Sunday, August 12, 2007

Doors Open Aurora

Yesterday, my roomate and I headed off to "Door Open Aurora" to check out the behind the seens sights, sounds and history of many of Aurora's buildings.

First we headed over to Sheppard's Bush Conservation area where the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority had opened the old Charles Sheppard homestead and Pefferlaw Log Cabin. This was the first time I had been in Sheppard house and had high hopes. I was sadly dissappointed as the house was empty and many of the rooms were overdo for repair.

Next we headed to the Farmer's Market to join the historical walking tour lead by Dr. W. John McIntyre of the downtown Aurora area. The hour and a half walking tour was very informatative. Dr. McIntyre provided great detail along with dates about various businesses, buildings, homes and dates for each all off the top of his head. He even ensured, when stopping to discuss the buildings around the group, that the group stopped in well shaded areas. This walking tour should be repeated again in the near future as it was well attended by over forty people. One of the most remarkable places I saw was the old Methodist Parsonage where the church ministers for my church used to reside. This was former home of Rev. Edwin Pearson and his family including, Lester B. Pearson who recalled this home as being the location where he remembers his first Christmas.

The Old Methodist Parsonage on Catherine Avenue

The tour ended at Hillary House where Dr. Hillary had his medical practice for the longest time. Now it is a totally restored house that shows the history of medicine in Aurora. This is an absolutely beautiful house to visit and take pictures on the grounds especially during weddings.

Following this tour we headed to TC's Fish & Burgers for Lunch. TC's has always had generous portion sizes of hamburgers and fries. This is perhaps one of my favourite burger places because it gives good value for money.

Next we headed over to Caruso & Company to take a look at Aurora's oldest continuing business. This home decor and flower shop used to be a fruit and vegetable store until it was converted to its current operations in the early 2000s. The original wood floors and 1930s tin ceilings have been totally restored in this store. The owners of the businesses are third generation Carusos who have done a maginficent job at not only creating a home decor business but also restoring this historical Aurora landmark to what it is today.

Following Caruso's we headed north on Yonge Street to The Odd Fellows Hall. I had always wondered what the Odd Fellows did. Now I know and they even tried to recruit me as a member. I politely declined as I currently have enough on my plate between my website, working, my involvement with the church and so on. But now I know the Odd Fellows are an organization that helps out local people who are in trouble after a fire (e.g. paying for hotel rooms, raising money to rebuild, etc.), helping those with children through their camp fund, sponsoring local soccer and hockey teams and much more.

After that we headed down to Aurora United Church to view the historical display in the narthex of the church.

Aurora United Church's Narthex

Following the visit to the church, we visted at Bluetiful Living at the Grimshaw House. This is yet another home decor store in Aurora. The entire Grimshaw House, both the main floor and the upstairs bedrooms, have been redesigned with different home decor fashions. A very well redone historical house repainted into today's home decor fashions.

Next we headed up to the Barnes' Garden to see the different agricultural gardens the former teachers have developed. There must have been seven different types of tomatoes growing in the garden. A problem, one of the owners of the garden was telling me, was that the squirrels would dig up the garlic cloves and bury them somewhere else for safe keeping during the summers. But squirrels being squirrels seem to forget quite a few places where the garlic cloves were buried. So the cloves would sprout next summer across the garden from where they were dug up from the next summer. It gets quite frustrating when your picking tomatoes to find a couple of cloves of garlic right next to them and you have no idea what kind they are. But at least the gardeners took this with good humour.

After visiting all the above, we were quite tired. After visiting the church for a couple of glasses of water because we were thirsty from walking around town all day in the hot sun. It was a good day to get out and find out what goes on in town and to also learn about the local history of Aurora.

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