Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Is Aurora Friendlier than other Communities?

Posted by auroracitizen on March 30, 2011

We recently received the following note from a reader.

I have lived in many places with my family, from Scarborough, Unionville, Guelph, and Richmond Hill and never have I experienced more unfriendliness than I have as in Aurora. People rarely smile, say hello and try very much to keep to themselves. I joined several community activities and experience the same feeling.

Does anyone have an opinion why this is so?

Aurora has always prided itself on its community spirit — but have we started to change with the growth?

How do new arrivals feel? Do they still feel the sense of community many longer term resident felt when we arrived?

Is it difficult to get involved in programs due to overcrowding? What about adult programs?

We’d be interested in hearing from both newer and older arrivals. How did you get involved? What tips do you have for new arrivals?

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47 Responses to “Is Aurora Friendlier than other Communities?”

  1. Barney said

    Hate to post again, but I just have to add another bad experience I had a few years ago as a “new immigrant” to Aurora.

    My younger daughter was enrolled in the local soccer league here in town. I, unlike most fathers and mothers (including my wife) actually spent time watching the kid play and practice soccer…while most parents dumped their kids off or spent all their time on a cell phone.

    I have that “filthy” habit of smoking a cigarallo once in a while, so I’d sit about 20 yards away from the rest of the 4 or 5 people who made the ultimate sacrifice of spending one hour of their lives watching their daughter play soccer.

    One evening, I get “Would you mind butting your cigar?”. I said sure, as long as you get your dog to stop drooling and pissing on the girl’s water bottles.”

    One of the mothers ( God bless her) was kind enough to host a BBQ for the team at the end of the season. My wife wanted no part of it. I took my daughter, but I felt like I had leprosy or something…sat on their deck hoping this punishment would end soon.

    Fortunately, my daughter inhaled her burger and said “Dad, let’s get the hell out of here”.

    • Sadly but true said

      I live here but find Aurora a very exclusionary Town.

      Heck ….I have even heard the N word three times in the last year.

      There are too many red-necks in this Town.

    • Anonymous said

      I’ve lived here for almost twenty years now.

      Last week a guy asked me what the people here were like, he was thinking of moving to Aurora. I asked him what his neighbors were like now.

      Not very nice he said, hardly know any of them. Sorry I said, you probably will find the same thing here.

      The very next day another guy stopped me with the same request, and again I asked him what were the people like that he was leaving behind.

      If I didn’t get a job transfer, I would never leave, they are the best, kindest people I know.

      No worries I said, you will find plenty of friends here that will treat you the same way, welcome to town.

    • Ziebart said

      Uh huh. And this would be one of those ignorant clichés . . .

      Look again at the folks who are posting here. They HAVE LIVED IN OTHER PLACES. Normal places. It’s not like they are pessimistic misanthropes who repel others wherever they go. It’s only HERE. Geez.

    • An example... said

      Maybe I read to much into stuff, but I see the post about the Aurora Lawn Bowling Club here and this statement sort of says everything…..

      “We have a beautiful clubhouse that is private to members only”

      This is the essence of Aurora to many.

  2. lol, smile everyone, life in Aurora isn’t that bad at all!
    on the end its all about personal choice, if you choose to be happy you will be happy, if you choose to be not happy, you will always find things to be not happy about.

    Anna :)

    • fresh start said

      total b.s. i am a happy person. once away from Aurora my happiness has increased tenfold, my health improved. it is a caustic environment. no genuine community spirit exists. i searched for it, came up empty, moved on.

    • Fresh Start you said: ‘once away from Aurora my happiness has increased tenfold’. Looks like you were happy in Aurora then :), now you are 10x happier somewhere else. Like I said, its all about personal choices we make, you decided to move on. Glad you found happiness somewhere else. Cheers.

      Anna :)

    • Evelyn Buck said

      Time for a new topic.

      What about the federal election

      Let’s mix it up.

  3. Stephanie said

    When I see those who are not happy here being blamed as being part of the problem rather than victims, what I see are uninformed, judgmental people who simply don’t get it.

