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|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|Forward sortation area||N0B 1E0|
|Area code(s)||519 and 226|
The community of Ayr, Ontario, Canada is located within the Township of North Dumfries in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo in Southwestern Ontario. Ayr is located south of Kitchener and west of Cambridge.
The village later to be called Ayr was originally a group of settlements, Mudge's Mills in the centre, Jedburgh to the east and Nithvale to the west, that eventually combined into one as they expanded. The name Ayr was first used when it was assigned to the first post office in 1840.
The territory in this area, eventually to be the township of North Dumfries, consisting of 94,305 acres, had been sold to Philip Stedman in 1798 from Joseph Brant of the Six Nations. Ownership transferred to Thomas Clarke and then, in 1816 to William Dickson a wealthy immigrant from Scotland.
Absalom Shade was the only individual land owner in the area of the junction of Smith's Creek (now the Nith River) and Cedar Creek in 1822 and the first actual settler was Abel Mudge, initially as a squatter. He built a dam, a sawmill and a grist mill. Most subsequent settlers at Mudge's Mills were Scottish, farmers, artisans or tradesmen. John Hall opened a flour mill and a distillery nearby in 1832.
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 but little information remains from that era.
A merchant, Robert Wylie, laid out a settlement at Mudge's Mill in 1839, and a post office opened in 1840, with the name Ayr, named after a town in Scotland, with Wylie as the postmaster. The other two settlements were not a part of Ayr but received their mail at the single post office. The population in 1846 was 230 persons. The Smith's Canadian Gazetteer of 1846 describes Ayr as follows: "A Village in the west of the township of Dumfries; It was laid out in 1839. Population, 230. Ayr contains two churches, Presbyterian. Post Office, post once a-week. Professions and Trades.—One grist mill, fulling mill and carding machine, one tannery, two stores, one blacksmith, two shoemakers, two tailors, one cooper, two carpenters."
The population did not reach 1000 until almost 1870. The largest business was a foundry. In 1847 or 1848, the John Watson Manufacturing Company (later Ayr Machinery Works) had opened and became very successful, shipping agricultural implements across the country by 1870.
Other new businesses that started at about the same time included grist and saw mills, a woollen mill, stores, cabinet makers, carpenters, and eventually, hotels. By 1850, a good road to Galt had been built and a railway had reached Galt, some distance from Ayr. During that time, goods for export were taken by ox carts to the train station at Paris, Ontario. The village finally go a rail line from the Credit Valley Railway in 1879; that helped facilitate the export and import of goods.
By 1854, the village had a small library, two school houses, a fire company, a newspaper and a single (Presbyterian) church. The village, including Jedburgh, was incorporated in 1884 with John Watson as the Reeve. A large library was built in 1909 with funds provided by a Carnegie grant.
In January 1973, Ayr was amalgamated into North Dumfries Township.
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Major highways in the area include Highway 401. Ayr was originally an agricultural centre and maintains several businesses related to agriculture in the present. The community is rapidly expanding as sub-divisions are added to provide housing for people working in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.
The town has three elementary schools. Built in 1890, the Ayr Public School was the original site and the town's only school for nearly a century. In the 1990s, St. Brigid Catholic School was built and a new building is currently being constructed (2017). Lastly, Cedar Creek Public School has been added to service the town's growing population. The town does not have a secondary school, so students attend Southwood Secondary School or Monsignor Doyle Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge. Despite its rapid recent growth, there is still no bus service in Ayr to/from the larger cities.
The newest major addition to the city of Ayr is the North Dumfries Community Centre; major construction was completed in 2011.
TV and movies
- Sketches of Our Town, a half-hour Canadian documentary series from the mid 80s and early 90s, 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.
- Blood & Guts, a 1978 Paul Lynch film, had scenes shot in the Queen's Tavern. Lynch also used the town for The Hard Part Begins five years previous.
- 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 
- Ayr's lawn bowling club that is an active member of District 7 of the Ontario Lawn Bowling Association.
- Ayr is home to the Ayr Centennials, a junior hockey team that plays in the Midwestern Junior C Hockey League (previously in the Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League) as well as the Ayr Ice Cats,a minor ringette organization whose players range for age 4 to age 18. All teams play in the Southern Region Ringette League.
- Ayr Minor Softball Association (Jr. Vics) for boys and girls age 4 to 16.
- The Ayr Rockets, girls hockey team has been recently brought back.
- Ayr Minor Soccer Club - for boys and girls ranging from U5 to U20.
- Ayr Co-Ed Adult League, a recreational soccer league for men and women.
Notable natives and residents
- Kyle Clifford, ice hockey player, two time Stanley Cup champion.
- Kortney Wilson, country music singer and star of the HGTV Show Masters of Flip along with her husband Dave.
- "History". The Township of North Dumfries. The Township of North Dumfries. 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
- Smith, Wm. H. (1846). SMITH'S CANADIAN GAZETTEER - STATISTICAL AND GENERAL INFORMATION RESPECTING ALL PARTS OF THE UPPER PROVINCE, OR CANADA WEST:. Toronto: H. & W. ROWSELL. p. 8.
- "History of Ayr". Waterloo Region Museum. Waterloo Region. 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
Previous Names: Jedburgh, Mudge's Mills, Nithvale