The Swans Are Coming!

February 1, 2024

The Tundra Swan Line (available at (519) 773-7926 and graciously provided by Eastlink) is live as of February 1st.

The swans are expected to arrive in the Aylmer Wildlife Management Area in late February or early March, on their annual migration from their wintering grounds around Chesapeake Bay to their mating grounds in the high Arctic.

The Swan Line will be updated daily with current numbers of swans, as provided by the Elgin Stewardship Council.

Visitors are welcome to view the swans at the Wildlife Area, and all viewing stands will be open this year.

For more information and current swan numbers, visit our Tundra Swan Line page.

 

 

 

Featured image courtesy of David Helsdon.

Opening New (Actually Very Old) Doors!

January 18, 2024

We are excited to share some great news!
For several months, a malfunctioning automatic door opener at 14 East St. was causing difficulties for visitors trying to access the museum and enjoy the exhibits. We had to address the issue promptly to ensure an inclusive and welcoming environment for all visitors.
With the support of a $1850 grant from the Aylmer Area Community Foundation, we were able to address this issue. We wish to express our sincere gratitude to the board of the foundation for their help in making these accessibility improvements possible.
We hope that these improvements will make it easier for everyone to enjoy the museum and its exhibits!

Three people posing with a presentation cheque

Aylmer Area Community Foundation Director Dan Axford, Office Manager Kathi Vandermeer, and Collections Manager Sarah Bentley

Congratulations to Our Second 50/50 Winner!

January 17, 2024

We drew the winner of our most recent 50/50 raffle on December 27th! Congratulations to Kathy and John Fuller for winning half of the $1,140 pot. Special thanks to Kathy and John and to everyone who purchased tickets! We were able to put $570 towards our Relocation Project.

Our next 50/50 raffle through Rafflebox is scheduled to begin on February 1st, and will end on March 31st, to be drawn on April 1st. Check back with us later this month for more details!

Link to our RaffleBox raffle

Three people and a presentation cheque

Museum Director Rebecca Horeth, 50/50 winner Kathy Fuller, and Museum Chair Ron Sawyer

Community Services Recovery Fund

November 23, 2023

We’re excited to share some news that directly impacts our mission at the Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives. Thanks to the Community Services Recovery Fund, a generous initiative by the Government of Canada, we’ve been awarded a $38,000 grant, distributed by Community Foundations of Canada and the Aylmer Area Community Foundation.

AACF and Museum representatives photographed in Monteith ParkAylmer Area Community Foundation Board Member Dennis Boadway, Collections Manager Sarah Bentley, and Office Manager Kathi Vandermeer. Image courtesy of the Aylmer Area Community Foundation.

This grant, part of a $400 million investment, aims to support community service organizations in adapting and modernizing post-COVID-19. The Government of Canada delivered the Community Services Recovery Fund through three National Funders – Canadian Red Cross, Community Foundations of Canada, and United Way Centraide Canada. As we navigate these challenges, we’re grateful for the recognition of our role in the community and the acknowledgment of the evolving needs we face.

In response to the funding, we have hired a consultant to review our governance and bylaws. This strategic move will help us strengthen community ties, enhance membership and volunteer efforts, refine fundraising strategies, and invest in digital infrastructure. Additionally, part of the grant will be used to purchase three laptops, supporting research and volunteer activities.

A big thank you to the Aylmer Area Community Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada, and the Government of Canada for their support. Your commitment to community well-being and recognizing the crucial role organizations like ours play is deeply appreciated.

Thank you, Aylmer Area Community Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada, and the Government of Canada, for investing in the future of Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives and empowering us to serve our community better.

Thank You for Attending the Tour of Homes!

November 22, 2023

The Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives Tour of Homes Committee would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who made the Tour of Homes such an incredible success! We had a record year, with over 700 people participating in the tour, and we couldn’t have done it without your support.

A special thank you to the homeowners for opening their homes for the tour!

  • Donna and Ken Gallagher
  • Karen and Keith Hunt
  • Barb and Dan Pede
  • Leah and Andrew Sleegers

The Tour of Homes Committee & Decorators

  • Bozena Boadway
  • Julie Cox
  • Brigitte Fedorowich
  • Yvonne Gavey
  • Jacquie Jeffery
  • Larry Jeffery
  • Sandra Nesbitt
  • Barb Pede
  • Dan Reid
  • Kara Stanley
  • Sue Shackleton
  • Michele Toth
  • Amanda VandenWyngaert
  • Kathi Vandermeer
  • Tricia Van Gorp
  • Deb Waite

Merchants, Contributors, & Ticket Sellers

Thank you to the myriads of volunteers who staffed the homes even though not members of the museum. Thank you to the local businesses who placed advertisements in our ticket, donated door prizes, and provided samples. Finally, thank you to the community and tour-goers; without your support and enthusiasm, the tour would not have been such a success!

Please check back again next year to join us for our 20th tour!

50/50 Raffle

October 31, 2023

The Aylmer-Malahide Museum is excited to announce our online 50/50 raffle fundraiser! Grab your tickets now!

Tickets are:

  • 3 for $10
  • 10 for $20
  • 50 for $50
  • 200 for $100

Sales begin on February 1ˢᵗ, 2024
Sales end on March 31ˢᵗ, 2024
Drawing on April 1ˢᵗ, 2024

We’re partnering with the RaffleBox platform to facilitate this fundraiser. Tickets are available here!

Link to our RaffleBox raffle

Fifty percent of the money gathered through ticket sales will be awarded to the winner of the draw, and fifty percent will go to our Relocation Fund. Funds raised through this raffle will help us to renovate our new, historic building into an exciting museum space and cultural center for our community.  The winner will be contacted to claim their prize.

Thank you for your support!

Licence # RAF1319559

Congratulations to Our 50/50 Winner!

October 15, 2023

We drew the winner of our most recent 50/50 raffle on October 1st! Congratulations to Al Hooghiem for winning half of the $1200 pot. Special thanks to Al and to everyone who purchased tickets! We were able to put $600 towards our Relocation Project.

Our next 50/50 raffle through Rafflebox is scheduled to begin on November 1st, and will end on December 26th, to be drawn on December 27th. Check back with us later this month for more details!

Link to our RaffleBox raffle

The Return of the Tour of Homes

The 19th Annual Christmas Tour of Homes

The volunteers of the Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives are pleased to announce that the Annual Christmas Tour of Homes will be returning in November of 2023 after a three-year hiatus. We’re so excited to show you what we have in store! Learn more on the Tour of Homes webpage here.

The 2023 Christmas Tour of Homes is scheduled for Friday, November 17ᵗʰ, from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and Saturday, November 18ᵗʰ, from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Tickets will be for sale in advance on this website, at 14 East St., or through participating retailers, and for sale during the tour itself at 14 East St. and at each of the four participating homes. Tickets will be for sale for $20 each.

Date and Time
Friday, November 17ᵗʰ
4:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Saturday, November 18ᵗʰ
1:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Tickets
$20 each
Kids aged 12 and under free!

Buy your tickets here or add them to your cart below!

$20.00Read more

The Homes

456 Talbot Street West

456 Talbot St.W. A two-storey-home, ranch-style, with a semicircular driveway. Partially obscured by lush gardens.

This home was custom-built in the mid-1960s. The current homeowners purchased the house in 2002, and have spent the last 20 years making it their home. Enjoy this home’s lovingly scaped property and serene gardens.

