In October 1817, John Van Patter, an emigrant 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 in what was then 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. It benefited greatly from the construction of the 230-km Canada Air Line Railway from Glencoe to Fort Erie in the 1860s.
Mennonite and Amish communities
In the mid-1970s, many German-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" 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 Amish community eschews the use of automobiles, electricity, and most modern conveniences. An Amish publishing house, Pathway Publishers, is based in the community.
The tobacco growing industry played a large part in the economic development of Aylmer.
Ontario Police College
In 1962 a central provincial police academy was established in Aylmer. With very rare exceptions, all Police Officers in Ontario attend the college for their 15-week program in order to receive their Basic Constables 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.
- From London, Aylmer is 40 km away: south on Highbury Ave N (#30), and east on Ron McNeil Line (#52).
- From Toronto, Aylmer is 190 km away: west on Gardiner Expressway/Queen Elizabeth Way to Highway 403, then southwest to Elgin Road (#52).
- J & D's Taxi Service, +1 519-773-9566
- 10,000-60,000 Tundra Swans arrive in the spring as they make their way from their wintering grounds on Chesapeake Bay, to the Arctic - where they breed. They stop over at the Wildlife Management Area near the Ontario Police College on Hacienda Road, located on the north-east side of Aylmer. A Swan Line (+1 519-773-7926) provides daily updates about the number of swans arriving from the last week of February to the end of March or when the swans are gone.
- The Old Town Hall, 38 John St S, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Theatre hosting concerts and shows, also houses the library. For history buffs, the Aylmer Museum houses a collection of 19th century Victorian art pieces created from hair.
- The Aylmer Fair. Second weekend of Aug. In 1846, the Aylmer and East Elgin Agricultural Society began its annual exhibitions of agriculture and livestock to the people in and around the Aylmer area. Attractions include agriculture, family activities and midway events. Adults $7, ages 6-12 $3, ages 5 & under free, parking $5.
- Clovermead Apiaries, 11302 Imperial Rd, ☎ . Adventure Farm June 1-Oct 31: M-Sa 9AM–5:30PM. Heritage honey farm with Adventure Farm family playground and animal farm. The Bee Discovery Station has Ontario's largest glass bee display hive. The Honey Gift Shop offers honey treats. Bee-line tours are available for school groups, bus tours, and large family gatherings. Adventure Farm: adults $13, seniors $11, children 23 months & under free.
- Steed & Company Lavender, 47589 Sparta Line, Central Elgin (3 km east of the historic village of Sparta), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Mid-May to Christmas: W-Sa (and Jun-Aug: Tu) 10AM-5PM, Su noon- 4PM. The lavender farm part of a 45-acre horse farm nestled at the edge of the spectacular Carolinian forest and valley slopes. It is designated as an Area of Natural Special Interest (ANSI). It grows several varieties of English lavender landscaped into beautiful gardens integrated into the natural beauty of this rural setting. No dogs.
- Springwater Conservation Area, 8079 Springwater Rd, ☎ . Full-service service campground (mid-May to mid-Oct, 15 and 30 amp sites), day use facilities, hiking trails, year-round special events, and facility rentals.
- Port Bruce Provincial Park, Imperial Road & Levi Street, ☎ . Jun-Aug. 7-ha park with 200 m sandy beach and shallow, clear water; picnic area with a hardtop basketball court; restaurant beside the park. Free.
- Farmers Market & Flea Market, 51 Murray Street, ☎ . May 1 - Oct 31: Tuesdays 8AM to 4PM. Local fresh produce, meat, cheese, eggs, collectables, fabrics, clothing, crafts, books, tools, furniture, home décor, one restaurant, ATM.
- Ruby's Cookhouse, 583 John St North, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-W 7AM-9PM, Th-Sa 7AM-10PM, Su 8AM-9PM. Breakfasts (from $5.50), sandwiches, wraps, pastas, salads, steaks, souvlaki.
- Mennomex, 49919 Talbot St E, ☎ . M-F 6AM-9PM, Sa 7AM-9PM. Authentic Mexican restaurant and groceries by Mennonites.
- Noah's Ark Casual Fine Dining, 99 Talbot Street West, ☎ . Tu W 11AM–8PM, Th 11AM–9PM, F Sa 11AM–10:00 PM, Su 9AM–8PM. Street side patio, live music. Mains $17-23, burgers $11-13.
- Cy's, 436 Talbot St E, ☎ . Pub, bowling, beer and chicken wings.
- Sweet Magnolia House Bed and Breakfast, 236 Talbot St E, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Single $90-130, double $100-130.
|Routes through Aylmer|
|END ← St. Thomas ←||W E||→ Tillsonburg → Fort Erie|