|Town of Ajax|
Town of Ajax by the Lake
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|• Mayor||Shaun Collier|
|• Governing body||Ajax Town Council|
|• MP||Mark Holland (Ajax)|
|• MPPs||Rod Phillips (Ajax)|
|• Land||67.07 km2 (25.90 sq mi)|
|Elevation||90 m (300 ft)|
|• Total||121,780 (Ranked 44th)|
|• Density||1,634.2/km2 (4,233/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Postal Code FSA|
L1S, L1T, L1Z
|Area codes||905, 289, 365|
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.
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 (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.
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.
Communities of Ajax
- Audley North
- Audley Road Business Area
- Audley South
- Carruthers Creek
- Carruthers Creek Business Area
- Central Employment Area
- Clover Ridge
- Deer Creek
- Discovery Bay
- Duffins Bay
- Duffins Crossing
- Lake Vista
- Meadow Ridge
- Memorial Village
- Pickering Beach
- Salem Business Area
- Salem Heights
- South Greenwood
- Pickering Village
- Westney Heights
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. Pat Bayly Square opened in September 2018.
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:
Mayor: Shaun Collier
- 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. The last municipal election was held from 15 to 22 October 2018. In 2018, Ajax Council shifted from two regional councillors and four local councillors to three regional councillors and three local councillors.
According to the 2016 Canadian census, the population of Ajax is 119,677, a 9.2% increase from 2011. The town has a population density of 1,786.4 per km2 and approximately 37,549 occupied private dwellings. 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.
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. 
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.
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%).
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%). Aboriginals make up 1% of the population. Ajax has the highest Black population percentage of any major Canadian municipality (population above 100,000).
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.
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%).
|Knowledge of language||Population||%|
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 Downs is a casino that is located on 50 Alexander's Crossing, near the intersection of Kingston Road (Toronto) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 town is the home of two minor leagues, the Ajax Spartans Minor Baseball Association and the Ajax Knights Minor Hockey Association.
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.
Ajax is the home of the Ajax Skating Club and the Ajax Ice Waves, a synchronized skating team, and the Ajax Scuba Club.
Notable people and groups
- Toya Alexis, musician, Canadian Idol finalist
- Charlotte Arnold, actress
- Benjamin deForest Bayly, inventor
- Jeff Beukeboom, retired NHL player
- Boi-1da, hip hop producer
- Matt Brann, musician
- Brendan Canning, musician
- Munro Chambers, actor
- Candace Chapman, women's soccer player and Olympian
- Closet Monster, punk rock band
- Christian Corbet, painter, sculptor and forensic artist
- Derek Cornelius, professional soccer player
- Joe Dickson, MPP and owner of Dickson Printing
- Janet Ecker, former Ontario Minister of Finance
- Akeem Foster, CFL football player
- Keith Godding, CFL football player
- Glenn Healy, former NHL goaltender
- Kyle Johnson, professional basketball player and Olympian; grew up in Ajax
- The Johnstones, ska band
- Rabindranath Maharaj, novelist
- Nam Nguyen, national champion figure skater
- Not by Choice, punk rock band
- Emmett O'Connor, professional association football (soccer) player
- Kim Phuc, subject of a famous photo from the Vietnam War
- John Saunders, sports journalist for ESPN and ABC
- Corey Sevier, actor
- Ken Shaw, CTV Toronto news anchor
- Nathan Shepherd, NFL football player
- Devin Shore, NHL forward for the Anaheim Ducks
- Rene Soetens, former Progressive Conservative MP
- Sum 41, punk rock band
- T-Minus, hip hop and R&B producer
- Jessica Tyler, actress
- Nigel Wilson, retired MLB player
- Renee Young, WWE on-air personality
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- 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