80 South Street West

80 South St. W. A home composed of grey cobblestone and intricate timberwork.

A craftsman-inspired home, constructed in 2019 with extensive use of local trades and supplies. This property features beautiful timber framing and exhaustive attention to detail. The homeowners recently settled on this property as their retirement home.

170 Caverly Road

8394 Caverly Rd. A single-storey red-brown brick home with a double-car garage. partially obscured by and surrounded by pine trees.

This home was constructed in 1955 under the Veterans’ Land Act. The homeowner lived just down the street from this property, and dreamed of one day owning it. She and her husband purchased it in 2003. They enjoy the privacy of their backyard and its towering pines.

8394 Imperial Road

8394 Imperial Road. A single-storey grey brick farmhouse-style home, with a three-car garage.

This home was constructed by DeSutter Homes in 2019, in a popular modern farmhouse style. It was built with family in mind, boasting an open concept and four bedrooms. The homeowners enjoy hosting friends and family, especially in the downstairs family space with its giant screen and wet bar.

 

About the Tour of Homes

The Aylmer-Malahide Museum Volunteers’ annual Christmas Tour of Homes began in 2001. This fundraiser was developed to benefit the museum’s operation and raise awareness of local businesses. It is now a Christmas tradition for many locals and visitors from all over Ontario and beyond. Four unique, interesting and/or historical homes are chosen in the Aylmer Area. These homes are decorated for Christmas and then opened for participants to tour. This is a major fundraiser for the museum. Many volunteer hours and support from homeowners and local businesses go into making this an annual success.

Tour of Homes Logo

At the Going Down of The Sun

We are pleased to announce the publication of At the Going Down of the Sun: The Fallen of Aylmer and Malahide, 1939 to 1945, written by James L. McCallum.

At the Going Down of the Sun aims to honour and biograph the soldiers of Aylmer and Malahide who lost their lives during WWII. It pays tribute to those listed on the Aylmer Cenotaph, those whose casualties were reported in the Aylmer Express, and those who died at the No. 14 Service Flying Training School in Aylmer.

This book was researched and written by James L. McCallum, who graciously gave his work to the Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives to profit from its publication.

Copies sell for $35 for non-members and for $30 to members.

The Aylmer Express is currently printing this publication! Check back here to find out when it’s in stock.

View the book in our online shop here or add it to your cart below!

$35.00Add to cart

We will be hosting a book launch on Thursday, October 26th, from 7 PM to 9 PM, at 75 Talbot St. E. The launch will coincide with the opening reception of our complimentary exhibit, which examines the impact of WWII on our community. We hope to see you there!

James L. McCallum is a genealogist and historian with extensive family ties to Malahide Township. James is a member and past chair of the Elgin County Branch of the Elgin Genealogical Society, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives. At the Going Down of the Sun is his sixth book, and he plans to publish a seventh in 2024.

The Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives extends its sincere and enthusiastic thanks to author James McCallum. Jim has been an unyielding source of support since he joined our organization in 2022. We are so very grateful for his insight, passion, and unwavering commitment to the preservation of our heritage. The museum thanks Jim for the opportunity to collaborate on this publication, and for his offer to contribute its proceeds to our charitable cause. 

This project was sponsored by the Aylmer Express, the Royal Canadian Legion Colonel Talbot Branch No. 81, the Springfield Swans, Rosemary Kennedy, and James L. McCallum.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.Laurence Binyon

Thank You for Attending Mayhem at the Museum!

August 23, 2023

A huge thank you to everyone who attended our recent murder mystery, Mayhem at the Museum! We hope you had as much fun as we did!

Through this event, we were able to raise $910 for our Relocation Project. With your help, our new location will be a vibrant community hub that celebrates our local history.

Special thanks to everyone who made the event possible!

  • Writer, director, and actor Ron Sawyer
  • Actors Rebecca Horeth, Larry Jeffery, Colleen Sawyer, Dan Reid, Laurie Reid, and Kathi Vandermeer
  • Caterers Helen Voros and Marg Reynaert
  • The Royal Canadian Legion Colonel Talbot Branch 81
  • Museum volunteers Deb Waite, Chris Dancey, Jeanette Pesall, Betty Segui, and Rosemary Kennedy
  • Everyone who attended!

We’re so pleased that our first try at this event went so well! We hope to be able to host another murder mystery dinner theatre event next year. Stay tuned!

 

Actors of Mayhem at the Museum
Left to right: Rebecca Horeth as Lindsay Doyle, Ron Sawyer as Ted Sturgeon, Larry Jeffery as Bill Broadsheet, Colleen Sawyer as Charmain Bungalow, Dan Reid as Gregori Popov, Laurie Reid as Anne Teak, and Kathi Vandermeer as Ada Yeserno

Attendees and the action on stageTheatre-goers and the action onstage

Old and Classic Car Show

August 16, 2023

We’re pleased to announce that we will be hosting a car show on Saturday, September 9ᵗʰ, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Saxonia Hall.

Come on out to see some cool cars, enjoy some great food, and enter to win a 50/50 raffle!

Proceeds from car registration and raffle sales will benefit our Relocation Project.


Car aficionados are welcome to bring a car and register as an exhibitor!

We’d love to see your oldest cars!

All registered exhibitors will be entered into a draw to win a driver draw prize. Driver draw prizes will be provided by local businesses, to be determined.

Prizes will be awarded to the best cars, as decided by registrants.

Registration will be open from 8 to 9 am. Price for registration remains to be determined.

Email info@aylmermuseum.ca to pre-register. Pre-registry does not require pre-payment.

We hope to see you there!

Frankie and the Fairlanes: Lucky 13

The Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives is pleased to be partnering with Frankie and the Fairlanes for Aylmer’s showing of Lucky 13, the band’s latest concert. Join us at 7:30 PM on Saturday, October 21ˢᵗ at the Old Town Hall Theatre for a night you won’t forget! Frankie and the Fairlanes are kindly donating a portion of the proceeds to our Relocation Fund.

It’s Frankie and the Fairlanes 13th season of Quality Rock n Roll so hang on tight kidz as the band blasts thru some cool blasts from the past. Rockabilly hits by Elvis, Wayne Cochran and Gene Vincent, Surfin’ tunes by all the West Coast greats and the music from the golden era of Las Vegas are just the tip of the Rock n Roll iceberg! And as always, the energy, the humour and all the crazy fun that has made Frankie and the Fairlanes a crowd pleasin’ favourite for nearly 20 years!

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children aged 6 to 12. Children under 5 get in for free! Tickets will be available for sale through this website, at the Aylmer-Malahide Museum (14 East St., Aylmer), and at the Aylmer IDA (6 Talbot St. W., Aylmer). Tickets purchased through this website will be held at the door for their respective attendees. Please leave us your name at checkout and we’ll be sure your tickets are waiting for you on the night of the 21st!

Tickets
Adults: $20
Kids 12 and under: $10
Kids 5 and under: Free!
Purchase online, at 14 East St., Aylmer, or at Aylmer IDA

$20.00Read more


Location
Aylmer’s Old Town Hall Theatre
38 John St. S.,
Aylmer, ON
N5H 2C2

Date and Time
October 21ˢᵗ, 2023
7:30 PM
Doors open at 6:30 PM

 

Extending our Rolling Storage!

July 28, 2023

We were very excited to be able to extend our range of rolling shelves for our general artifact collection recently! With the funds we received through our volunteers’ assistance at Jackpot Time Gaming Entertainment, we were safely able to re-house bays three through nine. That’s up to 270 boxes of artifacts! The rolling system of shelving is a huge space-saver, and we couldn’t be happier.

