Ajax, Ontario

Ajax, Ontario

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Town of Ajax
other_name =
native_name =
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settlement_type =
motto = Ajax by the Lake

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mapsize = 157px
map_caption = Location of Ajax in Durham Region

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subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name =
subdivision_type1 = Province
subdivision_name1 =
subdivision_type2 = Regional Municipality
subdivision_name2 = Durham
government_footnotes =
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Steve Parish
leader_title1 = Governing body
leader_name1 = Ajax Town Council
leader_title2 = MP
leader_name2 = Mark Holland (Ajax-Pickering)
leader_title3 = MPPs
leader_name3 = Joe Dickson (Ajax-Pickering)
established_title = Established
established_date = 1955
area_magnitude =
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area_footnotes =
area_total_km2 = 67.09
area_land_km2 =
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population_as_of = 2006
population_footnotes = Statistics Canada [http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/data/profiles/community/Details/Page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo1=CSD&Code1=3518005&Geo2=PR&Code2=35&Data=Count&SearchText=ajax&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=35&B1=All&Custom= Community Profile]
population_note =
population_total = 93,104
population_density_km2 = 1344
population_density_sq_mi =
timezone = EST
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
latd=43 |latm=51 |lats= |latNS=N
longd=79 |longm=01 |longs= |longEW=W
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 90
elevation_ft =
postal_code_type = Postal Code FSA
postal_code = L1S, L1T, L1Z
area_code = 905, 289
website = [http://www.townofajax.com townofajax.com]
footnotes =
Ajax (2008 population 93,104) is a town located in the Golden Horseshoe of south central Ontario, Canada.

Ajax is a part of the Greater Toronto Area and the Regional Municipality of Durham. It is approximately convert|25|km|mi|0 east of Toronto on the shores of Lake Ontario and is bordered by the City of Pickering to the west and to the north and the Town of Whitby to the east.


Before the Second World War, the territory in which Ajax is situated was a rural part of the Township of Pickering. The town itself was first established in 1941 when a Defence Industries Limited shell plant was constructed and a townsite grew around the plant. By 1945 the plant had filled 40 million shells; employed over 9000 people at peak production; boasted of its own water and sewage treatment plants; a school population of over 600; convert|50|km|mi|0|abbr=on of railroad and convert|50|km|mi|0|abbr=on of roads. The entire D.I.L. plant site included some convert|12|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on. People came from all over Canada to work at D.I.L.

This enormous burgeoning war plant community needed a name. The name was supplied by the first significant British naval victory of World War II. 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.

After the War ended, the University of Toronto leased much of the D.I.L. plant to house the flood of newly discharged men from the Armed Forces 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 7000 engineering students had received their basic training here.

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

From 1941 to 1950, Ajax had no local municipal government of its own, and was part of the Township of Pickering. Then in 1950, as a result of a petition of its citizens, Ajax, by order of the Ontario Municipal Board, became the Corporation of the Improvement District of Ajax with three trustees appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. The first trustees were: Benjamin de Forest Bayly, Chairman; John Mills, Vice-Chairman; and W.W. Rideout. These trustees acted as Council, School Board, Library Board and every other board that a municipality required. The Chairman performed all the duties of a mayor. It fell to these men to enact the first by-laws of Ajax and to set up its first municipal administration. Two key men employed by the trustees were Bolton C. Falby, Clerk-Treasurer and Charles H. Reed, Works Superintendent.

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. The Region and Town both officially came into being on January 1, 1974.

Modern status

Today, Ajax is commonly considered part of the Greater Toronto Area, in the eastern part of the Golden Horseshoe region.

As is true for most suburban areas in the Greater Toronto Area, Ajax has grown considerably since the 1980s. What was once a small town mostly surrounded by agricultural areas has increasingly become a bedroom community to Toronto, Ontario and its environs. Many residents commute to work in Toronto or other municipalities in Durham Region.