    I moved here from a warm, friendly town out west, and assumed it would be the same in Aurora. Matter of fact, I specifically chose Aurora because people had told me it was a “nice small town”. What a shock to learn that I was being judged by how large my home was or what I drove. What a harsh reality to have my offer of volunteering snubbed, because I wasn’t part of the right social group.

    And then to come here and see ignorant clichés like “If you want to find a friend, be a friend” and “maybe it’s your bad attitude that puts people off” only reinforces the smug attitude of Aurora.

    This is not the first time the topic has come up. See this: http://auroracitizen.ca/2009/08/30/community-corner-sense-of-community-missing-in-aurora/

    • Anne said

      How specifically were you judged by how large your home was or what you drove? Please cite an example, because this shocks me. How was this done? I live in a small-ish house I suppose by some standards- but certainly bigger than our 13′ wide house in East Toronto- and I drive an “invisible” mini-van. I have never felt snubbed by this. Sounds like you may be a bit insecure about it.

    • Evelyn Buck said

      I don’t think Aurora is better than other places.I don’t think we are worse.
      Much of the time we are moving about in our cars.
      Most families have two parents working to pay the mortgage.It doesn’t leave much time for socialising.
      Many have newly come from other places and still have their connections elsewhere.
      Our politics in the last term were shameful but the electorate changed that.Many new friendships were formed during the elections.
      Neighbourhood Network has become a core for socializing with well-meaning and like-minded people. A warm welcome awaits anyone who wants to participate.
      The town’s leisure services department has many programs that bring people together. Don’t be afraid to ask.Churches also have gatherings that bring people together.
      Yes, we do have those individuals who need to believe they are better than anyone else. But doesn’t every community.
      Don’t let your days go by in unhappiness. It’s such a waste. They will not come again.

    • An Auroran said

      Stephanie:

      You have been one of the pillars of the community on the subject of the former mayor and her entourage.

      The reality of Aurora, after our almost 20 years here, is that for most people the town is where they shop. This is something we do on a daily basis without too much thought. Until the past few years our in-town shopping was by necessity on Yonge Street – old Aurora. Now there is a new world on Bayview, both for shopping and for living. Does this mean that east is east and west is west and the twain shall never meet? The same has happened as new schools have opened, likewise new recreation facilities.

      About the only thing unchanged is the number and location of churches. But these don’t attract vast numbers, not the way they used to.

      We live in a mobile world; many don’t work in the town where they live. Even the dogs seem strange.

      Small towns built around a small and centred base are usually more people oriented, more friendly.

      It’s possible that we have simply outgrown what we used to be, and unfortunately it will never return.

      What bothers me about many of the posts on this topic is the apparent bitterness, on both sides.

    • sharon said

      The cliche is not ignorant by any means. Every community has its up and downs. I have lived all over North America, our family is from the west,and am by no means wealthy. Aurora is no different than other towns, yes maybe more affluent people. But a smile goes along way in getting a smile back, and community starts with me. If I want a better Aurora, it’s up to me to help out. So I do.

    • Evelyn Buck said

      Stephanie,
      I am informed. I am opinionated not judgmental. I see people enduring the unendurable, with every reason to complain,who don’t.
      I see bad stuff happening to people they have no control over and if they are crushed down by it, nobody could blame them.
      But when I see someone who thinks they are being judged by the size of their car or house, by people who don’t have an ounce of sense in their head, then I do think they need to get a sense of perspective.
      And nobody, but nobody, can help them with that but themselves. It’s called being self-sufficient.

  4. Anonymous said

    I didn’t think that friendly towns elected officials who feel it is fitting to sue residents. All I have seen since arriving in this town is resentment, entitlement, vindictiveness, cruelty, disrespect, vengeance… need I go on … from those who purport to represent to the town and those who live in it.
    Not exactly what I would call the role model for a “friendly town.”
    I sure as hell haven’t seen the likes of what has gone on anywhere else I have lived.

