Town of Ajax - Council Office 65 Harwood Avenue South Ajax, ON L1S 2H9 905-626-1916

Fireworks safety tips for Victoria Day long weekend

May 16, 2022

During the Victoria Day Holiday, Ajax Fire and Emergency Services is asking residents to refrain from using fireworks or attending informal neighbourhood displays. Instead, attend professional fireworks events that have been planned throughout the Region.

Every year we see burn injuries and property damage as a result of the misuse of fireworks. If you still choose to have a family fireworks display, please review and follow the Town’s Fireworks By-law.

Tips and reminders:

  • Appoint a responsible person to be in charge. Only adults who are aware of the hazards and essential safety precautions should handle and discharge fireworks.
  • Carefully read and follow the label directions on fireworks packaging.
  • Always keep a water hose or pail of water close by when discharging fireworks.
  • Discharge fireworks well away from combustible materials like buildings, trees and dry grass.
  • Keep onlookers a safe distance away, upwind from the area where fireworks are discharged.
  • Light only one firework at a time and only when they are on the ground. Never try to light a firework in your hand or re-light dud fireworks. For dud fireworks, it is best to wait 30 minutes and soak them in a bucket of water. Dispose of them in a metal container.
  • Discharge fireworks only if wind conditions do not create a safety hazard.


“Fireworks are extremely dangerous and should be left to trained professionals. This recommendation is made to minimize the risk of fire and burn injuries that can result from the misuse of fireworks. Please remember that although they are available to be purchased, it doesn’t mean they are safe.” – Shelley Langer, Fire Prevention Inspector, Town of Ajax


  • Hand-held sparklers can reach temperatures as hot as 1200°F (648.9°C). Glass melts at 900°F (source: National Fire Protection Association).
  • Sparklers burn at extremely hot temperatures and can ignite clothing, cause blindness and result in severe burns.
  • As the sparkler wire remains hot for some minutes after burnout, it should immediately be soaked in water to avoid injury.
  • If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes and seek medical attention if necessary.


Durham Region selected to host the 2023 Ontrio Parasport Games

Whitby, Ontario – Durham Region will host the 2023 Ontario Parasport Games, building on the success and legacy of hosting these Games in 2019, and continuing growth of our inclusive, accessible, and adaptive sport opportunities.

The 2023 Durham Region Ontario Parasport Games will attract approximately 550 participants and result in an anticipated local economic impact of between $500,000 and $1 million. There will be 11 sport competitions at eight venues, along with an opening ceremony, and two dinners for participants.

Sport Durham, the Region of Durham’s sport tourism program, will work closely with the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and community volunteers forming the Games Organizing Committee. This team will deliver another successful and memorable event for visiting participants, as well as community partners and volunteers.

Durham Region hosted the Ontario Parasport Games in 2019—garnering around $678,000 in local economic impact; and a legacy fund of $112,000 that is being used to increase adaptive sport opportunities and participation in Durham. The 2019 Games were recognized with several national and provincial awards.

The Region has previously hosted four other Ontario Games, including the Ontario Summer Games in 2000; the Ontario 55+ Summer Games in 2010; and the Ontario Parasport Games in 1979.

Durham Region is a premier sport tourism destination, home to some of the Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA) best and busiest sporting complexes and venues. A sports-minded, active community, the region has an impressive resumé of hosting sport events, from large international events to numerous community-based sport tournaments.


“I am delighted that Durham Region will have another opportunity to host the Ontario Parasport Games in 2023. Durham is one of Ontario’s best destinations for accessible sport, and our government is proud to provide $135,000 to support the Games, which will boost the local economy, attract visitors from across the province, engage volunteers, develop sport and recreation locally, and leave a lasting legacy in the community.”

– The Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries

“Durham Region is honoured to be hosting the Ontario Parasport Games for a second time. It’s a reflection of our commitment to accessibility and inclusion—a community working together to find valuable solutions that produce positive impacts. Collectively building on the best place to call home.”

