Aurora, Ontario

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Town (lower-tier)
Town of Aurora
Aurora Town Hall
Aurora Town Hall
Official seal of Aurora
Official logo of Aurora
Motto: You're in Good Company
Aurora is located in Southern Ontario
Location of Aurora in southern Ontario
Coordinates: 44°0′N 79°28′W / 44.000°N 79.467°W / 44.000; -79.467Coordinates: 44°0′N 79°28′W / 44.000°N 79.467°W / 44.000; -79.467
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
Regional municipality York Region
Settled 1854
Incorporated 1888 (town)
 • Mayor Geoffrey Dawe
 • Councilors
 • Total 49.78 km2 (19.22 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 53,203 (Ranked 95th)
 • Density 1,068.8/km2 (2,768/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
List of L Postal Codes of Canada L4G
Area code(s) 905 and 289

Aurora (2011 population 53,203[2]) is an affluent town in York Region in the Greater Toronto Area, within the Golden Horseshoe of Southern Ontario. It is located north of the town of Richmond Hill and is partially situated on the Oak Ridges Moraine. In the Canada 2011 Census, the municipal population of Aurora was the 95th largest in Canada, compared to 97th for the 2006 Census. Many Aurora residents commute to Toronto and surrounding communities.


A map of Aurora from 1878. Scale is denoted in chains, a measure equivalent to 66 feet or 20.12 metres.

Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe gave the order for Yonge Street to be extended to Holland Landing in 1793, and the way was paved for the establishment of a community where Aurora now stands. In 1795, the first house in Aurora was built at Yonge St and Catherine Av.[3] In 1804, Richard Machell became the first merchant at the cross roads of Yonge and Wellington and the hamlet soon became known as Machell's Corners. Charles Doan was another early businessman at Machell's Corners and became the first postmaster and later the first reeve. As postmaster, he was influential in renaming the village Aurora.

With the coming of the railway in 1853, Aurora emerged as an important centre north of Toronto. The Fleury plough works was established soon after and Aurora was on its way to becoming a flourishing industrial town.

The population of Aurora in 1863 was 700, and by 1888 it had grown to become a town of 2,107 residents. With some ups and downs in growth over the years, Aurora is now a flourishing town with a strong commercial and industrial base.

The town's first school was built by John Merritt, and was named after a famous doctor from the area, G. W. Williams. The school is still open today.

Worthy of note is the fact that Aurora was the childhood home of Lester B. Pearson, Prime Minister of Canada from 1963 to 1968, when his father, Rev. Edwin Pearson, was the Methodist minister.

Aurora is noted for preserving its historical built form and in 2008 was awarded The Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership.[4] In 2009 the town received the Lieutenant Governor's Ontario Heritage Award for Community Leadership in heritage conservation and promotion.[5]

On April 8, 2010, the town re-opened the historic and fully renovated Church Street School as the Aurora Cultural Centre.

Aurora is twinned with Leksand, Sweden.[6]


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1863 700 —    
1871 1,132 +61.7%
1888 2,107 +86.1%
1901 1,590 −24.5%
1911 1,901 +19.6%
1921 2,307 +21.4%
1931 2,587 +12.1%
1941 2,726 +5.4%
1951 3,358 +23.2%
1961 8,791 +161.8%
1971 13,614 +54.9%
1981 16,267 +19.5%
1991 29,454 +81.1%
1996 34,857 +18.3%
2001 40,167 +15.2%
2006 47,629 +18.6%
2011 53,203 +11.7%
2015 est. 62,288 +17.1%
2020 est. 69,688 +11.9%
Visible minority and Aboriginal population (Canada 2006 Census)
Population group Population  % of total population
White 40,585 86.3%
Visible minority group
South Asian 975 2.1%
Chinese 1,325 2.8%
Black 880 1.9%
Filipino 410 0.9%
Latin American 325 0.7%
Arab 305 0.6%
Southeast Asian 430 0.9%
West Asian 570 1.2%
Korean 385 0.8%
Japanese 210 0.4%
Visible minority, n.i.e. 90 0.2%
Multiple visible minority 250 0.5%
Total visible minority population 6,165 13.1%
Aboriginal group
First Nations 230 0.5%
Métis 40 0.1%
Inuit 0 0%
Aboriginal, n.i.e. 0 0%
Multiple Aboriginal identity 0 0%
Total Aboriginal population 285 0.6%
Total population 47,035 100%

