Aurora 1945-1965 An Ontario Town at a Time of Great Change, Milner

Aurora 1945-1965 An Ontario Town at a Time of Great Change, Milner

Apr 18, 2012
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Aurora continues to change day by day. Continues to grow. We will never be a small town on the map and we will never be a population of four thousand of people.

Going about twelve months back, it all began with saving the Petch Log house. On my part that was great experience to explore the deteriorating log house before the restoration and to document my thoughts here.

Aurora 1945-1965 An Ontario Town at a Time of Great Change

Then search for more information about the town led me to Elizabeth Milner’s book, Aurora 1945-1965 An Ontario Town at a Time of Great Change. Being on the photo journey through the town in the past couple of years, the book is a jewel in my pocket.

So what that you were not born between those years. How can you relate? Of course you can relate. Milner’s detailed assembly of 20 years of town’s records will lead you to years before 1945 and beyond 1965. Her compelling book is actually very relative to the past and the future of the Aurora. On the end it is a book about the people of Aurora who made a difference.

Petch Log House

Last year about this time difference was made, Katherine Belrose came forward and Petch log house was saved, probably restored by now, yet future location unknown.

Nokiidaa Trail Link, St. John's sideroad, Aurora

The Anglican Sisters of St. John gave St. John’s Sideroad its name when their convent was built in 1931. In 1940s and early 1950s, the Convent was a busy place. The Sisters cared for girls with special needs such as: Downs Syndrome, autism and other problems. …

They came each Sunday to morning service at Trinity Anglican Church, bringing the young girls for whom they cared. They sat at the front, on the north side of the church, under the pulpit. The sisters sat erect, silent and still in their penguin outfits. Usually their wards were silent and still too, but occasionally there was a strange noise wiggle, or turning head that was quickly corrected.
‘, 1958, Milner, page 94.

Nokiidaa Trail link boardwalk of St. John’s sideroad is now established and well visited trail.

Wells Street Public School Sold

Wells Street Public School got sold last year. Must mention that Elizabeth Milner was a grade nine student at this school for one year from September 1951 to April 1952.

Yonge Street, What Changed Here?

Next time you pass by Yonge Street and Tyler Street intersection you will notice change, the new commercial and residential complex. On the other hand one might say – the downtown traffic increased.

The Auroran, Sold

James Murray cut a ribbon at the old Post Office on Yonge Street in September of 1960 to mark the beginning of door-to-door mail delivery in Aurora.‘, 1960, Milner, page 167.

The old Post Office on Yonge Street is also home of our local newspaper The Auroran that was started by Ron Wallace and recently sold.

Once IGA Store, Now Nothing Yet

In 1961, the town’s IGA offered steak at seventy-nine cents a pound and prime rib roasts at sixty-five cents a pound. Oranges were fifty-nine cents a dozen and a cauliflower sold for twenty-nine cents.

Usually cakes were made from scratch, but if the housewife wanted to cheat with a newfangled cake mix, they were selling at two for thirty-three cents. That’s how it was in 1961 at the IGA Foodliner.
‘, 1961, Milner, page 175.

Recent closing of the Foodland grocery store was total surprise and shock to the seniors living close by. It is very much unknown who will move in, but last week I read Banner and it was noted that the building was on the list for Youth centre. It may not happen, there were other competing locations.

George T. Browning House, Demolished

The proposed conversion of the Browning house to Montessori school didn’t go to well and it was decided to demolish the house. The Browning house was demolished couple of days before Easter.

Tree Trimming, Yonge Street from the Aurora Public Library

In the December third Banner, letters to the editor showed that Aurora people were upset about changes in Aurora. One citizen complained about the trees coming down and the land being stripped down to bare clay near one of the best streams in town.‘, 1959, Milner, page 152.

We continue to cut the trees. Some needs to be cut or trimmed, but some were not given any mercy.

Isaac Petch Farm House, Wellington Street, To Be Demolished

Highway 404, the Don Mills Parkway extension, was proceeding north and would pass three miles east of Aurora. John B. Wilkes, an engineer from the Department of Highways, spoke to the Board of Trade and assured them that Highway 404 would reduce traffic through the town by one third to one half. The first section of Highway 404 opened early in July.‘, 1961, Milner, page 170.

Highway 404 most likely will not change, but there is no future for the old and lonely Isaac Petch Farm house on Wellington Street – it will be demolished.

Aurora 1945-1965 An Ontario Town at a Time of Great Change, Milner

Elizabeth Milner in the book’s Afterward wrote: ‘I did not want to write a book about a “wonderful Aurora” of the past. This is often the kind of local history that results from reminiscences. The town was a good place to grow up. The people were good people. They helped one another, supported churches and social institutions as well as the needy in other provinces and countries; but everything was not perfect.

Disputes about having a liquor store in town, the use of open land, the building of a shopping centre, Town Council decisions and other incidences might seem trivial to the reader, but they were heated issues at the time.

Perhaps somethings just don’t change in our town – we continue with heated issues to make the difference.

About the Author

Anna Lozyk Romeo

I am living in Aurora and this is my photo journal blog. A picture says 1000 words - but not always, so I write. You don't have to travel 1000 miles to find a treasure - all I have to do is zoom through my lens and I will find it for you here in Aurora.

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