Ajax is a town in Durham Region, midway between Oshawa and Toronto. Split from Pickering Township in 1941 to house munitions factory Defence Industries Limited, it is now a growing Greater Toronto Area suburb with nearly 120,000 people (2016).
Ajax was established in 1941 as a wartime munitions production centre. where a workforce of up to 9000 people filled 40 million shells for the war effort. The University of Toronto briefly used the former munitions factory site as a technical school (1945-1949) which trained 7000 engineers. The town hosted various industries in the post-war era. The first town council was elected in 1954; the Village of Pickering and lakeside Town of Pickering Beach were annexed to the Town of Ajax when Durham Region was created on January 1, 1974.
The remainder of Pickering Township is now the City of Pickering. Since the 1980s, Ajax has become a steadily growing sprawl of single-family suburban homes. The town is named for a World War II Royal Navy cruiser, one of three warships (HMS Ajax, HMS Exeter and HMS Achilles) responsible for the first major British victory of the war; German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee was defeated at the Battle of the River Plate near Montevideo, Uruguay in December 1939.
- By car, take Ontario Highway 401, the main freeway of the Windsor-Quebec corridor. Exit on Westney Road or Harwood Avenue.
- Megabus (Coach Canada) stops at Whitby's GO station on their way into Toronto from Kingston and Montréal. From there, GO and Durham Region Transit (DRT) provide connections within Durham region.
- GO Transit operates commuter trains and buses between Toronto and Oshawa with trains stopping at Ajax GO Station.
- Via Rail stops in Oshawa and Toronto, with connections to GO commuter trains.
- The only major international airport in the region is on the far side of Toronto, in Mississauga. Small private chartered aircraft may be able to fly into Oshawa Executive Airport or Buttonville.
- Long-distance cycling/hiking trails
- the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail passes east-west along the entire Ajax waterfront with Lake Ontario, from Pickering in the west to Whitby in the east.
- The Great Trail (also called the Trans-Canada Trail) arrives in Ajax from Pickering co-terminous with the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail in the southwest of the town along Lake Ontario, then immediately heads north through the town before exiting north again into Pickering.
- Veterans' Point Gardens, at the foot of Harwood Avenue. A lakefront memorial to HMS Ajax, the Defence Industries Limited factory and workers who made Ajax their wartime home. The street lamps are intended to resemble ship's masts. Sir Henry Harwood (January 19,1888-June 9, 1950) served as Commodore on the HMS Ajax in 1939-1940.
Ajax has five golf courses, 90 km of trails and sixty parks and playgrounds.
- Ajax Community Theatre, ☏ . Performances are held at the St. Francis Centre, 78 Church Street South. $20, students $15.
- Ajax Downs, 50 Alexander’s Crossing, ☏ . Horse race track with slot machines. Getaway Restaurant on site.
- Ajax Waterfront, on Lake Ontario. 150 acres of parkland on 6 km (4 miles) of waterfront; includes 7 km of multi-use trail for walking, jogging, cycling and in-line skating. Picnic area, open spaces for recreational activities.
- Greenwood Conservation Area. On Duffins Creek, picnic area, campsites for scouts/guides and youth groups. Pumpkinville fall festival includes horse-drawn wagon rides, pumpkin patch and family pumpkin carving contest, inflatable rides, a Haunted House, face painting, children's activities, live entertainment, interactive experiences and a haunted trail walk.
- St. Francis Centre, 78 Church Street South, ☏ . Former St. Francis de Sales Church, built in 1871 and restored in 2011 as a home for arts, culture and live entertainment.
- Summer in the Square, Heritage Square at Ajax Town Hall, 65 Harwood Avenue South. Wednesday nights, summer. Local talent, tribute bands, children's entertainers. Events are moved indoors during inclement weather. free.
- Winterfest. Horse-drawn wagon & dog sled rides, outdoor ice skating with DJ, ice sculptures, ice carving demonstrations, face painting, crafts, live entertainment, community displays, inflatable rides, snow golf, snow painting and snowshoeing. Free hot chocolate. free.
- Pickering Village, Kingston Road, in west end of the town. Former village with historic architecture. On Old Kingston Road, the 1817 Toronto-Montréal stagecoach trail and main street which was paved a century later as Ontario Highway 2. Established during the original early-1800s Quaker settlement in the area, this district now houses restaurants, shops and professional services.
There are a hundred restaurants in Ajax; a full list is available on www.visitajax.ca but a few options include:
- Angelique's Family Restaurant, 31 Barr Rd, ☏ .
- [dead link] Blossom Garden, 85 Kingston Rd E., ☏ . Chinese.
- House of China, 100 Harwood Ave S., ☏ . Family-owned take-out & delivery. Chinese.
- Il Fornello, 95 Kingston Rd E., ☏ . Italian trattoria, pizza, one of eight locations in the Toronto area.
- Imperial Buffet, 163 Harwood Ave N., ☏ .
- Mazza Garden, 325 Westney Road South, ☏ . Mediterranean.
- Mount Everest Indian Cuisine, 611 Kingston Rd W., ☏ . Curries and naan.
- Pizza Pino, 855 Westney Rd. S., ☏ . Pizzeria.
- Sauter's Inn Restaurant, 109 Old Kingston Rd.. European.
- Coyote Jack’s Bar & Grill, 64 Harwood Ave., ☏ .
- Fionn MacCool’s, 36 Kingston Rd. E., ☏ .
- Hoops Sports Bar & Grill, 1995 Salem Rd. N., ☏ .
- Lion and Dragon Pub, 109 Old Kingston Rd., ☏ .
- Magwyer’s Pub, 105 Bayly St. W., ☏ .
- Portly Piper Pub and Restaurant, 235 Bayly St. W., ☏ .
- St. Louis Bar & Grill, 11 Harwood Ave. S., ☏ . Regional chain serving wings at approximately thirty locations across Ontario.
- [dead link] The Black Bear Pub and Grill, 967 Westney Rd. S., ☏ .
- Top Shelf Sports Bar & Grill, 527 Westney Rd S., ☏ .
- Hilton Garden Inn Ajax, 500 Beck Cres., ☏ . Near Salem Road/401 in South Ajax. Great North American Grill on site.
- Homewood Suites by Hilton, 600 Beck Crescent, ☏ , fax: . All-suite, extended-stay hotel.
- Super 8 Motel, 210 Westney Rd. S. at Bayle Street, ☏ , toll-free: . 64-room economy lodging facility.
- Before the Mast B&B, 1144 Shoalpoint Rd., ☏ .
- Maple Shores Bed and Breakfast, 485 Maple Ave., ☏ .
Ajax is a local telephone call from both Toronto and Oshawa. Wi-fi is commonly available in coffee shops, hotels and fast-food restaurants. There are three Ajax public library [dead link] branches (one at the town hall, one each at the two community centres) which offer public Internet.
|Routes through Ajax|
|Toronto ← Pickering ←||W E||→ Whitby → Oshawa|
|Toronto ← Pickering ←||W E||→ Whitby → Oshawa|