The Swans Have Landed!

February 27, 2023

The swans have arrived in the Aylmer Wildlife Management Area, on their annual migration from their wintering grounds around Chesapeake Bay to their mating grounds in the high Arctic.

The Tundra Swan Line (available at (519) 773-7926 and graciously provided by Eastlink) will be updated daily with the number of swans present, 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.

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 (
  • 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 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:

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!



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 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.)


    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!

    New Summer Hours

    June 13, 2022

    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, Just What the Doctor Ordered, or learn more about the Relocation Project.

    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


    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:

    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
    Amanda VandenWyngaert, Curator, Aylmer-Malahide Museum & Archives
    (519) 773-9723

    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 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.)


      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! 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.


      View this post on Instagram


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


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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
      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
      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:

      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, and to Atlohsa Family Healing Services of London at
      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.