A special thank you to our supporter Jackpot Time Gaming Entertainment. Throughout the year, we are very grateful to receive funds from our participation in bingos at Jackpot Time in St. Thomas. Through this program, the museum receives funds monthly that we can use towards the preservation and maintenance of our collection. We are also able to fund a portion of Sarah Bentley’s salary to work on the collection. We are very grateful to be one of the charities that receive funds through the charitable gaming program, and very thankful for the volunteers that assist us with bingos each month. Learn more about Jackpot Time here.

A Big Thank You to the Family of Pat Johnston!

July 27, 2023

We’re incredibly grateful to have received a substantial $10,000 donation from the family of Pat Johnston towards our Relocation Project! We were able to meet with the family to celebrate the donation recently. Many thanks to Rob Perry for this wonderful photo!

Thanks to this generous contribution, we are taking significant strides towards realizing our relocation and renovation project. The funds will play a crucial role in creating a vibrant community hub that celebrates our local heritage.

Presentation of $10,000 to the Aylmer-Malahide Museum in memory of Pat Johnston

Left to right: Jenelle Krahn, Nora Krahn, Lindsay Williams, Hannah Krahn, Matthew Smale, D.J. Smale, Kim Smale, Roland Krahn, Museum Office Manager Kathi Vandermeer, and Museum Board Chair Ron Sawyer.

Pat Johnston was a dedicated supporter of the Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives for many years, and she is sorely missed. Patricia Muriel “Pat” (Ryan) Johnston was originally from Saskatchewan but moved to Aylmer in the early 1950s. Like many locals following WWII, she found employment at Aylmer’s RCAF base, as a payroll administrator. She married fellow RCAF employee, Ralph Johnston, in 1954. The two owned and operated Ralph Johnston Motors Ltd. for over 35 years. Pat passed away on October 21, 2021, at the age of 93. Her obituary describes her as “a very independent woman who adored her family, valued and appreciated her friends and cherished her house and little black car.” Readers can view her obituary here.

As we remember and honour Pat’s life, we are truly grateful for the opportunity to commemorate her legacy through this generous gift, and we will ensure that her memory lives on in the new space we create for generations to come.

Mayhem at the Museum

June 29, 2023

A night of fine food and even finer entertainment! Join the Aylmer-Malahide Museum for a trivia night, but keep an eye out for a sinister someone lurking in the crowd. Can you find the culprit after the night takes a tragic turn of events?

We’re so excited to present our first murder mystery dinner theatre event! Join us on August 19, 2023, at 6:30 PM at the Aylmer Legion for a night of interactive theatre and a three-course meal. All proceeds will go to our Relocation Fund.

Tickets are $30 each and are for sale only in advance. Please stop by the museum at 14 East St. or visit our gift shop to purchase yours today! Tickets purchased through this website will be held at the door for their respective attendees. Please leave us your name at checkout and we’ll be sure your tickets are waiting for you on the night of the 19th!

August 19, 2023
6:30 PM

Royal Canadian Legion
Colonel Talbot Branch 81
211 John Street North
Aylmer, ON

$30 each
For sale in advance only.
Purchase online or at 14 East St., Aylmer

$30.00Read more


 

New Summer Hours

June 13, 2023

With many thanks to our summer students, we’ll be open from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturdays until the end of August.

Come out and see our featured exhibit, If the Shoe Fits, or learn more about the Relocation Project.

A Warm Welcome to Our Summer Students!

June 7, 2023

We were very excited and fortunate to be able to hire summer students to help us keep everything running smoothly. Young Canada Works and Canada Summer Jobs are huge supporters of this endeavour! Many thanks to Aidan Haldenby and Morgan Kerr for joining the team and for helping us to photograph, list, and enter our collection into the database. We’re very grateful to have Aidan join us for the second summer in a row and to have Morgan join the team!

 

Aidan Haldenby

Aidan Haldenby is a resident of Aylmer and is currently studying Health Sciences at Western University. He is looking forward to helping preserve the heritage of Aylmer and Malahide. Additionally, his goal is to digitize the Museum’s General Artifact Collection, as well as the Textile Collection.

Photograph of summer student Aidan Haldenby

Morgan Kerr

Morgan Kerr is a recent graduate of East Elgin Secondary School. She will be attending Western University for English Literature in the fall. Morgan is looking forward to continuing the digitization of our oversized archival materials this summer!

 

Summer student Morgan Kerr

Many thanks to Hills Pharmacy!

May 30, 2023

We are thrilled to express our deepest gratitude to  Hills Pharmacy for their contribution of $10,000 to our Relocation Project! We met with pharmacists and owners Julie LeClair and Chris Sawler recently, along with Julie’s daughter, Ellory, to commemorate the donation. Thanks to Rob Perry for this wonderful photo!

With Hills Pharmacy’s generous contribution, we are one step closer to making our relocation and renovation project a reality. The funds will be instrumental in creating enhanced exhibition spaces, improving storage facilities for our growing collection, and developing a vibrant community hub where history enthusiasts can gather, learn, and engage with the rich heritage of Aylmer and Malahide.

 

Left to right: Pharmacist Julie LeClair, Ellory LeClair, Pharmacist Chris Sawler, Museum Office Manager Kathi Vandermeer, Museum Director Rebecca Horeth, Museum Chair Ron Sawyer, Museum Curator Amanda VandenWyngaert

About Hills Pharmacy

We are so grateful to be able to partner with such a long-standing pillar of our community! The building that houses Hills has been a pharmacy since 1869, when it opened under pharmacist Lewis Gundry in a business partnership with his brother, Charles Gundry. The brothers sold the business to J.E. Richards around 1886, who in turn sold it to Ray Lemon in 1907. Stan Durkee (of Durkee’s Ltd.) purchased the business in 1946, and hired a pharmacist to handle the drug department.

Godfrey Hill
Godfrey Hill’s graduation photograph, 1943

John Hill
John Hill’s graduation photograph, 1943

John and Godfrey Hill grew up in Tillsonburg, where they interacted with a pair of pharmacist brothers and were inspired to go into pharmacy, themselves. Both graduated from the Ontario College of Pharmacy in 1943, and shortly enrolled for service in WWII. Upon returning from service, the pair decided to tour Highway 3 to find a place to settle down and establish a business. Godfrey Hill recalled knocking on doors, asking around about pharmacies for sale. Stan Durkee sold his pharmacy to the Hill brothers on August 12, 1946, only a few months after purchasing it, himself.


Listen to our 1986 interview with Godfrey Hill above. We apologize for the audio quality!

Godfrey’s son, Tom, joined the business as a pharmacist and co-owner after John Hill’s retirement in 1981. Godfrey’s daughter, Tracey, and John’s son, Rowland, were also integral to the operation of the pharmacy. Tom Hill’s daughter, Julie, purchased the business alongside fellow pharmacist Chris Sawler in 2020.

Learn more about the Hill family and Hills Pharmacy in our recent publication, Just What the Doctor Ordered!

Thank you!

We are beyond lucky to have such incredible businesses and individuals in our community who believe in our mission. We extend our deepest gratitude to Hills Pharmacy for their exceptional generosity and support.

Stay tuned for more updates and exciting developments on our Relocation Project. We couldn’t do it without your support, and we can’t wait to embark on this new chapter together.

