About Us

The Sykes & Ainley Company was founded by UK-born John Sykes (1833-1909) and his son-in-law Norman Ainley (1858-1938). In 1889, the two took over the woollen mills in Glen Williams, Ontario, Canada. The mills had been built by the village’s namesake Williams family, loyalists who fled America’s Revolutionary War. The Sykes & Ainley mill employed about fifty people at that time, most of whom lived and worked in the village. Early on they developed a reputation for quality goods.

The success of that period lives on in the beautiful homes that Sykes and Ainley built during their heyday. The company was a major player in the community and invested in both the business and the wider village, even building homes for its workers to help them resist the lure of moving to larger centres. The mill remained in operation under several different owners until being the destroyed by fire in 1954. Employees are pictured above in front of the mill about 1910 (Esquesing Historical Society #21781)

In 2020, Glen Williams native Matthew J. Rowe, who grew up in one of the original Sykes & Ainley worker homes on Tweedle Street, revived the Sykes & Ainley brand to sell the finest woollens from across Canada and around the world. Mr. Rowe’s vision, inspired by HRH The Prince of Wales’s Campaign for Wool, is rooted in providing customers with the finest natural fibres with an eye to also delivering social impact.

To that end, a portion of the profits from every item sold by Sykes & Ainley is donated annually to The Canadian Wool Council, a Canadian non-profit organization devoted to supporting Canadian wool growers and educating Canadians on the wonders of natural fibres.