "An Olympic Dream Come True for Ajax's Kyle Johnson". Yorkregion.com. Archived from the original on 2014-07-24. Retrieved 2014-09-23.
  • A Town Called Ajax, Ajax Historical Board, 1995
  • The Pictorial History of Ajax, 1941/1972, Ajax Historical Board, 1972
  • Ajax the War Years 1939–1945, Ken Smith, Oshawa, 1989
  • Past Years in Pickering, William R. Wood, Toronto, 1911
  • The Village of Pickering 1800–1970, Corporation of the Village of Pickering, 1970
  • The Pickering Story, William A. McKay, 1961

External linksEdit