Search

  • General information
  • Community information
  • BECOME A VOLUNTEER

August 19, 2017

The 12th annual Doors Open Aurora is celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday!

Doors Open will feature historical sites and cultural exhibitions of Aurora. Most sites are located within Aurora’s historical core and display architectural, historical and/or cultural value in our community.

Admission is FREE for visitors at all sites between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Don't miss your chance to explore the hidden treasures of this historical town located on the rolling hills of the Oak Ridges Moraine.

The Town of Aurora is a scenic community located in the rolling hills of the Oak Ridges Moraine in the heart of York Region.

A mosaic of contemporary living in charming heritage surroundings, Aurora attracts those looking for the ideal combination of small-town friendliness with urban amenities.

Come and join us for Doors Open Aurora 2017!

Contact planning@aurora.ca to become a volunteer for Doors Open Aurora!

Parking
Site has blue and gold provincial plaque

Aurora Armoury

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
89 Mosley Street
Aurora, Ontario
Year built: 1874
Building type: Military
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Built as a drill shed for the 12th Battalion of Infantry, the Aurora Armoury is the oldest purpose-built armoury in Ontario. During Doors Open, a section of the armoury will be featuring over 25 musical artworks by heritage promoter David Heard. The Great Canadian Songbook on Vinyl will showcase Canada’s great music history in an art gallery setting.

Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Self-guided tours available
Site has blue and gold provincial plaque
Site is protected by the Ontario Heritage Trust

Aurora Cultural Centre

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
22 Church Street
Aurora, Ontario
Telephone: 905-713-1818
Year built: 1885-86
Architect: Thomas Kennedy
Style: Victorian
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Aurora Cultural Centre, formerly the Church Street School, was built in 1885-86 and remained in use as a school until 1952. The impressive Victorian design was influenced by Indian architecture, which was popular in the 1880s, as Queen Victoria had recently been proclaimed Empress of India.

Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Kid-friendly

Aurora Farmers' Market and Artisan Fair

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
Town Park (Wells and Mosley streets)
Aurora, Ontario
Landscape type: Landscape
Building type: Attraction, Food and drink
Saturday: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Aurora Farmers’ Market is the Doors Open Aurora headquarters. Drop by and pick up maps and brochures for participating sites. The market is a traditional community market with more than 30 vendors, featuring fresh local produce, seasonal fruits and vegetables, baked goods, honey, jam, arts and crafts, and handmade jewelry.

Guided tours available

Aurora Historical Society Walking Tour

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
Meet at 15372 Yonge Street (Hillary House)
Aurora, Ontario
Saturday: one tour at 2 p.m.

The Aurora Historical Society Walking Tour highlights a rich sampling of many heritage buildings and stories located within downtown Aurora. Join Leigha Cooney and explore the buildings, culture and nature that make up Aurora's historical Yonge Street. This tour will explore Yonge Street beginning at Hillary House and ending at the Aurora Public Library.

Parking
Guided tours available

Aurora Lawn Bowling Club

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
76 Maple Street (at Fleury Street, in McMahon Park)
Aurora, Ontario
Year built: 1976 (clubhouse)
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Aurora Lawn Bowling Club, on typical bowling-green grounds, welcomes you to try your hand at one of the oldest sports in the western world. Located in the Northeast Old Aurora Heritage Conservation District, this club has been quietly catering to residents for over 100 years. This site will offer free demonstrations and lessons throughout the day.

Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Kid-friendly
Self-guided tours available

Aurora Public Library

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
15145 Yonge Street
Aurora, Ontario
Telephone: 905-727-9493
Year built: 2001
Architect: Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners
Building type: Library
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Public library service in Aurora began in 1855 with the formation of the Aurora Association for the Diffusion of Helpful Knowledge, later called the Aurora Mechanics’ Institute and Library Association. From these early organizations emerged the Aurora Public Library, now a busy, architecturally modern community hub in the heart of historical Aurora.

Parking
Site is protected by the Ontario Heritage Trust
Trails

Charles Henry Sheppard House - Sheppard's Bush Conservation Area

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
93 Industrial Parkway South
Aurora, Ontario
Telephone: 905-727-0491
Year built: 1922
Architect: Alvin Sherlock Mathers
Landscape type: Conservation area
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Operated by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, the Sheppard’s Bush Conservation Area features an extensive maple sugar bush that produced sap for maple syrup until recent times. Both the log cabin and the 1920s arts-and-crafts-style house at the rear of the property will be open to the public.

