Aylmer, Ontario

Aylmer is a town in Elgin County in southern Ontario, Canada, just north of Lake Erie, on Catfish Creek. It is 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of Highway 401.

Town of Aylmer
Aylmer, Ontario (21589140179).jpg
Proud heritage, bright future.
Aylmer is located in Southern Ontario
Location in southern Ontario
Coordinates: 42°46′N 80°59′W / 42.767°N 80.983°W / 42.767; -80.983Coordinates: 42°46′N 80°59′W / 42.767°N 80.983°W / 42.767; -80.983
Country Canada
Province Ontario
 • MayorMary French
 • Deputy MayorSheri Andrews
 • Federal ridingElgin—Middlesex—London
 • Prov. ridingElgin—Middlesex—London
 • Land6.26 km2 (2.42 sq mi)
 • Urban
6.23 km2 (2.41 sq mi)
Elevation235.90 m (773.95 ft)
 • Town (lower-tier)7,492
 • Density1,197.6/km2 (3,102/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Forward sortation area
Area code(s)519 and 226
Highways Highway 3
Former Highway 73

Aylmer is surrounded by Malahide Township.


In October 1817, John Van Patter, an immigrant from New York State, obtained 80 ha of land and became the first contemporary settler on the site of Aylmer. During the 1830s a general store was opened and village lots sold. Originally called Troy, in 1835 it was renamed Aylmer after Lord Aylmer, then Governor-in-Chief of British North America. By 1851 local enterprises included sawmills and flour-mills powered by water from Catfish Creek. Aided by easy access to Lake Erie, Aylmer became by the mid-1860s the marketing centre for a rich agricultural and timber producing area. Benefiting greatly from the construction of the 230 km Canada Air Line Railway from Glencoe to Fort Erie, Aylmer became an incorporated village in 1872 and a town in 1887.[3]

A Royal Canadian Air Force Training Facility, RCAF Station Aylmer was located just north of Aylmer in Malahide Township from 1941 to 1961. This station is now home to the Ontario Police College and The Aylmer Wildlife Management Area.[4]

Former mayor (1994–2003) Robert Habkirk was again elected the mayor of Aylmer on November 13, 2006, to a four-year term. He was defeated by the former principal of East Elgin Secondary School, Jack Couckuyt, by a wide margin on October 25, 2010.

In 2004, a new arena, the East Elgin Community Complex, was completed to house the many hockey leagues in town. The Old Town Hall which houses the library, also has a restored theatre which houses occasional plays. For history buffs, the Aylmer Museum houses a collection of 19th century Victorian art pieces created from hair.

In 2007, Communities in Bloom, a nationwide beautification program, awarded Aylmer first place in Canada in the 5001 to 10,000 population category.

The community drew attention during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic when a local church held drive-in worship services where parishioners remained in their vehicles. The services were considered by Aylmer Police to be in possible violation of provincial restrictions on public gatherings but they opted not to levy fines of up to 100,000 CAD.[5] In November that year, Aylmer was the site of a 2000-person demonstration against COVID-19 related restrictions.[6]

Mennonite and Amish communitiesEdit

In the mid-1970s, many Plautdietsch-speaking Mennonites began migrating to the Aylmer area from Mexico. The Mennonites were Canadian citizens who had moved to Mexico from Manitoba and Saskatchewan during the first half of the 20th century. By the early 21st century, there was a large Mennonite population in Aylmer and the surrounding area. 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. This community was founded by families moving from Ohio in 1953. They were uncomfortable with a nuclear facility being constructed close to their community in Ohio. Since that time, the 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 and sell fruit, vegetables, eggs, and animals, such as rabbits and chickens. This particular Amish community eschews the use of automobiles, electricity, and most modern conveniences. An Amish publishing house, Pathway Publishers, is based in the community.

Tobacco industryEdit

The tobacco-growing industry played a large part in the economic development of Aylmer. Imperial Tobacco Canada built a plant in Aylmer in the mid-1940s. At its peak, Imperial employed more than 800 full-time and seasonal workers. After declining tobacco sales in Canada, Imperial began downsizing in the 1990s. In October 2005, Imperial Tobacco announced that the Aylmer and Guelph, Ontario, plants would close. The plant closed permanently in July 2007, putting the remaining 75 employees out of work.

Ontario Police CollegeEdit

In the early 1950s, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) proposed the idea of a central provincial police academy. In 1959 the Attorney General appointed an advisory committee on police training in 1962 announced the formal establishment of the college. OPC offered its first classes beginning January 7, 1963, in the temporary wartime training quarters of an abandoned Royal Canadian Air Force base near Aylmer, Ontario. In 1976 the college moved to its present facilities. The College Is situated on 121.5 hectares of rural land five kilometers northeast of the town of Aylmer, Ontario (190 km west of Toronto). The college has 165 full and part-time employees including instructors, support and seconded staff. The 45 permanent instructors are supplemented by police officers from various police services, usually for two-year periods. With very rare exceptions, all Police Officers in Ontario, Canada attend the college for their 13-week program in order to receive their Basic Constables Training Diploma. Once they have received the Diploma and after they have been sworn in as Peace Officers, they can then work in the Province of Ontario as police officers.[7]