 

MCS Charity Food Fest

May 29, 2023

We’ll have a small information table at the MCS Charity Food Fest this year. We’ll have information on our relocation along with information on our Mennonite History Project. Questionnaires for the history project will be available if anyone would like to participate.

Find us and the Food Fest at the Aylmer Sales Barn between 10 AM and 2 PM on Saturday, June 10th.

Geranium Heritage House Tour

May 8, 2023

Take a stroll through the tree-lined streets of Woodfield in the heart of London and learn about the history and architecture of this delightful neighbourhood. Pick up your map and informative brochure at the starting point, Lord Roberts Public School, any time between 12:00 and 5:00. Enjoy guided interior tours of 8 sites and end your afternoon with lemonade and cookies at our refreshment stop.

First named “Geranium Walk” – later the “Geranium Heritage House Tour” – because homes open to tour-goers are marked with red geraniums. Tickets include a keepsake booklet including descriptions of the streetscapes, a map of the tour route, as well as explanations of the exterior and the interiors of the homes on display. Afternoon refreshments are offered at a public building included in the Tour.

Geranium Heritage House Tours have been held every year, each in a different historic neighbourhood, on the first Sunday in June attracting a sell-out attendance of 500+ visitors.

The Tours have encouraged people to appreciate London’s architectural heritage, provide publicity for the branch, as well as being a flagship fundraiser.

This year’s tour, Woodfield Ramble, will take place on Sunday, June 18, 2023, from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM EDT. The tour starts at Lord Roberts Public School, 440 Princess Avenue London, ON N6B 2B3. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on the tour day. Tickets are available at Tuckey Hardware, Jill’s Table, Featherfields, and online via Eventbrite (Eventbrite fees apply).

Façade Facelift!

April 25, 2023

We’ve given our façade a minor facelift! Many thanks to Jackpot Time Gaming Entertainment for giving us the funds for our brand-new Cricut machine. We were able to use it to cut the vinyl for our awnings!

A special thank you to our supporter Jackpot Time Gaming Entertainment. Throughout the year, we are very grateful to receive funds from our participation in bingos at Jackpot Time in St. Thomas. Through this program, the museum receives funds monthly that we can use towards the preservation and maintenance of our collection. We are also able to fund a portion of Sarah Bentley’s salary to work on the collection. We are very grateful to be one of the charities that receive funds through the charitable gaming program, and very thankful for the volunteers that assist us with bingos each month. Learn more about Jackpot Time here.

Additional thanks to the Aylmer Express for printing a graphic for our front door, as well!

 

Collections Manager Sarah Bentley paints the awnings

 

 

Witness

Presenting Witness: an extensive exhibition from the collection of local photographer David Ritchie. On display will be images of people, places, signs, landscapes, sports, buildings and more.

The Witness exhibit is a benefit to raise funds for necessary renovations needed at 75 Talbot St. E., the future home of the Aylmer-Malahide Museum and Archives. Mounted prints with signed mats will be available for purchase at $40 each, ready to fit a standard-size 11×14 inch picture frame. Each print sold will contribute $30 to the Museum renovation funds.

A select number of rare framed vintage b&w darkroom prints will also be available. The only remaining poster of Heritage Aylmer, a Ritchie poster printed in 2003 will also be offered. 25% from sales of these rare prints will be contributed to the Museum renovation funds.

Witness will be exhibited at 75 Talbot St. E. in Aylmer. The opening will be held on April 22ⁿᵈ, from 7 to 10 pm, and the gallery will be open on April 23ʳᵈ, 29ᵗʰ, and 30ᵗʰ from 12 to 6 pm. We will happily arrange private viewings, and interested parties can email info@aylmermuseum.ca or photog@amtelecom.net, or call (519) 773-9723 for more information.

Many thanks to the Aylmer Area Community Foundation for their generous support of this event.

About the Artist

David Ritchie came to Elgin county in 1976, first living east of Mapleton. He has resided in the Aylmer area since that time. As a self-employed photographer, he concentrated on industrial and commercial work. In the late 80s, he purchased Maxwell’s Camera in Aylmer and operated there until 2001. The store offered custom framing, photo processing, supplies and equipment. For several years there was also a portrait studio, however formal portraiture held little interest for Ritchie and the studio was replaced with a colour film processing and printing lab to compliment the black & white darkroom.

He resisted the change to digital photography until 2008, continuing with his love for black & white, hand printing fine-art archival enlargements. Presently, Ritchie is semi-retired and continues to do some custom framing, photo restorations and sales of his photographs.

 

Celebrating 150 Years of Railway History

February 21, 2023

We were pleased to participate in an event to commemorate the 150th anniversary of railway operations in Aylmer and Malahide this afternoon.

We were joined by Ferroequinologist David Harding, Town Crier David Phillips, Aylmer Councillor and Museum Director Arthur Oslach, Museum Board Chair Ron Sawyer, Elgin County Warden Ed Ketchabaw, Malahide Councillor and Museum Director Sarah Leitch, and long-time museum volunteer Betty Segui. The event was held at the rail line adjacent to Elgin Feeds, at the former site of the Aylmer railway station. David Harding is the proud owner of a four-wheeled handcar, a small, passenger-powered vehicle used to transport small groups of people along rail lines. With guests aboard Mr. Harding’s handcar, Mr. Phillips cried a proclamation to commemorate the event. Mr. Harding and those aboard then operated the handcar, travelling a short distance along the tracks.

The Great Western Railway’s “Air Line” brought the railway into Aylmer. The inaugural run was in February 1873, with Malahide Councillor Thomas Nairn and other Great Western directors aboard. The Canada Southern Railway would open in June 1873, with stations in Kingsmill, Little Aylmer, and Springfield. Transportation of products and materials in and out of Aylmer and Malahide facilitated a boom in local industry.

Many thanks to Mr. David Harding for organizing the event. Additional thanks to:

  • Elgin Feeds for hosting us!
  • Town Crier David Phillips
  • Aylmer Councillor Arthur Oslach
  • Museum Board Chair Ron Sawyer
  • Elgin County Warden Ed Ketchabaw
  • Malahide Councillor Sarah Leitch
  • Museum Volunteer Betty Segui
  • Museum Finance Chair Dan Reid
  • Museum Director Larry Jeffery
  • John Cairn
  • The Aylmer Police Service
  • All those who attended!

Museum representatives aboard the railcar alongside David Harding and Ed Ketchabaw. Betty Segui and Sarah Leitch hold a red ribbon in front of the handcar.
Front row (L-R): Betty Segui, Sarah Leitch
Centre row (on handcar, L-R): Sarah Bentley, Ron Sawyer
Back row (on handcar, L-R): Arthur Oslach, David Harding, Ed Ketchabaw

Museum Finance Chair Dan Reid, ready to capture period-appropriate photographs
Museum Finance Chair Dan Reid, ready to capture period-appropriate photographs

Elgin Countyt Warden Ed Ketchabaw (left) and Elgin County Town Crier David Phillips (right)
Elgin County Warden Ed Ketchabaw (left) and Elgin County Town Crier David Phillips (right)

Aylmer Police Officers aboard Mr. Harding's handcar
Aylmer Police officers aboard Mr. Harding’s handcar

David Harding's handcar
David Harding’s handcar

For more information on the railway history of Aylmer and Malahide, join us for our latest pop-up exhibit, On Track: The Railways of Aylmer and Malahide.