The following is a summary of major changes in the past several decades:
* Rapid population growth leading to suburban sprawl. As the town becomes increasingly built-out, the Town is attempting to increase intensity of development, particularly in the downtown area near Harwood Avenue north of Bayly. However, development in Ajax still principally consists of single-family detached houses on separate lots, and so the fundamental nature of the town seems fixed for the near future.
* Increased traffic congestion, aggravated by the relatively narrow aspect of Highway 401 through Durham Region, compared to other parts of the GTA, as well as limited capacity on major roads such as Taunton Road and Rossland Road. Long term plans including widening regional roads and Highway 401, extending Highway 407, and increasing Durham Region Transit service may alleviate this to some degree.
* Increasing multiculturalism, with many young ethnic professionals into the newer northern parts of Ajax, making a much more heterogeneous town than had previously existed.
* Increased crime, including personal property crimes and home invasions, reflecting changes in crime patterns in the GTA.

Local government

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

The current council was elected in November 2006. The members of the council are:

Mayor: Steve Parish

Members of Council:
* Scott Crawford - Regional Councillor (Wards 1 and 2)
* Colleen Jordan - Regional Councillor (Wards 3 and 4)
* Shaun Collier - Councillor, Ward 1
* Renrick Ashby - Councillor, Ward 2 (elected in March 2008 byelection)
* Joanne Dies - Councillor, Ward 3
* Pat Brown - Councillor, Ward 4

In the past, Council has sat for a three year term, but the Ontario Legislature has recently introduced legislation increasing the length of municipal council terms in Ontario to four years. The next municipal election will therefore be in November 2010. A by-election was held on March 1, 2008 to fill the Ward 2 council seat left vacant after councillor Joe Dickson was elected to the Legislature for Ajax-Pickering in the October 2007 provincial election.


According to the 2006 Canadian Census, Ajax has a population of 89 835. Of those people, 36% are a visible minority. The largest visible minority groups are Blacks (13%), South Asians (11%), Filipinos (3%), and Chinese (2%).


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 1991 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 80's 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 Avneue 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 late 1970s and early 1980s saw extensive high rise development alter the skyline of Ajax.

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 current interest rates were 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.

Health care

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.

Emergency services

Ajax is policed by the Durham Regional Police from a station in Pickering. Ambulance/emergency medical services are also provided by Durham Region. Ajax Fire & Emergency Services provides firefighting services from three fire stations.


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 inhouse 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 also crosses the highway, but it is traditionally held to be the border between the towns of Ajax and Whitby. Also, notable streets that run parallel to the highway are (from north to south) Taunton Road, Rossland Road, Kingston Road (Highway 2) and Bayly Street.


Ajax is served by the Durham District School Board and the Durham Catholic District School Board. There are 5 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, and the other three are Public schools: Ajax High School, J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate and Pickering High School.


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

Ajax is also home to three soccer clubs: Ajax Soccer Club, Ajax United, and Ajax Azzuri.The Ajax ringette association is also popular. Ajax also has a football team, the Ajax-Pickering Dolphins.


If you rotate the city 95 degrees to the right, it looks like a pistol.

Famous people and groups

* Charlotte Arnold, actress from
* Jeff Beukeboom, Retired NHL player
* Matt Brann, musician
* Brent Burns, NHL player
* Brendan Canning, musician
* Sandra Crofford, CHUM FM announcer
* Janet Ecker Former Minister of Finance (PC Party)
* Steve Gilchrist Former PC Cabinet minister & Ajax-Pickering Conservative Candidate
* Rex Grignon, head of character animation at DreamWorks Animation
* Glenn Healy, NHL goaltender.
* The Johnstones, Ska band
* Graham Martin, Onyx Wind Quintet
* Closet Monster, punk rock band
* Not By Choice, punk rock band
* Kim Phuc, subject of a famous photo from the Vietnam war
* Ken Shaw; CTV Toronto co-anchor.
* Corey Sevier, actor
* Snow, reggae musician
* Rene Soetens, Former MP
* Sum 41, alternative rock band
* Nigel Wilson, Retired MLB Player
* Christian Corbet, painter, sculptor and forensic artist


* A Town Called Ajax, The 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 links

* [http://www.townofajax.com Town of Ajax]

Canadian City Geographic Location
North= Pickering
West= Pickering
Center= Ajax
East= Whitby
South="Lake Ontario"

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