According to the 2011 Census, the town had a population of 53,203. The town's growth rate from 2001 to 2006 was 11.7 per cent. Based upon current population figures and total area, the town's population density is 1,068.8 residents per square kilometre. The population is forecast to reach approximately 62,288 by 2015 and 69,688 by 2020. In 2010, average household income in Aurora was $155,463, making it one of Canada's most affluent towns.[10]

English is the mother tongue of 73.7% of Aurora residents. Following are Italian (2.4%), Russian (2.3%), Persian (1.7%), Chinese, not otherwise specified (1.5%) and Spanish (1.4%).[11]


Mother Languages as reported by each person: Source: [12]

Canada 2011 Census Population  % of Total Population  % of Non-official language Population
English 38,885 73.7 N/A
Italian 1,390 2.6 10.7
Russian 1,260 2.4 9.7
Persian 960 1.8 7.4
Chinese, n.o.s. 880 1.7 6.8
Spanish 805 1.5 6.2
French 750 1.4 N/A


The Town of Aurora municipal government is composed of a mayor and eight councillors elected on an "at large" basis. The councillor with the highest votes becomes the deputy mayor and may proxy for the mayor. The mayor is a member of York Regional Council. In the municipal elections of 25 October 2010, Geoff Dawe was elected mayor. The town is part of the federal riding of Newmarket—Aurora. The riding is represented in the House of Commons of Canada by Kyle Peterson, a member of the Liberal Party of Canada, who was first elected in the 2015 federal election. Aurora is also part of the provincial riding of Newmarket—Aurora. The member of Provincial Parliament is Chris Ballard, who was elected in the Ontario general election of 2014. Ballard belongs to the Ontario Liberal Party, and lives in Aurora.

Emergency services[edit]

Local police services are provided by the York Regional Police, who serve all of the municipalities of the region. Fire protection services are provided by Central York Fire Services, a shared arrangement with the town of Newmarket.

Public health services are managed by York Region. There is no hospital within Aurora's boundaries; the nearest is Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket.

Education facilities[edit]

Aurora is served by schools from three publicly funded school boards: the York Region District School Board (the English Public Board), the York Catholic District School Board (the English Catholic Board), and Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud (the French-language Catholic Board). The Conseil scolaire Viamonde (the secular French-language board) also has Aurora in its territory.

Both publicly funded English boards maintain head offices in Aurora. The York Region District School Board is located at 60 Wellington Street West, just west of the historical downtown area, and the York Catholic District School Board is located at 320 Bloomington Road West. Both boards operate a number of elementary schools in Aurora. Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud operates only one elementary school in Aurora: École St. Jean.

The York Region District School Board operates two high schools in Aurora:

The York Catholic District School Board operates two high schools in Aurora:

Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud operates one high school in Aurora:

St. Andrew's College, a private, independent school for boys, also operates in Aurora.

Aurora residents have access to a wide range of other educational facilities including daycares and nurseries. The Aurora Public Library is a public library funded and operated by the town.

Urban planning[edit]

Location of Aurora within the Regional Municipality of York

Currently, a largely undeveloped portion of Aurora is subject to the Ontario Government's Greenbelt legislation which enforces limits on growth in designated Green Belt locations. In Aurora, this affects mostly the south-eastern areas of the town.

Growth is occurring in the north-eastern locations, particularly in the form of high-density residential homes and townhouses along Bayview Ave and north of Wellington St. E. (also known as "Aurora Rd."), and commerce along Wellington St. E. on Aurora's eastern border between Leslie St. and Hwy. 404.

Future growth will be concentrated in two greenfield areas of the Town: the 2C Lands, located on the east and west sides of Leslie Street, running north from Aurora Road to the town limit, just north of the St. John's Sideroad. As part of its current Official Plan review, Aurora Town Council will soon be considering a plan that will see employment lands, worth approximately 6,000 jobs, preserved on the east side of Leslie Street, with residential restricted to the west side of Leslie Street.

The Aurora Promenade[edit]

One other area of growth will be via intensification along the Yonge and Wellington Street corridors. As part of the Town's Official Plan review, a sub-committee of Council developed a plan in 2010, called The Aurora Promenade, that sets out new and redevelopment for the coming years.[13] More than 30 public meetings, open-houses and workshops were held to create the plan. It is anticipated that 2,930 additional residents will live along the Yonge and Wellington Street corridors, close to new major transportation systems being implemented by VIVA. The study was expected to stimulate new and redevelopment along both corridors in the coming years and to reinvigorate the downtown core.


