OPC - History of the College
History of the Ontario Police College
In the early 1950s, a group from the Chief Constables’ Association, later the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, developed a plan to establish a centralized police training college in Ontario. In 1959, an advisory committee on police training was appointed and the search began for an ideal location for this new facility.
An Elgin County politician, Ron McNeil, suggested the decommissioned Royal Canadian Air Force Station Aylmer as a potential site for the new Ontario Police College (OPC). During World War II, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Station Aylmer served as part of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan, housing flying instructors, trainee pilots, and ground crew from all over the world. Situated on 121.5 hectares of land, the base had facilities such as barracks, hangers, a drill hall, and a series of runways that could be repurposed for police training. The history of the property and facilities remains an important part of the OPC. A memorial to the servicemen and women of RCAF Station Aylmer, featuring a restored wind tee from the base, stands at the front entrance to the College.
The first two classes of the new Ontario Police College commenced January 7, 1963 with 64 recruits representing police services from all over Ontario. While the College began training only new recruits, it eventually expanded to running specialty courses for senior officers. As demand for training increased, the OPC outgrew the original RCAF buildings. In 1975, the College began a $28 million expansion, which included construction of living accommodations for over 500 students and instructors, a dining hall, new classrooms and auditoriums, a forensic laboratory, a library, improved physical fitness facilities, both indoor and outdoor firing ranges, and three kilometres of driver training track.
Now, the OPC is one of the largest police training facilities in North America with over 8,000 recruits, police officers, and civilian personnel attending each year.