Use this interactive map to go back in time and see how the place you know as home has changed over time.
Check out locations in Aylmer, Springfield, Luton, and Port Bruce!
This photograph dates to the 1930s and shows the Aylmer Post Office. This building was built in 1913 and served as the Post Office for over 50 years. In the 1970s the post office moved to Sydenham Street, and the building currently houses the Town Hall. The Cenotaph located to the left of it was created by J.W. Hutchinson, a former Mayor of Aylmer. It was dedicated on November 25, 1928.
Photograph of the south side of Talbot Street East taken c. 1930s. While most of the streetscape has been altered by fires throughout time, this section remains very similar.
Luton was originally known as Centreville, as it was located in the centre of the township. The name Luton was adopted when the post office opened, with L.R. Tyrell serving as the first Postmaster. The first schoolhouse was built in 1840, and around 1877 a new brick schoolhouse (S.S. #8 Luton School) was constructed and used until 1968. This photo was taken c. 1910 and shows the brick schoolhouse and schoolyard. The building still stands and operates today as a community centre.
The Mansion House was located on the south-west corner of Talbot Street and John Street, the current location of the Mennonite Furniture Gallery. This photo was taken c. 1913. Following the Mansion House, the building later served as the Merchants Bank of Canada and a grocery store (run by Angus Hughes c. 1945 and later Don Burgess and Bill Wall c. 1955) before being destroyed in the Great Fire of 1965. It sat as a vacant lot before Stedmans (which moved from the SE corner) occupied the building and eventually the Mennonite Furniture Gallery, as it exists today.
This photograph is of Main Street Springfield taken c. 1909.
The Clunas and Yoder families were among the first to settle in Springfield. It was first known as Clunas until 1855 when it was named Springfield, for the abundance of springs in the field. By the 1860s there was a doctor, tailor, general stores, furniture makers, blacksmiths, shingle mill, wagon maker, shoe maker, and carpenters. It was incorporated as a village in 1878. This photo, taken c. 1909, shows Main Street and some of the many businesses that were located in Springfield.
This photograph is of Talbot Street east, facing west, taken c. 1923.
This building is located on the south side of Talbot Street East. It originally served as the Baptist parsonage, until J.L. Thayer purchased the home and remodeled it to serve as a gas station and Ford Sales & Service dealership. This photo dates to c. 1920 and advertises gas was 27 cents a gallon, plus 3 cents tax. In the 1950s the building served as a car show room for Merlin Motors. The building now serves as Waydan Auto Repair and Aylmer Rad Shop and Agricultural Parts.
This photograph is of Talbot Street east facing west, taken c. 1939
This photograph shows the Town Hall and Aylmer Steam Laundry c. 1939. The Old Town Hall (housing the library and theatre) and Aylmer Video are located there now.
The Methodist Church in Springfield was established in 1879. This photo was taken c. 1918, and shows the original tower before it was replaced. The church later becomes, and still operates as, St. John’s United Church.
This photograph is of Talbot Street west facing east taken c. 1905.
This photo shows the Capitol Theatre c. 1939. The Capitol Theatre was located here from 1927-1947. Jack Van Patter Limited later remodelled and had his furniture and appliance store in the building. It currently sits as a vacant store.
View from the intersection of John Street and Talbot Street facing east. This photo was taken c. 1925.
The Church of England was constructed in 1879 by Thomas Wooster, featuring both red and yellow brick. This photo dates to c. 1908. It now serves as the Anglican Church.
The hotel at the corner of Hale and Colin Street originally served as the Amasa Lewis Hotel built in 1854. It later became the Rockabore Inn, as seen in this postcard from c. 1915. It currently serves as a private residence.
Ray Lemon Drug Store and Getta’s Restaurant c. 1939, now Hill’s Pharmacy and Johnny’s Restaurant.