Aylmer FairEdit

The Aylmer Fair is a non-profit society run by the OAAS (Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies). They are the oldest agricultural fair in District 13. It is run by a board of Directors, and volunteers in the area. In 1846, the Aylmer and East Elgin Agricultural Society (formally known as the Malahide Agricultural Society up until 1860) began its annual exhibitions of agriculture and livestock to the people in and around the Aylmer area. In 30 years the fair grew from a few dozen exhibits in the 1850s to over 1700 in 1876. The Aylmer fair also expanded from an afternoon show to a two-day event and membership to the Society has grown to over 200 members. It was not until 1865 that ladies' exhibitions were included in the fair. Stock and wheat became uninteresting and was not likely to attract exhibitors and visitors. "Women's Work" was an essential, interesting and an attracting element in the success of the fair. In 1874, 523 entries (1/6th of the exhibits) were based largely on Women's Work. Throughout the early years the fair travelled and was held in many locations, but found its permanent location in 1875 in Aylmer, where 8 acres of land was purchased. In this year the fair held its first opening day, surrounded by a high well built board fence, charging $.10 for admission into the fair. The Aylmer Fair entered the 20th Century with unparalleled success. Businessmen supported it eagerly through donations and participation and even helped decorate the town for the fair days. It was known as "Aylmer's Greatest Fair," with a train excursion that travelled from Hamilton, London and St. Thomas with passengers wanting to see the fair. However, after issues of agricultural exhibits versus expensive attractions by business men, in 1910 the fair was cancelled. Farmers and others complained that throughout the preceding years, the extravagant attractions that were created leveled the significance that agriculture and livestock was given. It was a struggle to get the fair up and running again with many problems each year including funding issues and low admission rates until 1924. A turnover in personnel and the government granted more funding, this turning point created major changes in attractions and promotions over the next six years. During the 1940s, the war effort was a major theme of the fair. In 1941, admission costs, membership fees and 50% of the profits were given to the Red Cross and a war bond was purchased with the remaining 50%. The fair held its Centennial in 1956, celebrating its 100-year anniversary and the achievements it had developed. From 1945 to 1965 was the greatest period in the fair's history. No period prior had sustained such growth in all aspects of the fair: in buildings, attendance, and growth of exhibits and in general participation. It has continued to grow. 1977 created a new record in attendance of 47,000 people present at the two-day event. It continues to grow every year, with great attractions including agriculture, family activities and midway events. 2013 marks the 168th year at the Aylmer Fair.[8]


Historical population
1991 6,244+18.8%
1996 population would have been 7,022 with boundaries of 2001
2001 population would have been 7158 with boundaries of 2006
Canada census – Aylmer, Ontario community profile
2016 2011 2006
Population: 7,492 (+4.8% from 2011) 7,151 (+1.2% from 2006) 7,069 (−1.2% from 2001)
Land area: 6.26 km2 (2.42 sq mi) 6.22 km2 (2.40 sq mi) 6.22 km2 (2.40 sq mi)
Population density: 1,197.6/km2 (3,102/sq mi) 1,148.9/km2 (2,976/sq mi) 1,135.7/km2 (2,941/sq mi)
Median age: 39.3 (M: 37.0, F: 41.3) 39.5 (M: 37.1, F: 41.5) 38.2 (M: 36.1, F: 40.0)
Total private dwellings: 3,031 2,917 2,793
Median household income: $56,806 $50,957
References: 2016[11] 2011[12] 2006[13] earlier[14]


Climate data for Aylmer
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average precipitation mm (inches) 86.1
Average rainfall mm (inches) 49
Average snowfall cm (inches) 37
Source: [2]


Aylmer has two local radio stations: CHPD-FM on 105.9 FM (a Low German radio station), and low-power religious station VF8016 at 90.1 FM.

Notable residentsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Aylmer, Town". Statistics Canada. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Aylmer Ont Hydro station results". Canadian Climate Normals 1971-2000. Environment Canada. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
  3. ^ "History of Aylmer". Aylmer.ca. Aylmer, Ontario. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Aylmer Wildlife Management Area". Elgin Stewardship Council. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  5. ^ Bogdan, Sawyer (April 30, 2020). "Coronavirus: Aylmer, Ont., police won't fine church in relation to drive-in service". Global News. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  6. ^ Dubinski, Kate (7 November 2020). "2,000 people march through Aylmer, Ont., to protest COVID-19 health measures". CBC News. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  7. ^ "About the Ontario Police College". Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  8. ^ Desert Sand by Free Css Templates Archived 2013-10-07 at the Wayback Machine. Elgin.ca (2002-11-08). Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
  9. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006 census
  10. ^ "Aylmer (Census Subdivision) census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
  11. ^ "2016 Community Profiles". 2016 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 21, 2017. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  12. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". 2011 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
  13. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". 2006 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
  14. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". 2001 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012.

External linksEdit