History, Heritage & Archives

Town of Ajax History

Ajax was incorporated as a Town in 1955, but long before that, several small settlements and farms were found in the area. In 1941, the largest defence industry in North America was located in this area to provide supplies for the Allies in World War II. The founding of Defence Industries Limited (DIL) was really the start of Ajax as we know it. As thousands of workers and their families settled in the immediate area, communities developed and a post office was needed, which meant the area needed a name. A competition among DIL employees resulted in the name Ajax being chosen, in honour of one of the three ships that in 1939 had engaged and routed the German battleship Graf Spee at the Battle of the River Plate near Uruguay.

After the War, the University of Toronto leased many of the DIL buildings for a new flood of engineering students, and a new population base was added to the area. The community continued to grow and by the early 1950s it was clear that it was time for incorporation as a municipality. This occurred in 1955. Twenty years later, the small community of Pickering Village and parts of Pickering Township were amalgamated with Ajax, forming the Town's current boundaries.

Continue on the historical journey of the Town of Ajax:


Town of Ajax Heritage

For additional information on the Heritage Property Inventory including the Town's Designated Heritage Properties and maps, the Heritage Property Tax Rebate Program, and walking tour brochures, please visit the Historical Ajax website.

Heritage Permit & General Information

Town of Ajax Archives

In February 2010, Ajax Council formally established the Ajax Archives, to collect and preserve archival materials which illustrate or document the growth and development of the Town of Ajax. The history of the community that has become the Town of Ajax is as unique as it is diverse. The photos, artifacts and records which document the inception, growth and development of the municipality are a legacy to future generations. The preservation and conservation of the items in the Ajax Archives is an important step to ensuring this history is kept safe, and is accessible to the community.

Pickering Village Heritage Conservation District Study

Pickering Village, located in the west end of the Town of Ajax along Highway 2, is home to a unique collection of the community's most historic homes and properties. For more information on Pickering Village and the Heritage Conservation District Study please visit www.pvhcdproject.com

Additional Resources

The Ajax Public Library has developed a local history website that provides access to local history and historical documents and photographs about Ajax and Pickering. This information is available by visiting OurOntario's website.

Learn more about the Town of Ajax Veterans' Street Naming Dedications.

The following publications are also available through the Ajax Public Library:

  • 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

"A Town Called Ajax", is dedicated to the Town to be cherished with pride by our founding citizens and to serve as an introduction for newcomers. Published in 1995 by the Ajax Historical Board commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first Ajax Council meeting. is available for purchase at the Legislative & Information Services Department.

For information, please e-mail Brenda Kriz  or call 905-619-2529, ext. 3343