The Aurora Public Library is located in the northeast corner of the intersection of Yonge Street and Church Street. A library was first established in Aurora in 1855, and was moved to the current location in 2001. The library is open all days of the week, but closed on Sundays between May 17 and September 11, and between December 20 and January 2.


Historic Aurora Train Station


Major roads running through Aurora include Bathurst Street at its western border, Yonge Street, Bayview Avenue, Leslie Street, and Highway 404 at its eastern border and Bloomington Road at the southern border. Wellington Street is the town's major east-west road, with the Yonge-Wellington area having the busiest traffic volume in Aurora.

Public transit[edit]

The town of Aurora's public transit is serviced by York Region Transit (YRT) and VIVA. The Aurora GO Station is on the Barrie line and is served by five trains southbound to Toronto each weekday morning and five trains northbound each afternoon, except holidays. GO Transit buses provide hourly (or better) limited-stop service to and from the Union Station Bus Terminal from early morning until late night when trains are not operating. The Aurora GO Station is also served by five YRT bus routes.


Local media include Metroland-owned The Banner (formerly the Era Banner) and The Auroran (a member of the Simcoe York Group of Newspapers) newspapers and Aurora programming provided by Rogers Cable (formerly Aurora Cable Internet).


Radio stations from Toronto are typically available, as in the nearby towns of Newmarket, south into Richmond Hill and Bradford.


Aurora has a long history of theatre, with its own community theatre group, Theatre Aurora. Founded in 1958 as the Aurora Drama Workshop, the group joined with the Aurora Musical Society in 1973 to form Theatre Aurora. The next year the group moved into its current home at the Factory Theatre on Henderson Drive. The group has performed a wide variety of shows, and currently produces five shows each year, along with two youth shows.


The auto parts giant Magna International, founded by Frank Stronach, is based in Aurora.

State Farm's Canadian head office is located in Aurora.[14]

TC Transcontinental has a printing plant for magazines in Aurora, formerly operated by Quebecor World and Quad/Graphics.


The Aurora armoury is a recognized Federal Heritage building, listed in 1991 on the Register of the Government of Canada Heritage Buildings.[15]

Aurora is also home to Hillary House National Historic Site. Hillary House is recognized by the National Historic Sites and Monuments Board as one of Canada’s best examples of Gothic Revival architecture.[16]

Notable residents (past and present)[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Aurora". Canadian Geographical Names Data Base. Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  2. ^ "Aurora, Town Ontario (Census Subdivision)". Census Profile, Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-24. 
  3. ^ Johnston, James (1972). Aurora: Its Early Beginnings. Aurora District Historical Society. p. 17. 
  4. ^ Town of Aurora
  5. ^ Ontario Heritage Trust media release
  6. ^ "Council Meeting Minutes, Tuesday, December 10, 2013" (PDF). Town of Aurora. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  7. ^ [1], 1996 Census of Canada: Electronic Area Profiles
  8. ^ [2], Community Profiles from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision
  9. ^ [3], Aboriginal Population Profile from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision
  10. ^ Demographics and Income, Town of Aurora, retrieved April 27, 2012.
  11. ^ "Aurora, Town". Census Profile for Census Subdivision Aurora (Town), Ontario. Statistics Canada. 2012-10-24. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  12. ^ [4], Focus on Geography Series, 2011 Census-Census subdivision of Aurora, T - Ontario
  13. ^ The Aurora Promenade
  14. ^
  15. ^ Register of the Government of Canada Heritage Buildings.
  16. ^ "Hillary House National Historic Site, The Koffler Museum of Medicine". Aurora Historical Society. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  17. ^ Francone, Patrick. "A Little Bit of Aurora in Manhattan". Website. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  18. ^ a b Aurora Cemetery
  19. ^ Find A Grave
  20. ^ John Cudmore (14 October 2011). "Aurora's Murphy back with OHL,Rangers". York Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "39 Catherine Ave.". Aurora Heritage Buildings. Town of Aurora. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  22. ^ Sean Pearce, "Filmmaker’s latest effort nets top honours at festival", York, 16 March 2011.

External links[edit]