Uncovering Historical Ajax - Landmarks - Town of Ajax


St. Francis Centre - 78 Church Street South

Originally constructed in 1871, the former St. Francis de Sales Church gives meaning to the name of the street on which it is situated (Church Street), and is an important symbol of the Irish immigrants that settled in the Pickering Village area in the 1800's. The building, designed by Henry Langley, is an excellent example of High Victorian Gothic architecture and is representative of church design in the 1870/80s. Unique features of the building include the distinctive octagonal church spire and the steeply pitched roof, marked by three trefoil window dormers topped by iron cresting. The Town of Ajax acquired the building in 2007 and the St. Francis Centre was opened in 2011 as a multi-use community arts, cultural and performance venue; the first of its kind in west Durham. 

- Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1999.

St. Francis Centre
Memorial Park Gates (Church Street North)

The iron entrance gates and nearby cenotaph at Memorial Park, located on Church Street North, were constructed in or around 1922 shortly after the park was purchased by the Pickering Village Chamber of Commerce. The gates are unique to Ajax and have a strong association with the ajoining neighbourhood park. Memorial Park was the venue of the popular Dominion Day (Canada Day) festivities from 1922 to at least the 1950s, and subsequently the Village Festival in the 1970s and 80s. The cenotaph was the site of Remembrance Day ceremonies until 1974. Aesthetically, the gates represent a formal entrance to Memorial Park and give it a special character unlike that of any other park in Ajax. While the nearby cenotaph is no longer used for Remembrance Day ceremonies, it complements the gates and the akjacent library and provides a point interest for families using the park.   

Memorial Gate 
St. George's Anglican Church and Cemetery - 77 Randall Drive

St. George's Anglican Church is the oldest church in Ajax. It is a typical, small rural-style church, within a setting of spruce trees, gravestones and wrought iron fences. The earliest dates legible on the gravestones in the adjoining cemetery date back to the 1860s. The Grand Trunk Railway provided the red bricks in return for a railway right-of-way across land deeded to the church as clergy reserves. Defining architectural features include angled bricks around the doorways and windows, the different bonds of exterior brickwork and the bell cote on the roof. The church continues to be an important landmark in Pickering Village.

Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1984.

St. George's Anglican Church and Cemetery
Ajax Steam Plant ~ Index Energy - 170 Mills Road

The Ajax Steam Plant was built in 1941 to provide the steam heat vital to the production lines of the Defence Industries Limited (DIL) shell filling plant. As late as the mid 1950s, the plant was still supplying steam to much of the community. These steam lines can be seen in many of the early pictures of Ajax from the DIL days since they were suspended above ground. Starting in the 1950s, whenever a major road was being constructed, the steam lines were relocated underground. In October 2008, Ajax received applications from Index Energy, a new North American based energy corporation, for redeveloping the Ajax Steam Plant into a modern district energy facility.  The work was completed in the spring of 2015, and several elements of the original building were retained and incorporated into the new design, including the iconic stack.

-Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1991.

Ajax Steam Plant
Old Post Inn - 365 Kingston Road East

The Old Post Inn, believed to be built in 1815 by George Washington Post, is Ajax's oldest building.  It was used as a stagecoach inn for travelers between York (Toronto) and Kingston, and had a blacksmith shop and stable on the property to service the stagecoach horses. By 1856, the stagecoach trade had started to decline quite rapidly, due to the advent of the Grand Trunk Railroad. The structure contained a "tap" room, dining room a large parlor. The cooking wing was located at the rear of the building, a ballroom at the front, and several sleeping quarters arranged upstairs.  Runnymede Development Corporation Limited purchased the property and submitted a plan of subdivision in 2005; however the building was located directly in line with the proposed road access.  To mitigate this concern, Runnymede relocated the building on the property by moving it slightly to the west.  Between 2010 and 2012, the building underwent significant renovations.  The building's blue aluminum cladding was removed and the magnificent red brick was exposed.  The brick fa├žade required cleaning, re-pointing and in some cases replacement of the brick.  A new concrete foundation was added and some of the original interior features were retained including the bake oven and folding partition doors on the second floor.  

- Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1992.

Old Post Inn 
The Gordon House - 103 Old Kingston Road

Built in 1881 by John Cuthburt at a cost of $6,000, the building was used as a hotel for travelers between York (Toronto) and Kingston. Susan Gordon bought the hotel around 1893, and it soon became well-known for its home-cooked meals. The hotel remained in the Gordon family until 1952. At one time the Standard Bank had its office in this building. The red and buff brick are combined in a complex pattern to create a mosaic-like front facade. The east bay of the structure is believed to be an addition built in 1884. This building is a landmark feature in Pickering Village and its preservation is critical in defining the architectural character of the area. 

Designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1997.

The Gordon House