The Baptist Church was originally constructed in 1871, costing roughly $16,000 to build. This photo was taken c. 1915. On July 12, 1950 a large fire destroyed the church leaving only the tower and walls standing. The church was rebuilt costing $138,000. The building still exists as the Baptist Church and the congregation has recently celebrated their 200th year.
Aylmer Hardware and White’s Drug Store c. 1939. Now Campbell’s II and Campbell’s.
The Brown House was located on the south-east corner of Talbot Street and John Street. It was constructed in the late 1800s by Hiram J. Brown. The photo seen here dates to c. 1915. It was later sold and renamed The Aylmer Inn. In 1934 a large fire damaged the building and resulted in the death of 3 occupants. Later the main floor housed the Selrite Store and then Stedmans. In the 1970s the building was torn down and the current building was constructed. The Aylmer News and Camera Centre, Lovers, the Big V, and Shoppers Drug Mart have all occupied the building, until recently when it became IDA.
Port Bruce was very important in the early history of Malahide. It was originally referred to as “Catfish Harbour” because of Catfish Creek. The Harbour in Port Bruce wasn’t established until the 1850s because the Hale Family refused to sell or develop two lots of land. Amasa Lewis and Lindley Moore constructed a warehouse and four hundred foot pier. Once the pier was in operation Port Bruce became a shipping centre for the lumber and grain produced in Malahide Township. The Harbour lost its importance once the railway was introduced in the 1870s. This photo dates to c. 1938 and shows the period of time after the warehouses and before the lighthouse was added.
In 1885 a bylaw was passed to raise money to purchase the site of the current high school, with a new street named after the principal, W. W. Rutherford. The new High School, called the Collegiate Institute, was built in 1886. In 1899 the cannons were secured for the high school. They both date to 1806 and were brought to Canada for use in the War of 1812. Additions were made throughout time and eventually the building was torn down and replaced by a modern structure around 1940.
The Aylmer Band Shell was constructed in 1940 as a venue for the Aylmer Boy’s Band. It was restored in 2010/2011 and sits in what is now known as Palmer Park.
View from the intersection of John Street and Talbot Street of the John Street North Bridge taken c. 1915
Photograph of the Knox Presbyterian Church in Aylmer taken c. 1915. An addition was later added, and now houses the Aylmer Legion Branch No. 81. The original building can still be seen behind the addition.
This building was constructed in 1912 in Edwardian style. It was financed by a grant from Andrew Carnegie and served as the towns library for 70 years. This photo is from c. 1920. It now houses State Farm Insurance.
Photo of Talbot St. West looking east c. 1905. This photo was taken prior to several large fires that drastically changed the streetscape, including the fire of 1965.
This church was constructed in 1874 in Gothic Style. It originally served as a Methodist Church, as it is in this photo from c. 1910. It originally featured a 156 foot steeple which was later removed. It now serves as St. Paul’s United Church.
In 1873 the Village Council passed an act to build a Town Hall and Market building. The Old Town Hall was constructed in 1874 and served as the Town Hall, Police Station, Mechanics Institute, and Opera House. Originally it had a large cupola on top. This photo dates to c. 1912. The building was restored in 1982 and now houses the Aylmer Library and theatre.
This property, located south of the Old Town Hall on John Street South was the site of a house torn down c. 2008. This photo dates to c. 1915. The property now serves as a park space.
Photograph of the Port Bruce Harbour c. 1910 compared to now. Note all the warehouses and buildings that lined the harbour.
Photograph of the Aylmer branch of the Traders Bank of Canada, located on the north side of Talbot Street East. This photo was taken c. 1910. Dr. Woods Dentist office can be seen above the bank.
Photograph of the Aylmer branch of the Traders Bank of Canada, located on the north side of Talbot Street East. This photo was taken c. 1910. Dr. Woods Dentist office can be seen above the bank.
Photograph of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, located on the west side of John Street South, prior to completion. This photograph was taken on March 31, 1940 by Bradt Studio.
Talbot Street west looking east c. 1938. The fire of 1965 significantly changed the streetscape at Aylmer’s main corners, especially the northwest and southwest corners of the intersection.