On Track: The Railways of Aylmer and Malahide

February 1, 2023

The Great Western Railway’s “Air Line” began operation in February of 1873. To celebrate 150 years of railroad heritage, we’ll be hosting a pop-up exhibit on local locomotive history and the area’s competing railways.

Join us at 75 Talbot St. E., from:

  • 11 am – 4 pm on Saturday, February 18

  • 11 am – 4 pm on Sunday, February 19

  • 11 am – 4 pm on Monday, February 20

  • 3 pm – 6 pm on Wednesday, February 22

  • 11 am – 4 pm on Saturday, February 25

  • 11 am – 4 pm Sunday, February 26

We hope to see you there!

Train at the Aylmer Grand Trunk station

A large group of people at the Springfield Canada Southern Railway station

 

Thank you for attending the art show!

December 1, 2022

We were so happy to see so many talented artists and to have so many visitors! Thank you so much to the Aylmer BIA, Wendell Graves, the Chamber of Commerce, and Miller’s Your Independent Grocer for organizing and contributing to the event.

We’re pleased to announce that we received $635 in donations at the event, and sold plenty of tickets for our gift basket draw!

View the featured artwork at the following locations through the month of December:

 


We would love to see you at our next event, Christmas Through the Ages! Tickets for our gift basket raffle will be available.

Reads "THE AYLMER-MALAHIDE MUSEUM & ARCHIVES PRESENTS CHRISTMAS THROUGH THE AGES Opening November 26, 2022 11 am to 4 pm 75 Talbot St. E. Aylmer Open 1-6 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays until December 10

Gift Basket Draw

A returning tradition from our Tour of Homes, we’ll be giving away 13 gift baskets this year as a fundraiser for our Relocation Project.

We’re selling six tickets for $5.  Tickets will be available in person at our pop-up exhibit, Christmas Through the Ages, exhibited at 75 Talbot St. E., as well as online in our website’s shop.

We will be drawing on December 10th.

Gift basket themes include (hover over or tap on each theme for a list of contents):

  1. Tea
  2. Movie Night
  3. Scratch Tickets
  4. Books
  5. Play Day
  6. Birds
  7. Beer, Wine, and Hockey
  8. Honey
  9. Puzzles
  10. Coffee
  11. Wine
  12. Vintage Recipes
  13. Locally Handcrafted Bowl

Buy your tickets here!

 

Announcing the Mennonite History Project

November 3, 2022

About This Project

In the early 1950s, Mennonites began migrating from Mexico to this part of Southern Ontario. The families who stayed put down deep roots. Their legacy can be found in every corner of Aylmer and Malahide. This is evident in strong church communities, commerce, industry, and civic engagement.

As time passes and one generation follows another there is always the risk that essential parts of family and community history may be lost, forgotten or discarded. The Aylmer-Malahide Museum and Archives (A.M.M.A.) would like to partner with interested groups and individuals in preserving Mennonite stories, photographs and artifacts for future generations.

This phase of the project is focused on immigration to our area before 1972.

Community Outreach

We hope to receive the following items from the Low German Mennonite communities of Aylmer and Malahide:

  • Completed questionnaires
    These questionnaires can be submitted online or in person.
  • Historical photographs
    We would be happy to scan and return the photographs. We’re also happy to consider photographs for donation to our collection.
  • Audio/video recordings
    Please review our scheduled events to record an interview or statement in person.
  • Artifacts
    All donations to our collection (e.g. tools, utensils, clothing, heirlooms, etc.) are eligible for a charitable tax receipt.

How These Materials Will Be Used

  • Museum display
    The A.M.M.A. has previously hosted exhibits focused on the experience of Mennonite migrants. One part of the proposed plans for our new building includes a dedicated room for a permanent exhibit on the Low German Mennonite experience. There may also be special exhibits in the main gallery area from time to time.
  • Research and genealogy
    The A.M.M.A. has archived tens of thousands of documents, photographs & artifacts covering the length and breadth of our shared history. These materials are made available to academics, social groups, members of the media and family historians to carry out research. The new facility will include a dedicated research room to allow for the examination of online and physical materials.
  • Publication
    The A.M.M.A., in conjunction with community partners, will often publish books or contribute to other publications which highlight some specific aspect of our history. In 2012, as part of a summer-student project, a book was published based on the settlement history of the Low German Mennonites in Aylmer and Malahide. This book focused on the stories and photographs of eight local families. This is just a small sampling of the rich and diverse history of the Mennonites.

Learn more about this project or submit a photograph here!

Christmas Through the Ages

October 26, 2022

Join us for Christmas Through the Ages, a pop-up exhibit looking at Christmas traditions and popular decorating styles through the years.

We will be holding the exhibit opening on November 26ᵗʰ between 11 am and 4 pm, during which visitors can enjoy complimentary refreshments and enter to win a door prize. The exhibit will be open from 1-6 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays over the following two weeks, including:

  • November 29

  • December 1

  • December 3

  • December 6

  • December 8

  • December 10

Exhibited at our new building located at 75 Talbot Street East.

Donations to the AMMA Relocation Project and non-perishables for the Aylmer Corner Cupboard Food Bank are gratefully accepted.

We hope to see you there!

Postcard depicting Santa Claus in profile amid decorative garlands.

Black and white image of a young girl looking up at a mobile.

 

The Mennonite History Project: AEMMC

October 21, 2022

As part of the first phase of our Mennonite History Project, we will be visiting the Aylmer Evangelical Mennonite Mission Church on Saturday, October 22ⁿᵈ, from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm.

The purpose of the Mennonite History Project is to preserve Mennonite stories, photographs, and artifacts for future generations. We are particularly interested in the groups which arrived from the 1950s-1970s.

What to Bring

  • Completed questionnaires
    These can be completed online here ahead of time, OR you may instead complete a paper copy available from the church office.
  • Photographs—These can be donated or scanned and returned.
  • Your stories
    For willing participants, we would like to do an audio-video recording of you telling your own story. You may choose to read something you have written or to do it interview-style. Please sign up for one of the 15-minute sessions online here OR contact the church office (519-719-1383office@aemmc.ca).
  • Artifacts
    In addition to photographs, the museum accepts donations of many varieties of historical artifacts. This may include tools, utensils, books or Bibles, clothing, family heirlooms, etc. These items are assessed by a committee for suitability to the Museum collection. A tax receipt will be issued for all artifacts accepted to the collection. Any artifacts not accepted will be returned or redirected to another museum as the owner wishes.

Learn more about the Mennonite History Project here.

 

Original Exhibition of Artworks

Stop by our new location at 75 Talbot St. E. between 6:30 and 8:30 to attend an exhibition of local artworks, as organized by the Aylmer BIA in partnership with Wendell Graves.

The BIA will be exhibiting works in a variety of media, including but not limited to paintings, photography, and sculpture. After the exhibit, the artworks will be displayed in a variety of downtown businesses.

Donations to our Relocation Project will be gratefully accepted.

We’re excited to see everyone there!

 

Thank you for coming out to the car show!

October 3, 2022

We were pleasantly surprised to have over 90 cars turn out to our car show this past weekend! Thank you all so much for coming. We very much appreciate your time, support, and cool vehicles.  We’re pleased to report that we raised $1677 for our Relocation Project!

