Partner City


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.

This project is a partnership with the Aurora Museum & Archives and the Town of Aurora.

We respectfully acknowledge that Aurora is on the traditional territories of the Anishinabewaki, Huron-Wendat, and Haudenosaunee peoples.

Walking Tours



Then and Now Photos

Streetcar on Yonge

Streetcar on Yonge Streetcar on Yonge

Aurora Museum 994.14.15

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 from Afar

Aurora Museum 2002.19.2a-t


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

A Class Photo

A Class Photo A Class Photo

Aurora Museum 77.5.2


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

Aurora's Skyscraper

Aurora's Skyscraper Aurora's Skyscraper

Aurora Museum

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 Boys on Tyler Street

Bob McRoberts

c. 1900s

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

The Powerhouse

The Powerhouse The Powerhouse

Bob McRoberts

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 The Dead House

Bob McRoberts

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 Tailor Shop

Aurora Museum 2002.19.596

c. 1890s

House and Tailor's shop at 38 Wellington Street.

House on Victoria Street

House on Victoria Street House on Victoria Street

Aurora Museum 2011.2.1

c. 1905

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

J. Fleury's Sons

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

Aurora Museum 994.3.2


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