In the late 1930s Arthur and Myrtle Smith began a contracting, painting and real estate business in Peterborough, Ontario. As a young man their son Ross learned the traditions of quality and customer service demonstrated by his parents. As the firm grew AON was formed, with a focus on land development and property management. AON developed and managed apartment complexes, residential housing, and commercial properties. By 1975 AON was one of the largest property management and real estate development firms in the region.
Keen and market responsive, over the decades AON designed, built, and managed adult condominiums, commercial real estate, and leisure property. While expanding its residential apartment portfolio, it diversified into the U.S. market. Anticipating demographic shifts, the Company then innovatively integrated health services with retirement living in its "Gardens of Peterborough" retirement communities. Seeking to expand its capabilities, AON also entered the highly regulated long-term care sector with a focus on rural, community-focused long-term care homes in eastern Ontario.
Today hundreds of people work directly and indirectly for the AON Group of Companies in both Canada and the United States. Members of the Smith family are company directors, with Brad Smith leading the organization as President and CEO. The tradition of quality and customer service continues.