– John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Region of Durham

“The local economic impact of having Durham Region host the 2023 Parasport Games will increase adaptive sports opportunities and participation at the local level. This opportunity will make Pickering-Uxbridge and Durham Region a hub for inclusive, accessible, and adaptive sports.”

– The Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge

“It’s wonderful to host the Ontario Parasport Games once again in Durham Region. With its unique facilities and enthusiastic volunteers, the Durham Region is the perfect place for this event.”

– The Honourable David Piccini, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks and MPP for Northumberland-Peterborough South

“Our Government’s investment in sport is driven by a commitment to support local communities, and help them grow and prosper through events like the Ontario Parasport Games. Multi-sport events of this nature unite Durham communities through healthy, active living and provide new opportunities for our coaches, volunteers, officials and athletes. The Region of Durham is home to a diverse range of athletes with different backgrounds and skillsets, and I look forward to supporting them.”

– Lorne Coe, MPP for Whitby and Chief Government Whip

“I know our community will rally around this exciting opportunity to build on our experience hosting the 2019 Ontario Parasport Games and grow our legacy initiatives to increase the number of opportunities and participants enjoying the benefits of adaptive sport.”

– Don Terry, Co-Chair, 2023 Durham Region Ontario Parasport Games

“Durham Region boasts a history of accessibility and inclusion with high performance venues and experienced, capable volunteers making it a fantastic community to successfully host these Games.”

– Mike Frogley, Co-Chair, 2023 Durham Region Ontario Parasport Games

Quick Fact

  • Durham Region is—simply—more. Located on the eastern side of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), Durham is a region with momentum. Offering a competitive advantage like no other, Durham is a community where talented, smart and ambitious people—known for their innovation, creativity, skills and education—bring access to world markets, insights, invention and traditions. A place where an innovative ecosystem helps propel new ideas forward. Where ingenuity and industry help tackle global challenges. Visit to learn more about one of Canada’s fastest growing communities.

– 30 –

Durham Region community members invited to apply for Durham Region’s Anti-Racism Task Force

Whitby, Ontario – The Regional Municipality of Durham is seeking dedicated community members, including Durham Region residents and stakeholders, to apply to join Durham Region’s Anti-Racism Task Force (DRART). Interested applicants can apply until Friday, July 30 at 5 p.m., by completing the online form available at

DRART is part of the Region’s commitment to develop and implement an Anti-Racism Framework to ensure a healthy workplace and to address racism within the communities the Region serves. The mandate of the DRART is to act in an advisory role to Regional Council through the Finance and Administration Committee on issues related to racism – structural, systemic and interpersonal. The work of DRART will be guided by Council approved Terms of Reference.

This task force will adopt a ‘hub and spoke’ model where working groups will be identified to address disparity in racialized (e.g., Indigenous, Black, Asian) communities. Anti-Black racism will be the initial focus for this task force. Precedence will be given to the lived and living experiences and concerns of all racialized groups in the Region.

Regional Council has appointed Councillor Sterling Lee as the Council representative for the DRART, with Councillor Granville Anderson as the alternate. In accordance with the terms of reference for DRART, Regional Council also appointed Regional CAO Elaine Baxter-Trahair as the staff representative with Don Beaton, the Commissioner of Corporate Services, as the alternate.

Aside from those individuals already appointed, it is suggested that the membership be comprised of 15 to 18 individuals, including:

  • Ten (10) Racialized Community members with lived experience and/or specialized expertise, including those with intersectional social locations.
  • Three (3) to six (6) representatives from industry, association and public institutions such as:
  • Academia with a focus on anti-racism or critical race theory (e.g. Ontario Tech University, Durham College, Trent Durham University, and/or local school boards).
  • Professional associations
  • Community and socially focused organizations

Applications close July 30, 2021 at 5 p.m. To apply, or to learn more about the Region’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work, visit


“Here in Durham, diversity is one of our greatest strengths. The Durham Region Anti-Racism Task Force will help us ensure that voices of our community are recognized and at the centre of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work. By prioritizing those with lived and living experiences and concerns of all racialized groups in the Region, we will be able to work together to make a difference in our communities.”