A major thank you to:

Our judges

  • Brian Duffett
  • Dominique Giguère
  • Ron Sawyer
  • Tom Charlton

Our driver draw donors

  • Auto Parts Centres
  • Aylmer Glass & Mirror
  • Aylmer Tire
  • Bestway Auto Supply
  • Canadian Tire
  • Duff’s Garage
  • Goodwill’s Used Cars
  • Mike Laur’s Auto
  • North End Auto
  • Wiebe’s Wheels Inc.

Our performers

  • 1962
  • The Springfield Connection

Additional thanks to M&D’s Taco Truck for catering the event and The German-Canadian Club for partnering with us for Elgin’s Oktoberfest! Thank you to our volunteers, and thank you to everyone who attended and brought a vehicle!

We hope to see you again! We have a Christmas-themed pop-up exhibit in the months of November and December, and would love to have you along.

 

Reads "THE AYLMER-MALAHIDE MUSEUM & ARCHIVES PRESENTS CHRISTMAS THROUGH THE AGES Opening November 26, 2022 11 am to 4 pm 75 Talbot St. E. Aylmer Open 1-6 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays until December 10

 

Thank you for attending our open house!

September 22, 2022

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to see our new building at our open house on Sept. 15th! We were so touched to hear how many of you are excited to see us thrive in our new location.

We’re happy to report that we received $2400 towards the Relocation Project on that day, and made $375 from raffle ticket sales (benefitting the Relocation Project). Thank you all so much!

We would be pleased to have you attend our further upcoming fundraising events! We have a car show planned on October 1ˢᵗ and a Christmas-themed pop-up exhibit planned for the months of November and December.

Thank you so much for your support, and we would love to see you again soon.

Graphic reads "Saturday, October 1 CAR SHOW" and "SAXONIA HALL PRESENTS ELGIN'S Oktoberfest" above an image of the 1915 Ford picnic in Port Bruce, including a row of Model T vehicles.
Reads "THE AYLMER-MALAHIDE MUSEUM & ARCHIVES PRESENTS CHRISTMAS THROUGH THE AGES Opening November 26, 2022 11 am to 4 pm 75 Talbot St. E. Aylmer Open 1-6 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays until December 10

Elgin’s Oktoberfest Car Show

September 5, 2022

We’re pleased to announce that, in partnership with Aylmer’s German Canadian Club for Elgin’s Oktoberfest, we will be hosting a car show on Saturday, October 1ˢᵗ, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Saxonia Hall.

Come on out to see some cool cars, enjoy some beer at the beer tent, and see some live entertainment! The Saxonia Hall will serve beer and soft pretzels, and we’ll fire up the grill to serve lunch.

General admission will be by donation. Proceeds from admission, barbecue sales, and car registration will benefit our Relocation Project.

The car show will be followed by the main Oktoberfest event, with live performances by Walter Ostanek, a performance from the Saxonia Dancers, and the East Elgin Agricultural Society’s pig roast.


Car aficionados are welcome to bring a car and register as an exhibitor! All registered exhibitors will be entered into a draw to win a door prize. Door prizes will be provided by:

Aylmer Glass and Mirror
North End Auto
Goodwills used cars

Mike Laur's Auto

Plaques will be awarded to four cars by a panel of judges, including three “Judge’s Choice” awards and one “Best in Show” award.

Registration will be open from 8 to 9 AM, at $10 per car.

Those who pre-register will be entered to win a $50 Canadian Tire gift card! Pre-registration does not require pre-payment. Email info@aylmermuseum.ca to pre-register.

We hope to see you there!

Posted by German Canadian Club – Saxonia Hall on Wednesday, September 7, 2022

 

Open House

The public is cordially invited to visit our new building at 75 Talbot St. E. on Thursday, September 15th, between 5 pm and 8 pm.

We will be giving tours of the building, discussing our plans for the future, and fielding questions from the public.

Attendees are welcome to enter to win a variety of great door prizes! Prizes will be provided by:

Scotiabank
McFarlan Rowlands Insurance Brokers, Inc.
Aylmer McDonald's
Tracey's Avon Connection
Elgin Feeds

We will also be selling raffle tickets at the open house for our upcoming “History on the Move” raffle.

Refreshments will be served. Street and municipal parking will be available.

We’re excited to share our vision with you, and we hope to see you there!

 

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WINNING TICKETS FOR
The “History on the Move” Raffle

August 17, 2022

Many thanks to everyone who purchased a ticket! Winners are:

  •  1st prize, Master Chef 5-Burner Propane BBQ, courtesy of Canadian Tire: Ticket No. 0707
  •  2nd prize, Weber Portable BBQ Grill, courtesy of C.J. Telfer Holdings: Ticket No. 0219
  •  3rd prize, $250 Johnson Meats Package, courtesy of Johnson Meats: Ticket No. 0597
  •  4th prize, Summer Gift Basket, courtesy of Miller’s Your Independent Grocer: Ticket No. 0926

Congratulations to our winners! We will be in contact shortly.

In total, we raised $2195 towards our Relocation Project through this fundraiser. Thank you all so much!


The Museum will be raffling off four great prizes in a raffle to fund the renovations to our new building!

Prizes include:

    • 1ˢᵗ: Master Chef 5-Burner Propane BBQ (value $430), courtesy of Aylmer Canadian Tire
    • 2ⁿᵈ: Weber Portable BBQ Grill (value $400), courtesy of C.J. Telfer Holdings
    • 3ʳᵈ: Johnson Meats Package (value $250), courtesy of Johnson Meats
    • 4ᵗʰ:  Summer Gift Basket (value $100), courtesy of Miller’s Your Independent Grocer

Tickets are $5 each, 3 for $10, and 8 for $20. Stop by or contact us to purchase your tickets!

The draw date is October 5, 2022.

Lottery License No. 598457

Just What the Doctor Ordered is Now Available!

August 15, 2022

We are pleased to announce that our book, Just What the Doctor Ordered: The Medical History of Aylmer and Malahide, is available for purchase. We extend our sincere thanks to the Aylmer Express for printing such beautiful books, our sponsors for making this project possible, and those who contributed to the publication through our survey or by providing us with valuable information and photographs.

Copies sell for $30 to non-members and for $25 to members.

View the book in our online shop here.

Just What the Doctor Ordered biographs the medical practitioners of Aylmer and Malahide from the early nineteenth century to the present day, including physicians, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, eye care specialists, chiropractors, and further specialized practitioners. Current and retired medical professionals of the community graciously contributed to the volume, and readers can learn more about those professionals’ careers within.

The Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives is a small nonprofit museum dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the history of Aylmer and Malahide. This volume was published in conjunction with its 2022 exhibit of the same name, Just What the Doctor Ordered: The Medical History of Aylmer and Malahide.

This project was sponsored by the Aylmer Express, the Royal Canadian Legion Colonel Talbot Branch No. 81, the Springfield Swans, Rosemary Kennedy, and Rhonda McNaughton.

$30.00Add to cart

Printing in Progress

June 29, 2022

We finally feel that our book is done and ready to print! We gave the Express the go-ahead this past Monday, and we should have 100 copies within six weeks. Many thanks to the Aylmer Express for partnering with us on this project, and we’re positive they’ll provide us with some beautiful books.

About the book
Just What the Doctor Ordered biographs the medical practitioners of Aylmer and Malahide from the early nineteenth century to the present day, including physicians, pharmacists, dentists, nurses, eye care specialists, chiropractors, and further specialized practitioners. Current and retired medical professionals of the community graciously contributed to the volume, and readers can learn more about those professionals’ careers within.

Pre-orders are still open!

We expect copies to sell at $30 for the general public and $25 for museum members.

