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Aylmer High School

Information from A History of The Old School 1886-1937 by Grade 10 Students at East Elgin in 1985 (mainly from pages of the Aylmer Express.) and Sims' History of Elgin County by Hugh Joffre Sims.

Aylmer experienced major growth in the 1870's due to the arrival of the railway, the erection of the pork factory, and it's incorporation as a village in 1972. It's population would double during this decade reaching 1500 people by 1880!

With an extensive overhaul of the educational system by the government in 1871, a separate high school district was created for the Aylmer area, where previously, students attended grammar schools in St Thomas or Vienna.

Aylmer, Malahide, South Dorchester, and Springfield's first 35 high school students attended Aylmer's public school, which was a beautiful two storey brick building built in 1870 on the present McGregor Public School property at John Street South, and South Street. In 1973 a room and hall in the public school were set aside for this purpose.

Enrollment quickly increased over the next few years, and another two storey brick building was erected next to the public school (on the north side) in 1876, Aylmer's first High School. The number of teachers was seven, and the student count as approximately 400 but this number would soon grow, and the high school would no longer by adequate for the students by 1885 and was used only until 1886.

In 1885 a bylaw was passed to raise money to purchase the property for the present site of the High School with a new street opened to the west and named after the new principal W.W. Rutherford and the new High School called the Collegiate Institute was build in 1890.

In 1899 the cannons are secured for A.C.I. They are both dated 1806 and were brought to Canada for use in the War of 1812. They were secured from the federal government by Mr. David Price of the Aylmer Express.

Additions were made in 1949, and again in 1959, but the High School building was eventually torn down and replaced by a modern structure in 1969. The cannons are still there today, and you can view the Cornerstone from the original building laid in 1875 which is encased in the front sidewalk of the present High School.

Learn More

Learn more about the history of the Aylmer High School by visiting the Elgin County Library Aylmer Branch. Information gathered from the booklet "A History of The Old School 1886-1937" and Sims' History of Elgin County by Hugh Joffre Sims.

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