–        John Henry, Regional Chair

“Your voice matters to us. The Durham Region Anti-Racism Task Force will be integral to ensuring all of Durham Region’s programs, services and supports are equitable and inclusive. By joining this task force, you’ll have the important role of advising Regional Council on issues related to racism in all its forms. We look forward to reviewing your applications.”

–        Allison Hector-Alexander, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

– 30 –The Regional Municipality of Durham:
Emily Meek – Communications Advisor
905-668-4113 ext. 3542 or

Read this article on our website.

Sad State of Affairs…,

…, when the province interferes with the local planning and public consultation process.

Many of us are experiencing a new appreciation for the outdoors and green space during COVID.  We all understand that life is about balance, and enjoyment of the outdoors gives us that balance.

As the GTA grows, balance is just as important for our creeks, watersheds and wetlands which are increasingly stressed in their ability to function due to development. Complicated further by Climate Change or unusual extreme weather.

Our natural systems have value, they are our “natural capital”.  They prevent flooding protecting property and lives, clean our drinking water, provide tree coverage for clean air and provide wildlife with a place to live. 
They are irreplaceable and costly when tampered with.

To date, the Province has initiated 33 MZO’s (Ministers Zoning Order), more than the previous government did in their 15 yr term. Six were for industrial/commercial, distribution centres.

What’s an MZO and why are they so popular?

An MZO takes away the planning authority from local municipalities and places it in the hands of the province to fast track development. Historically used in emergencies such as in Elliott Lake to replace their grocery store which was lost in the collapse of a mall.  MZO’s circumvent the planning process and public consultation process.  Cutting the “RED TAPE” promised by this government during the last election.

Developers understand the message the province is sending. They can build without approvals. Don’t have to worry about public concerns, road access, traffic issues, infrastructure or protecting the environment. Hence the popularity.

However, development comes at a cost for taxpayers when good planning practices are ignored.

An MZO was requested by Pickering on behalf of the land owner of the Durham Live/Casino lands.

Prior to the Minister approving the MZO, the Province discussed the importance of entering into agreements with the landowner for the Region of Durham and Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA).

While the Casino development is progressing it’s 15 months late than it’s anticipated opening of  April 2021. Zoned to facilitate this “Tourist Destination” on the Casino lands east of Squires Beach Road, the MZO now includes a high rise development of over 1600 residences and a film studio.

On lands to the west of Squires Beach Rd. the MZO includes a distribution centre , paving over 57 acres of Provincial Significant Wetland(PSW) , protected by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). The Minister of MNRF requested that TRCA come to an agreement with the landowner for compensation costs of developing the PSW.  However, only the Minister himself can declassify the importance of a PSW to negotiate compensation. Currently there is no compensation for PSW’s as they’re off limits. If the Minister declassifies the wetland and the developer agrees to compensation, then the site plan would come back to TRCA for Board approval.

The TRCA is the approval authority for the permit to develop. Or so we thought until the province introduced the Recovery Bill 229 giving greater power to MZO’s and taking away Conservation Authorities powers to protect important environmental lands.

The Province will remove amendments to the Conservation Act and Planning Act related to planning, permitting and, enforcement.

The only thing standing between the TRCA and the Ministers compensation agreement was the ability to decline the permit for development on the wetland Seems the province has found a way to get around this. This suggests that development is the road to recovery through destruction of this PSW complex, woodlots and habitat.  Literally paving the way to recovery.

I will continue to oppose this new challenge and hope that you take the opportunity to voice your concerns to MPP.

I truly appreciate the thousands of emails I’ve received in support of saving the wetland! 

Thank you,

Joanne Dies

Timeline of Events

May 13, 2020- Pickering requests a Ministerial Zoning order for the Durham Live lands.

July, Aug, Sept- Ajax continued discussions regarding traffic issue and concerns.

Sept. 2020- Region of Durham supported the MZO Request and entered into negotiations for an        agreement with Ajax, Pickering and the landowner.