Photograph of Talbot Street east looking west c. 1955. The streetscape of Talbot Street East has remained relatively unchanged over the past 60 years. Businesses including Hugh Shaws Men’s Wear, Van Patter Electrics, Capital Café, the City Butcher Shop, and the Barber Shop can all be seen.
View of Port Bruce looking towards the pier, c. 1935 and now
Talbot Street east looking west c. 1935. A gas station can be seen on the south side of the road at the current site of CIBC.
Photograph of the “Rocabore Bay” in Port Bruce c. 1920. The King George Pavillion, later known as the Rocabore Inn and now a private residence, can be seen in the photograph. Historically flooding in this area has been an issue. In an effort to prevent further ice jams in the Rocabore Bay area, the western part of the bay was filled in in 1991, and a stone berm was built along the east side in 1997. This created a more streamlined channel, with less risk of sediment building up, reducing the risk of further ice jams in area of the bay.
This photograph was taken at the Ford Picnic of 1915. Photograph taken in June of 1915 compared to June 2018. Note the large warehouse on the pier as well as the Rocabore Inn, then known as the King George Pavilion, in the centre of the photo.
Talbot Street east looking west c. 1938 in comparison to now. Businesses including Dominion Grocers, Getta’s Restaurant, and the Barber Shop can be seen.
This photograph shows horse and carriages and a marching band on John Street South c. 1900. The Brown House and the Baptist Church can be seen in the background.
Photograph of the Aylmer Branch of the Molsons Bank, located on the north side of Talbot Street East. The photograph is part of an advertisement for the bank out of the Holiday Number of the Aylmer Express for 1903-1904. This photograph of the Molsons Bank also appeared in the Souvenir of Aylmer of 1897.
The building, which looks much the same as it did at the turn of the century, now houses Gloin, Hall & Shields Barristers and Solicitors.
Photograph of the Aylmer Branch of the Sovereign Bank of Canada, located on the north side of Talbot Street East. The photograph is part of an advertisement for the bank out of the Holiday Number of the Aylmer Express for 1903-1904.
Photograph of the North Side of Talbot Street East c. 1923. The streetscape of Talbot Street East has remained relatively unaltered over the past century. Even the shape of many of the windows as well as the decorative elements above them, have remained the same! Also notice that at this time Talbot Street was a brick street.
Photograph of the north side of Talbot Street east c. 1905. The office of Dr. Fear, a dentist, can be seen as well as White’s Drug Store can be seen. While much of this section of Talbot Street has remained the same, the northeast corner of Talbot Street and John Street was destroyed in a fire in 1960, 5 years before the large fire that destroyed much of the northwest and southwest corners of intersection.
Talbot Street East Looking northwest c. 1900. While much of this section of Talbot Street has remained the same, the northeast corner of Talbot and John Streets was destroyed in a fire in 1960, 5 years before the large fire that destroyed much of the northwest and southwest corners of intersection. Signs for Buchanan Harness & Co. and A.J. Anderson Furniture and Undertaking can be seen on the left of the picture. Buchanan’s Harness Store sold horse collars and bridles, as well as various furs including men’s coats and robes and horse blankets. The store also featured a selection of leather boots and shoes.
Photograph taken of an unknown man on King Street facing north c. 1910
Photograph of the Province of Ontario Savings Office c. 1930, located on the northwest corner of Talbot and John Streets. In the fire of 1965 the streetscape, and especially the northwest and southwest corners of this intersection, were drastically changed. In 1972 The Royal Bank moved to its new building at the northwest corner of Talbot and John Streets. Prior to this they were located on the north side of Talbot Street East, at the current site of Hamilton, Ward and Cathers.
Photograph of the northeast corner of Talbot Street West and Elm Street, c. 1965. The Supertest Gas Station can be seen on the left, the current site of Mac’s Convenience Store and Subway.
