Toronto Neighbourhood Guide

Ajax

History of Ajax

Ajax was a collection of small settlements and farms until 1941, when Defence Industries Limited (DIL), set up a munitions plant here. DIL was said to be the largest military manufacturing facility operating in North America during World War ll. This massive war plant spanned almost 3,000 acres, and at its peak employed over 9,000 people. The infrastructure needed to operate DIL, led to the first school, roads, and water and sewage treatment plants in Ajax.

When the post office was opened this company town needed a name. The name Ajax was selected from a competition among DIL employees, in honour of the famous British warship the HMS Ajax. Many of the streets in Ajax, are named in honour of those who served on the HMS Ajax. After the war, many former DIL buildings were leased to the University of Toronto Engineering School, and a new population base was added to the area. In 1949, Dowty Aerospace began operations in Ajax, and soon more industry would follow. Ajax would continue to prosper, and this led to its incorporation as a Town in 1955.

In 1974, the Town Of Ajax, and parts of the Township of Pickering amalgamated. In an interesting twist, the historic Pickering Village situated at Church Street and Kingston Road, was amalgamated by the Town of Ajax, and not by the neighbouring City of Pickering.

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