If you would like to preorder a copy, please fill out the form below, or contact us at info@aylmermuseum.ca or (519) 773-9723. We will be in contact once we’ve received the printed publications. We appreciate your support!

(The form requires an email address to function. Feel free to contact us elsewhere, if you can’t provide an email address.)





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    We Have the Keys!

    June 27, 2022

    The paperwork is all signed, and our lawyers have presented us with the keys! We’re so excited to plan a concept for our new building and its exhibits.

    We look forward to your support moving forward!

    Learn more here.


    An image of the empty foyer of our new building
    The future site of our foyer and temporary gallery space!

    A Warm Welcome to Our Summer Student

    June 8, 2022

    We were very excited and fortunate to be able to hire a summer student to help us keep everything running smoothly. Many thanks to Aidan Haldenby for joining the team and for helping us to photograph, list, and enter our collection into the database.

     

    Aidan Haldenby

    Aidan Haldenby is a resident of Aylmer and is currently studying Health Sciences at Western University. He is looking forward to helping preserve the heritage of Aylmer. Additionally, his goal is to digitize the Museum’s General Artifact Collection, as well as the Textile Collection.

    Photograph of summer student Aidan Haldenby

    WE’RE MOVING!

    April 27, 2022

    We’re excited to announce that we’ve purchased the former Hamilton Ward & Cathers building at 75 Talbot St. E.

    The move should take roughly two years, once renovations are complete and once all our artifacts are safely packed and ready to migrate.

     

    Learn more here!

     

    Many thanks to the Express for breaking the news today! Read the article in today’s issue for the full story.

    Many thanks to longtime sponsor Jeff Wiebenga for facilitating the sale of the building, and to the folks at McFarlan Rowlands/Hamilton Ward & Cathers for their kindness and generosity through the sale process.

    Our press release reads as follows:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    April 26, 2022

    The Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives is moving to a new, downtown location

    The museum has purchased a new building, located at 75 Talbot Street East in Aylmer

    The board of the Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives is thrilled to announce that they have purchased a new building to house the museum and its collection. The building is located at 75 Talbot Street East in Aylmer, the current home of McFarlan Rowlands Insurance (formerly Hamilton Ward & Cathers Insurance) and previously the Royal Bank of Canada. We are so pleased to have the opportunity to house our museum and its ever-growing collection in such a beautiful and historically significant building.

    Aylmer and Malahide have a lively and engaging history. From its founding as a museum in 1977, the AMMA has been a repository for the citizens of these communities to entrust their artifacts, photographs, and stories. These have been diligently catalogued, preserved, exhibited, and made available to the community, researchers, genealogists, and historians. Over the past 45 years, the museum has far exceeded its capacity and has been limited by its present location in how it shares the stories that it holds in trust.

    This project would not have been possible without the many significant financial contributions from our generous donors and supporters who have contributed to our relocation efforts including Giles Hume, Donna Bushell, Marie Briggs, and Glen Kilmer. We are very grateful for the support of the town of Aylmer and look forward to engaging with other stakeholders including the Township of Malahide and Elgin County for their assistance and support with this project.

    “We are very excited to be able to announce that after years of searching and hoping, our dream of moving to a larger facility is finally within reach,” said Dan Reid, board member of the Aylmer-Malahide Museum and Archives. “Not only will this allow us greater room for exhibits and for storage, but its central location in the heart of Aylmer will also give us any number of new opportunities to engage directly with the community.

    In this new location, we hope to find new ways to partner with and give back to the many people of our community who have been unswerving in their assistance. We are eager to play host to the young, curious minds, and to nurture a love of history in students of all backgrounds. It is from the lessons of the past that paths forward present themselves. We wish to honour the sacrifices and contributions made to this area by the many citizens of past and present.”

    “I couldn’t be happier to announce that we have finally found a new building for the Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives,” said Amanda VandenWyngaert, the curator of the museum. “We’re so grateful for all of the hard work that many board members, volunteers, and community members have dedicated to this relocation project over their exhaustive, decades-long search for a new building. We are confident that the downtown location, as well as the historic nature of the building, will provide the perfect home for the museum. We cannot wait for all of the exhibit, programming, and event opportunities that this new building will allow us.”

    The historic building at 75 Talbot Street East needs to be renovated in order to fully prepare the building for its future uses. We invite everyone to learn more and to consider contributing to our upcoming capital campaign to help us create a thriving community museum.

    For more information, please contact:
    Kathi Vandermeer, Office Manager, Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives
    (519) 773-9723
    officemanager@aylmermuseum.ca
    Amanda VandenWyngaert, Curator, Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives
    (519) 773-9723
    curator@aylmermuseum.ca

    Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives
    The Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives was established in 1977 to serve as a community museum. The AMMA continues to preserve, present, and promote the history of Aylmer and Malahide through various displays and programming. The museum houses a local archive as well as over 40,000 artifacts relating to the history of local businesses, industries, families, and communities. The museum offers at least three exhibits a year, as well as school programs, senior programs, community programming, special events, and tours.

    Photograph of The Traders Bank of Canada, circa 1909. The building, at the time, housed Dr. Woods, a dentist, in its upper level. The windows of the upper level read "DENTIST WOODS DENTIST". The façade of the building features four inset Ionic columns. The current façade, in comparison features four Doric columns, as the volutes of the columns' capitals are missing.

    Photograph of the Aylmer Branch of the Traders Bank of Canada, located at 75 Talbot Street East, taken ca. 1909. We are grateful to have the opportunity to house our museum and its ever-growing collection in such a beautiful and historically significant building.

     

     

     

    Now Accepting Preorders

    April 22, 2022

    After months of writing and editing, we’re just about ready to print our latest publication, Just What the Doctor Ordered: The Medical History of Aylmer and Malahide. The publication details the histories of medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, eye care, and chiropractic in Aylmer and Malahide. We’ve written short biographies on every medical professional we were able to research, beginning with Dr. Edward Dancey, who arrived in Malahide Township in 1824. We’ve diligently harassed our current local medical professionals, and our publication will include their answers to the short survey we issued.

    This project would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, including the Aylmer Express, the Royal Canadian Legion Colonel Talbot Branch No. 81, the Springfield Swans, Rosemary Kennedy, and Rhonda McNaughton.

    We expect copies to sell at $30 for the general public and $25 for museum members.

    If you would like to preorder a copy, please fill out the form below, or contact us at info@aylmermuseum.ca or (519) 773-9723. We will be in contact once we’ve received the printed publications. We appreciate your support!

    (The form requires an email address to function. Feel free to contact us elsewhere, if you can’t provide an email address.)





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      A Beautiful New Mural in Aylmer

      August 24, 2021

      We are so excited to welcome a beautiful addition to downtown Aylmer!

       

      In November of 2020 the Museum received a large donation from the Estate of Donna Vera Evans Bushell, including the funds to commission a large mural in Aylmer’s downtown. When we began planning the concept of the mural, we worked with students at East Elgin Secondary School to determine what they would like to see in their community, as we not only wanted to focus on the past, but the future of the community as well (not to mention there is already a beautiful mural depicting Aylmer’s past on the side of the McTaggart Armstrong Dewar & Owen building!). The students had one overwhelming message they wanted to convey: one of diversity and inclusivity to represent everyone in their community. The artist Meaghan Claire Kehoe (if anyone is interested in learning more about her work – she’s amazing! www.meaghanclairekehoe.com) worked closely with the students to develop this design.

