Eastern Elgin Heritage Attractions

Eastern Elgin encompasses the Municipality of Bayham, the Township of Malahide and the Town of Aylmer. Many communities in eastern Elgin County including Straffordville and Richmond are located along the original Talbot Road route. Colonel Malon Burwell surveyed this road in the first part of the 19th century and was given land for his services including what was later the fishing village of Port Burwell. Considerable amounts of timber cut from the lush forests of Bayham Township were shipped from here as barrel staves in the mid-19th century. In he 1890s a railway built along the historic Plank Road took vacationers to the lakeside at Port Burwell and brought coal to Tillsonburg to fuel the Canadian Pacific Railway. The nearby village of Vienna was once larger than Port Burwell and was founded by the great grandparents of famed inventor Thomas Alva Edison.
The neighbouring Township of Malahide is named for Malahide Castle in Dublin Ireland, the ancestral home of Colonel Thomas Talbot. Malahide’s numerous dairy farms and fertile farmland gave rise to evaporated milk and canning plants in the Aylmer area. Malahide is home to Springfield, a village that sprang up as a result of the Michigan Central Railway, and to Port Bruce a village sustained by the fishing and cottage industries. 
In 1817 John Van Patter, an emigrant from New York State, obtained 200 acres of land and became the first to settle at the site of present day Aylmer. At the time the settlement was called Troy but was renamed in 1835 for Lord Aylmer the then Governor-General of British North America. By the mid-1860s Aylmer became the marketing centre for a rich agricultural and timber producing area. Aylmer was incorporated as a village in 1872 and as a town in 1887. Over the next several decades Aylmer became the home of many food production plants. Aylmer Canners was established in 1881 and is still a well-known name in canned fruit and vegetables today. In 1946 the Imperial Tobacco processing plant opened and would stay in the town for over 60 years.