Partner City

Aurora

Guided by the Dawn


Since it was founded in the 1800s astride the famous Yonge Street, Aurora grew from a quiet farming community into a thriving town. Its growth was supported by industries such as the J. Fleury's Son manufacturers, and was where future Canadian prime minister, Lester Pearson, grew up. Today many fascinating and important heritage buildings from the mid to late 19th Century have survived, giving the town a unique and distinct character.

Historic Walking Tours


Then and Now Photos

Streetcar on Yonge Streetcar on Yonge

Aurora Museum 994.14.15 & On This Spot Enterprises

Streetcar on Yonge - c. 1910

This scene looking south on Yonge at Wellington was taken around 1910, after John Francis Willis purchased Dr. Rutherford's Drug Store.

Aurora from Afar Aurora from Afar

Aurora Museum 2002.19.2a-t & On This Spot Enterprises

Aurora from Afar - 1888

Yonge Street looking north toward Aurora from Hutchinson's Hill.

A Class Photo A Class Photo

Aurora Museum 77.5.2 & On This Spot Enterprises

A Class Photo - 1889

Aurora Public School students and teachers posing on the front steps.

Aurora's Skyscraper Aurora's Skyscraper

Aurora Museum & On This Spot Enterprises

Aurora's Skyscraper - c. 1890

A group of men and young boys gather outside of Aurora's "skyscraper" Medical Hall circa 1890. When the drugstore finally opened in 1886 it had transitioned ownership to Dr. John Rutherford and was managed by Charles A. Willis. Impressively, the drugstore business remained in association with the Willis family for over eighty years. In 1910 Charles' son John F. took over the drugstore, and Charles' grandson, also named John F., operated a pharmacy there until 1969. The oriel window on the second floor and the unique brick cornice are just two of the building's distinguishing architectural features.

Boys on Tyler Street Boys on Tyler Street

Bob McRoberts & On This Spot Enterprises

Boys on Tyler Street - c. 1900s

Boys on Tyler Street. Notice the homes remains the same.

The Powerhouse The Powerhouse

Bob McRoberts & On This Spot Enterprises

The Powerhouse - c. 1915

This steel water tower was erected in 1906 and could hold 50,000 gallons of water, which was sourced from two artesian wells. It was replaced in 1931 with a standpipe style water tower.

The Dead House The Dead House

Bob McRoberts & On This Spot Enterprises

The Dead House - c. 1910s

Entrance to the Aurora Cemetery, which was established in 1869. The building is known as the Dead House and was constructed in 1868.

Tailor Shop Tailor Shop

Aurora Museum 2002.19.596 & On This Spot Enterprises

Tailor Shop - c. 1890s

House and Tailor's shop at 38 Wellington Street.

House on Victoria Street House on Victoria Street

Aurora Museum 2011.2.1 & On This Spot Enterprises

House on Victoria Street - c. 1905

A family poses in front of their home on Victoria Street.

Building the Cenotaph Building the Cenotaph

Aurora Museum 83.1.1 & On This Spot Enterprises

Building the Cenotaph - 1920s

Construction ongoing at Aurora's cenotaph, commemorating those who died in the First World War.

J. Fleury's Sons J. Fleury's Sons

Aurora Museum 994.3.2 & On This Spot Enterprises

J. Fleury's Sons - 1910

Group of workers outside of J. Fleury's Sons.


These photos and tours are possible through the generous support of our partners.

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