Photograph of the Aylmer Boys’ Band Practice Room that was located behind the Post Office. This photograph was taken c. 1938, prior to the construction of the Band Shell in 1940. The Band Shell was restored in 2010/2011 and the Post Office building now houses the Town Hall for the Town of Aylmer and Aylmer Community Services.
Photograph of King Street in Aylmer, taken c.1905 from Talbot Street East facing south. The photo was taken from the second floor of the Traders Bank. The current photo was taken from the second floor of Hamilton Ward and Cathers Insurance Ltd. At the end of the road the McLay House on Pine Street East can be seen prior to the addition of the large Doric columns and pediment in 1950.
Photograph of the residence and office of Dr. Peter W. McLay, located on the northeast corner of John St. and Pine St. This photograph was taken in 1878. Dr. McLay is standing in the gate wearing a long coat and hat. Mrs. McLay is on the upper porch with two girls.
Photograph of the back of the Post Office, taken by M.G. McKnight at 1:03 pm on Monday, January 20, 1936. The photograph was taken from Centre St. facing Talbot Street West. The building now houses the Town Hall, and an addition on the back of the building houses Aylmer Community Services.
The Aylmer High School pictured here c. 1932 now East Elgin Secondary School.
Port Bruce was very important in the early history of Malahide. It was originally referred to as "Catfish Harbour", as the Port feeds the waters of Catfish Creek. The Harbour in Port Bruce wasn't established until the 1850s because the Hale Family refused to sell or develop two lots of land. Amasa Lewis and Lindley Moore constructed a warehouse and four hundred foot pier. Once the pier was in operation Port Bruce became a shipping centre for the lumber and grain produced in Malahide Township. The Harbour lost its importance once the railway was introduced in the 1870s.
In 1871 the provincial government made an extensive overhaul of the educational system in Ontario. As a result, in 1872 a separate high school district was created for the Aylmer area. Prior to this, local students attended high school at Grammar Schools in St. Thomas or Vienna. The Aylmer High School was established in 1872 to serve the villages of Aylmer and Springfield, as well as the townships of Malahide and South Dorchester. A schoolhouse was not constructed until 1873, so for the first year the high school class was conducted in a room in the elementary school on John Street. Enrollment in this first year had 35 students. A two-storey brick high school was then built next to the elementary school in 1876. This building marked the first separate Aylmer High School. The first principal of this school was Mr. Harry Long. In the mid-1870s the Aylmer United High and Public School Board governed both the High School and Public School. In 1885 a by-law was passed to allow Aylmer Council to raise $8,000 to purchase 9 1/5 acre from Mrs. Alex Treadwell in order to construct a new school. With the town continuing to expand, the 1876 high school was proving to be inadequate. Only 4 acres were needed for the new school, and lots were sold to the public on St. Andrew Street. On the west side a new street was made and named after the new principal W.W. Rutherford. In 1886 a new high school, known initially as the Aylmer High School, was constructed on Talbot Street West and the old school building was sold to the Public School Board for $3,500. The new high school was designed by Mr. M. L. Buffy. The building was three storeys in height, and measured 64 feet long and 54 feet wide, featuring 14 rooms. The new Aylmer High School was officially opened on Wednesday, October 13, 1886. Aldrich's Pocket Directory of 1888 describes the building in detail, stating that the basement had two waiting rooms, a furnace room, cloak room, and laboratory. The first floor featured two large class rooms, one small class room, a teacher's room, and a library. The second floor featured a large assembly room capable of seating 200, a museum, apparatus room, and one large class room. The school also had a gymnasium that was likely the first gymnasium in Elgin County. On the first and second floors were two corridors, 9 feet wide, that extended the length of the building. The waiting room and laboratory were equipped with sinks and wash bowls. The building was capable of accommodating 200 students, and was thoroughly equipped with maps and a library. The Aylmer High School prepared students for First, Second and Third Class Teachers' Certificates for Matriculation, with honors in Arts, Law, or Medicine. As of 1888 W.W. Rutherford was the Principal, W.M. Logan was the Classical Master, Thomas Porter was the Modern Language Master, W.R. Smith the Science Master, and