Oct. 23rd– Toronto and Region Conservation Authority enters into an agreement for compensation of the Provincially Significant Wetland if  the MZO is approved and if the Minister of Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry declassifies the wetland to allow for compensation.

Oct. 26- Ajax motion opposes MZO

Oct. 28- the Region approves final agreement omitting Ajax at the request of Pickering and the landowner.

Oct. 30- Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing approves the MZO

Nov. 5- Province tables omnibus Bill 229- with proposed amendments to conservation Authority Act permitting, enforcement and planning. Gives the Minister the power to take over decisions on permits .

Ajax Council supports unsheltered residents during COVID-19 pandemic

News Release Town of Ajax

New hub to provide hygienic and referral access for vulnerable community members.

In partnership with the Region of Durham, the Town of Ajax is launching the Ajax Hygiene Hub. A first for Ajax, the hub will serve unsheltered residents at the:

Ajax Community Centre 
75 Centennial Rd.

Linked to a network of supports for vulnerable community members across the Durham Region, the hub will provide:

–        Shower and washroom access; and

–        VHA Home Healthcare on site for information, referrals and supports to homeless residents.

All individuals accessing the hub will be actively screened for potential COVID-19 risk factors, and must follow Region of Durham Health Department protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes practicing proper physical distancing and hand washing procedures. In addition, the space will be subject to additional cleaning and disinfecting measures.


Residents, businesses and community groups wishing to play a role in supporting unsheltered community members may drop off new, unused items to the:

Ajax Community Centre’s
main entrance doors between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
from Monday through Friday.

Please call ahead to arrange, 905-427-8811.

Items include:

–        Non-perishable, individual serving food items – granola bars, juice boxes, bottles water, apples, bananas, hummus and crackers, etc.;

–        New clothing, shoes and towels;

–       Unused hygiene products – shampoo, conditioner, soap/body wash, feminine hygiene products.

Media Contact: Rachael Matheson, Corporate Communications, 905-621-2278

Joanne Dies educates, lobbies, and fights for environmental standards in Durham.

I met Joanne in my late-teen-years while attending a Pickering Ajax Citizens Together to Protect Our Water (PACT POW) event at Rotary Park in 2013. As a young woman in the environmental field, Joanne’s work at the time was incredibly empowering. She is one of the few people I know that has the ability to capture the hearts of young men and women, like she did with mine, and demonstrate the importance of our work and the necessity for all of us to make environmentally minded choices. Having briefly followed her career in the field, Joanne was my inspiration to pursue my love for the environment in a political capacity and through activism.

Her relentless work on PACT POW, meeting with local MPP’s to bring attention to the algae issue, coupled with her earlier work presenting in front of the Pickering Council, encouraging them to become an MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Investment) free zone, was a testament to me on the revolutionizing force of a passionate individual.

Since meeting Joanne at the PACT POW event in 2013, she has continued to lobby for environmental causes and serves as an inspiration to teens and young children, bringing environmental education to schools. She has worked with the PineRidge Arts Council on projects encouraging high school students to create art from artifacts found when picking up litter and has supported programs of a similar vein at Glengrove Public School. There, Joanne had students bring in household electronic garbage and together, built a robot from the waste which was later displayed at the Pickering Rec Centre in celebration of the Brock West Landfill site closure.

Her work as an educator on these projects was done with the intent of fostering social and behavioral transcendence, framing teens and elementary students as important vehicles of change. In focusing on students, Joanne’s work is likely to have a lasting impact as they reflect on how they can reduce waste by repurposing or re-creating materials in the future.

What makes Councillor Dies work in the environmental field unique, is her lesson that a person need not be a politician or scientist to make an environmental difference.

In the classroom and with her work on the Doors Open project in Ajax, where she helped gather a group of artists to repurpose and paint over old doors, she has demonstrated that creators, artists, and students have the potential to bring environmentalism into their work.