       

      We’re blown away by Meaghan’s talent and we’re so happy to have a mural that makes everyone feel welcome and accepted in our community! We want to thank everyone for their kind words, positive feedback, and for making Meaghan feel welcome while she was here!

       

      The mural is located on John Street South, on the south wall of the Groovy Moon (20 John St. S.), next to the Old Town Hall Library.

       

      The above photograph, and the first and third photograph below are courtesy of Mel’s Photography (Instagram @mels_photography_20). The last image is a photograph from our collection of the mural’s location ca. 1925.

       

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      A post shared by young & free press (@youngfreepress)

       

      View this post on Instagram

       

      A post shared by Meaghan Claire Kehoe (@mck_studio)

       

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      A post shared by Meaghan Claire Kehoe (@mck_studio)

      Take Action Today for Investment in Ontario Museums

      June 18, 2021

      The OMA released the following open letter to Doug Ford and Lisa MacLeod on June 7ᵗʰ, 2021:

      The Ontario Museum Association (OMA), as a representative of the more than 700 museums,
      galleries, and heritage sites in the province, is calling on the government to invest in Ontario’s
      museums so they can survive the pandemic and fully contribute to the province’s recovery and
      vitality.
      Further to the recent media release about the allocation of annual operating funding to Ontario’s
      166 ‘Community Museums’ through the Community Museum Operating Grant (CMOG)
      program (“Ontario Investing in Community Museums”, June 1, 2021), we call on the government
      to act on the recommendation of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs to
      “bolster the Community Museum Operating Grant Program” (October 2020) ; a longstanding
      request of the OMA and Ontario museums.
      This recommendation is supported by Ontarians; 88% of Ontarians agree that arts and cultural
      activities, like museums, are important to local economic well-being.
      Currently, only 25% of Ontario’s museums (166) receive operating funding from the CMOG
      program. The amount of funding in the program has been stagnant for over ten years and
      prevents museums from fulfilling their potential and their expanded roles in their communities.
      The underfunded program is not meeting the needs of our communities and the museums that
      serve them. This underfunding exacerbated the pandemic’s impacts on museums, placing them
      and Ontario’s heritage at risk. Furthermore, to date, the provincial pandemic relief programs are
      not reaching the majority of museums due to a competitive and protracted grants process.
      Municipal museums and the smallest volunteer-run museums are specifically excluded.
      We call on you to take urgent action to invest in Ontario museums and increase operating funding to
      $15million (an increase of $10.1million) to reach more than 300 community museums across the
      province at a level of support averaging 15% of museums’ operating budgets.
      Ontario invests up to 50% of the operating budgets of our outstanding provincial museums and
      agencies to a total of more than $90million, recognising the vital role that operating funding plays in
      their contributions to Ontario’s economy and vitality.
      Operating funding supports the key museum functions and is essential to the stability and success of the
      sector.
      With this recommended investment, 150 more community museums—excluded for years from the
      closed CMOG program—can better serve Ontarians in every city, town, rural, and Northern
      community and better reflect the diversity of the province. These new, innovative, and achieving
      community museums, like all museums in Ontario, are significant economic and social contributors.
      For every dollar spent on their operations Ontario’s museums have a return-on-investment of $3.70,
      contributing an estimated $1.6 billion in economic benefits each year to this province. These benefits
      come in the form of education, community and social connections, and tourism. Museum visits have
      measurable impacts on student achievement in reading, math, science, and critical thinking, and strong
      museums support a strong educational system.
      Over the past year, museums have continued to adapt to serve their communities, and engage
      volunteers, seniors, and youth where possible. Our province’s museums will continue as important parts
      of economic, tourism and social recovery if they are empowered to fill that role.
      Now is the time to ensure that Ontario’s museums across the province can once again welcome back
      visitors with authentic and unique experiences as we safely and gradually reopen to the world.

      Read the Open Letter here: http://bit.ly/OMA-Open-Letter

      On The Residential School Complex

      May 31, 2021

      Content warning: this post discusses the abuse and wrongful death of children.

      Update: 24/6/21
      We are outraged by the discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the former Marieval Residential School. We send our sincere sympathy to the Cowessess First Nation, survivors of the Residential School, and the relatives of the children lost. We urge our followers to donate to the organizations below. The Indian Residential School Survivors Family Crisis Line is available to survivors at 1-866-925-4419.

      The remains of 215 Indigenous children were discovered at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School of Kamloops, British Columbia. Our hearts go out to the families of the lost children, to survivors of residential schools nationwide, and to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Band. If you would like to support the survivors of this multi-generational trauma, we encourage our followers to donate to The Indian Residential School Survivors Society of British Columbia at irsss.ca/donate, and to Atlohsa Family Healing Services of London at atlohsa.com/donate/.
      Did you know that there were over 130 residential schools in operation in Canada between the 1870s and 1996? An estimated 150,000 children went through the residential school system, and an estimated 6,000 children died in these schools (though records are incomplete and incorrect). The closest residential school to Aylmer and Malahide was the Mount Elgin Industrial Institute, less than 50km westward.
      Read more about Canadian colonialism, residential schools, and the Mount Elgin Industrial Institute below.

      Canadian Colonialism

      Colonizer Jacques Cartier claimed North America for France in 1534 CE, beginning a flood of European settlers into what we now know as Canada. Diseases such as smallpox, influenza, and tuberculosis had existed in Europe for millennia; Europeans were able to build an immunity to these diseases, but also carried them. Indigenous communities had no such immunity and lost upwards of thousands of people when colonizers brought these diseases overseas. Through war and threats of violence, colonizers forced Indigenous communities off their land. With reduced access to this land and therefore food sources, starvation followed. These factors combined with others (such as the weaponization of poverty) led to the loss of 80 to 98 percent of the population of First Nations in the Americas prior to colonization. This constitutes the genocide of the First Nations of the Americas.

      Residential Schools (1831-1996)

      These were a network of church and government-run institutions designed to assimilate First Nations children into Euro-Canadian culture and strip them of their own culture. Children were often taken from their families to live at and attend these schools. They were given Euro-Canadian names, and any instance of a child using his or her actual name or speaking a language other than English would be punished. Altogether, over 150,000 children went through the residential school system. The last school (Gordon Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan) closed in 1996. Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered an apology to former students in 2008, as well as monetary compensation (averaging at only $26,000 each) provided individuals agreed to relinquish his or her right to seek legal action against the Canadian government. Residential schools were created to perpetrate ethnocide: a component of genocide that seeks to exterminate a nation’s culture.

      Mount Elgin Industrial Institute (1851-1946)

      Mount Elgin Industrial Institute, c. 1909. Image courtesy of the Residential School Archive Project of the United Church Archives.

      The closest residential school to Aylmer was in Muncey, ON (bordering the Munsee-Delaware and Oneida territories), less than 50km away. The Institute averaged 1950 students each year. The Council of the Chippewa Nation of the Thames reported in 1943 that the children were served spoiled food, had little to no access to medical care or appropriate winter clothing, and faced multiple types of abuse. The buildings were closed due to poor upkeep in 1946; the Indian Affairs’ superintendent of Welfare and Training described them as “the most dilapidated structures [he had] ever inspected”.

      Every Child Matters graphic design by the Orange Shirt Society. Photograph of Mount Elgin Industrial from the Residential School Archives Project of The United Church of Canada Archives.
      We encourage members of First Nations communities to reach out with any corrections or concerns regarding this post.