W. Knight was the History and Geography Master. In 1890 the Aylmer High School changed its name to the Aylmer Collegiate Institute. The staff consisted of 5 teachers and a drill instructor, and there were 216 students attending the school. Mr. Rutherford was still the principal. Reports in the Aylmer Sun point out that the school often ranked from first to third in the province in its mid summer examinations. In front of the school were two maples, which originally came from land owned by Hiram Brown. These were planted in 1887 by the janitor Mr. Davenport, who together with Principal Rutherford, were responsible for the condition of the grounds and received praise for their work from a government inspector. In 1899 the cannons were secured for the Aylmer Collegiate Institute. The cannons came from the federal government and weighed 4,000 pounds. They date back to 1806 and were brought to Canada for the War of 1812. In 1911 the Aylmer Collegiate Institute was renamed the Aylmer High School again. Throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s concerns were raised by inspectors about the Aylmer High School building, and the Department of Education informed the school officials that if something was not done that they would not receive their grant. In January of 1936 another inspector found that the Aylmer High School was too old and inadequate for the renovations it needed. Inadequate heat, light, and ventilation, and overcrowding were all problems with the existing building. There was a push by local clubs and the High School Board for a new High School building. In August of 1937 Aylmer Council voted for new high school. In September of 1937 the Aylmer High School reopened in the former Hat Factory on Myrtle Street. On October 14, 1937 the cornerstone of the new Aylmer High School was laid. The corner stone of the new Aylmer High School was laid on October 14, 1937 by Mayor Dr. H. J. Davis and the new building was constructed. To the right of the front entrance was the principal's waiting room and to the left was the female teachers' room. On the main floor there were four classrooms that featured sloping blackboards to prevent the reflection of light in pupils' eyes. The entrance to the gymnasium galleries was also off of this floor. On the second floor were two classrooms, a library, the male teachers room, the home economic rooms, and the science laboratory. The furniture in the library was walnut and on the walls were replicas of the sculptured stone panels over the front entrance. The home economics room was designed according to the regulations that were set by Department of Education and was a large room 40 feet long by 25 feet wide, and was divided into smaller rooms with three foot high removable partitions. The smaller rooms were furnished to represent two kitchens, each with a sink, cabinet, table, refrigerator, and stoves, a dining room with a table and buffet, a laundry room with tubs, a washing machine, and an ironing board, a bedroom with a folding bed to conserve space, and a sewing room with a sewing machine and work tables. The room featured ample storage cupboards for dresses, kitchen utensils, and other equipment. The science laboratory was furnished with the "very best desks" and specialized science equipment. All desks were supplied with running water, electric outlets, and an exhaust system to ventilate them. The basement was a combined auditorium and gymnasium, 43 feet by 80 feet, with red tile wainscoting 5 feet high. It also featured a hydraulic stage that measured 15 feet by 20 feet. The floor of the stage also part of the floor of the gymnasium, however when the space was used as an auditorium the stage was raised. The new Aylmer High School opened in March of 1938. In 1949 a four room addition was made, and in 1952 an additional four rooms and the gymnasium were added. The East Elgin District High School Board was established in 1947. In 1959 an additional six rooms were constructed. In the summer of 1962 a fifteen room vocational wing was constructed, costing approximately $1,000,000, and included rooms for automotive, electrical, metal, and wood shops. A two year vocational course was offered for the first time in September of that year. In 1969 another expansion was added costing 2,500,000. This addition provided more room for students in Bayham who previously attended school in Tillsonburg. In 1970-1971 a multi-room addition was completed that included a new gymnasium, library, cafeteria, seminar room, lecture room, science classrooms, department offices, and head offices. By September of 1973 all Bayham students except those living in the northeast corner were to be attending East Elgin Secondary School. This addition also replaced the six portables which had been in use.