Most recently, Joanne, who is co-chair of PACT POW, recently turned her attention to bringing awareness to and lobbying against the discharge of phosphorus from the Duffins Creek Water Pollution Control Plant. On this issue, Joanne has presented at numerous public meetings to educate citizens on how the Plant is significantly contributing to phosphorus levels in the lake. This work represents one of many efforts made by Joanne to educate, lobby, and fight for an environmental standard in Durham that will lead to the betterment of the community and its ecologies.

Through her work rallying around globally significant projects like Stop the MAI, taking part in local activism with PACT POW, serving as an artist and creator with students, acting as a community educator, helping establish the St. Andrews Community Garden, and volunteering in Adopt-A-Road cleanups, Joanne has continually promoted the protection of the environment in many meaningful ways.

I am so incredibly grateful that she has shared with Ajax her concern for issues like water conservation and am even more grateful that she has taken leadership to ensure future use and enjoyment of our lakes and creeks.

In one sentence, what has been revealed through Joanne’s work is the radical impact a person can make when they are driven by their love for the community.

Kayla Ginter

Endorsement from Dr. Romas Stas

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Doctor Stas and the Friends of the Hospital. I’m proud of the accomplishments we have made on behalf of our local hospital.” #ReasonstovoteDIES #JoanneDies#RegionalCouncillorWard3

Blue-green algae in Pickering’s Frenchman’s Bay area Residents warned to protect themselves, children and pets


Algae in Ajax

Large amounts of algae are growing along the Lake Ontario shoreline at Ajax Rotary Park. – Ryan Pfeiffer/Metroland



Oct 12, 2018 Pickering News Advertiser

DURHAM — Durham health officials are warning residents to keep away from blue-green algae found in Pickering.

The Durham Region Health Department was advised by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) of the presence of a blue-green algal bloom in a small area of the southwest portion of Frenchman’s Bay, near Sunrise Avenue, in Pickering. Laboratory test results were received from the MECP on Oct. 11. A water quality advisory sign will be posted in the area to ensure that the public is aware of the presence of blue-green algae in the water.

“Blue-green algae are microscopic, plantlike organisms that occur naturally in ponds, rivers, lakes and streams, and although often blue-green in colour, the algae can also be olive-green or red,” said Laura Freeland, manager of health protection with the health department. “Residents are advised to be cautious around blue-green algae, as some can produce toxins which may be harmful to humans who drink, fish or bathe in the water.”

People can protect themselves, their children and their pets from blue-green algal blooms by not swimming or playing in areas where water is discoloured or where foam, scum or mats of algae on the water’s surface are present.

For more information, visit, or call the Environmental Help Line at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613

Ajax casino will remain open

Oct 09, 2018 Ajax News Advertiser

Ajax Downs

Justin Picov from Picov Downs, Rod Phillips, Ajax MPP, Ajax Mayor Steve Parish and Bob Broadstock, president of the Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario were in Ajax Tuesday morning for an announcement about Ajax Downs remaining open. – Ron Pietroniro/ Metroland

Ajax Downs will be staying open, it was announced this morning.

The Ajax casino, which was slated to close after a new casino was approved in Pickering as part of Durham Live, will be allowed to retain 500 slot machines with a review to happen in 2026.

The casino currently has 800 slot machines.

Stay with for more on this story.

New signs connect cyclists with Great Lakes Waterfront Trail and GO stations in Ajax and Whitby

Cyclists can now easily find their way between the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail and the Ajax and Whitby GO stations. Executive Director of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust Marlaine Koehler says they’ve connected two of Ontario’s finest pieces of infrastructure.
“We’ve identified eleven stations and identified a route map and signed it so that cyclists getting off the GO train or arriving at a GO station will know right from the track, all the way to the trail, the safest route to take,” said Koehler. “On the track side, when you come on out [of the GO train], you see the signs, it gets you down to the exit that will lead you to the best road that gets you to the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. On the trail side, there’s signage that tells you when you need to leave the trail in order to take this path or that signed road back up to the GO station.”
Koehler is hopeful the signs will inspire commuters to take their bikes to the GO station.
Story from Durham Radio News