Partial wheelchair access
Guided tours available

Creepy Tours

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
Meet at the Doors Open booth at the Town Park (Wells and Mosley streets)
Aurora, Ontario
Saturday: one 80-minute tour departing at 10 a.m. sharp

Ghosts, spirits and the unexplained have been walking Aurora since 1867. Come and walk with them as we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Gifted storyteller and community advocate David Heard will take you on this one-of-a-kind ghost walk that will chill you to the bone. Please wear appropriate footwear.

Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Washrooms

George Russell House - Bijoy's Restaurant

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
42 Temperance Street
Aurora, Ontario
Telephone: 905-727-7149
Year built: c. 1868
Style: Gothic revival
Building type: Food and drink
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This elegant and completely restored worker’s house was built in the simple Ontario Gothic cottage style (circa 1868) and is now a charming restaurant. It was built for George Russell, a labourer and agent who worked at the nearby Fleury Foundry. Until the 1940s, it was mainly occupied by blue-collar workers.

Parking
Washrooms
National Historic Site (Canada)
Self-guided tours available

Hillary House and Koffler Museum of Medicine

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
15372 Yonge Street
Aurora, Ontario
Telephone: 905-727-8991
Year built: 1862
Architect: Henry Harris
Style: Gothic revival
Building type: Museum
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hillary House – home of the Koffler Museum of Medicine and the Aurora Historical Society – is is treasured piece of Aurora’s history. It is recognized as one of Canada's best examples of Gothic revival architecture. The museum contains a significant collection of medical instruments, books, papers and furnishings.

Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Washrooms
Self-guided tours available

Horton Place

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
15342 Yonge Street
Aurora, Ontario
Year built: 1875
Style: Italianate
Building type: Commercial
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Horton Place was built for Dr. Alfred Robinson and his family and named after their ancestral home in Yorkshire, England. Robinson was a dental surgeon, working throughout York Region. The building was owned by the Webster-McIntyre family from 1901 to 2015. In 2016, it was restored and converted from a residence into an insurance agency.

Parking
Guided tours available

Merlin's Hollow

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
181 Centre Crescent
Aurora, Ontario
Architect: David Tomlinson
Landscape type: Garden
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This site – featuring four unique gardens, including a rock and water garden – has been featured on CBC and HGTV, and in programs on local television stations. Over 1,500 species of plants and flowers, and countless insects, live here. Horticulturalists and photographers alike will delight in the garden sculptures, flowers in full bloom and impressive array of vibrant colours.

Parking
Washrooms
Self-guided tours available

Patrick House, The

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
58 Temperance Street
Aurora, Ontario
Telephone: 416-220-2127
Year built: c. 1860
Style: Georgian
Building type: Private residence
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This charming board-and-batten Georgian cottage has had many owners over the years – including John Bowser, who supervised the construction of New York’s Empire State Building. Many of the building's original features have been carefully restored, including coffered ceilings and plank floors. Today, the house features a private art gallery, showcasing the work of local artists.

Parking
Guided tours available
Self-guided tours available

Rising Sun Masonic Lodge

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
57 Mosley Street
Aurora, Ontario
Year built: 1865
Style: Gothic revival
Building type: Place of worship
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This Gothic revival-style building was the King Circuit of the Methodist Episcopal Church until the Masons purchased it in 1885. The building features a fantastic interior, which will be prepared for Doors Open visitors as it would for a formal Masons meeting.

Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Guided tours available
Self-guided tours available

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 385

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
105 Industrial Parkway North
Aurora, Ontario
Telephone: 905-727-5642
Year built: 1974
Building type: Military
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Built in 1974, this branch of the Royal Canadian Legion provides representation and advocacy for veterans and their families in the Aurora area. It is a popular local spot for sports, food and entertainment. During Doors Open Aurora, the Legion will be providing tours of the building, which includes historical displays and honours from the Legion's military past.

Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Washrooms
Guided tours available

Theatre Aurora

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
150 Henderson Drive
Aurora, Ontario
Telephone: 905-727-3669
Year built: 1955
Building type: Theatre
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Theatre Aurora offers visitors an opportunity to experience the stage in front of and behind its curtains. You will be surprised to learn that this 154-seat theatre was originally a cement factory, built in 1955 to produce concrete blocks for the booming construction industry of post-war Aurora and area.

Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Washrooms

Victoria Hall

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
27 Mosley Street
Aurora, Ontario
Year built: 1883
Style: Gothic revival
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Victoria Hall, originally built for the local Disciples of Christ Congregation, became the Aurora Public School in 1922 and from 1945 to 1963 served as Aurora's public library. More recently, the hall has been used as a rental space. During Doors Open, Victoria Hall will feature artists from the 2017 Aurora Artist Studio Tour.