Charles Symmes was born in 1798 in Woburn, Massachusetts. At the age of 20, he emigrated to Canada to work as a bookkeeper and manager for his uncle Philemon Wright. In 1829, he bought a parcel of land from his uncle and had it surveyed into building lots which were put up for sale. Thus, he became the founder of Aylmer and proceeded, with a few associates, to the broadening of its businesses: hotels, steamboats, sawmills, etc. Charles Symmes was married to Hannah Ricker and had 10 children.