  5. JOHN H SARGENT said

    I agree with all the positive comments on this post and very few of negative ones re-is Aurora friendly ..Have lived in Aurora 22 years and not think you could find a friendly crowd of people whether you walking down the street, in a coffee shop ,grocery store,park ETC and i not your ordinary looking 60+ man re the long hair and old truck and known to speak my mind, yet treated well whether it be a politician i have criticized or a complete stranger who smiles back and communicates..This town is outstanding in that department even with all its growth..Yes i would say some churches or groups are set in their way as to strangers wanting to come on board and bad driving habits are getting up there,things that we have to adjust to or find alternatives–found the Corner Stone Church on Industrial that welcomes every one with open arms ,regardless of your faith or wealth.. Division by faith,culture,wealth or others own admittance of dislike for you, can be a issue within ones self if you let it.So yes you sometimes may reap less than you sow,be the bigger person and smile,you deserve to :}

  6. Latheress said

    Walt, I don’t blame you a bit for feeling embittered. I look forward to the day when I can see snooty, backwoods “small town” Aurora in my rear-view mirror for the last time.

    • Evelyn Buck said

      People who spend their days thinking about how much they hate the place they live and looking forward to the day when they leave,are obviously unhappy and not likely to attract cheerful, friendly advances.

      Nobody can lift you out of that trough but yourself.

      You don’t have a day to waste.

    • Kelli said

      I am sensing some “issues” based on your comments …. Aurora has some wonderful “healthy living” programs offered for free that you may want to take advantage of while you are still here.

    • Anonymous said

      “People who spend their days thinking about how much they hate the place they live and looking forward to the day when they leave,are obviously unhappy and not likely to attract cheerful, friendly advances.

      Nobody can lift you out of that trough but yourself.

      You don’t have a day to waste.”

      Given how you hardly have a nice thing to say about anyone, I’d say you should take your own advice.

    • walt said

      I love how everybody apparently can psycho-analyze me from a distance. Quite a gift you have, wish I had the same.

      Anyway – I was involved in the community. I joined a church. Belonged to other groups. Volunteered. Did everything recommended by all here. Still didn’t like it, so I up and left.

      Deal with it people.

      I didn’t say no to you personally, people, I said no thanks to the town. I’m sure you’re all nice people and bathe on a regular basis.

      As to my continued interest: morbid curiosity gets the best of everyone, I suppose.

      I volunteered how I really felt about the town, as the moderator suggested, and spoke to my experience, and all of a sudden there’s a chorus of people taking umbrage?

      Yeesh.

  7. Kelli said

    Does anyone else think it is absolutley absurd that these people who are bashing Aurora and no longer live here still find the Aurora Citizen blog a worthy source to follow and blog on …. if you don’t like the town, and have been so insulted by it’s citizens then contirbute to your own towns blog – my guess is that if you experienced such hostility, then you more than likely put it out there yourself (certainly based on the comments written here I woud assume that is true ….) I am born and raised here for 38 years, love every day I spend here, I am not part of the wealthy crowd …. would consider myself an average wage earner, have a dog that does poop on the green green grass of home (respect the bylaw to scoop) …. I do not drive a fancy car …. but still manage to make new friends of all classes, and will always be proud to call Aurora my home …. just a hint to those of you that are so miserable here …. they have these people called real estate agents…. call one!!!!!

    • Latheress said

      “I am born and raised here for 38 years. . . they have these people called real estate agents…. call one!!!!!”

      Um, yeah, that’s some good ol’ fashioned Aurora friendliness there! (Not)

    • Anonymous said

      I think calling a real estate agent would be a good idea rather than sticking around to pay the $68K bill that we have all been stuck with. I say let the snooty, arrogant, affluent “in crowd” suckers pay it. Morris was in with them all wasn’t she?

  8. Anonymous said

    It’s gratifying to read these responses because for 5 years I have felt I was the only one who feels this way about this town.
    I have lived in many different communities in Canada, including the west coast which can be a hard nut to crack if you move there from Toronto. However, I made long-lasting friendships there which endure to this day despite the distance between us now.
    I have also lived abroad in a number of communities both urban and rural.
    I work full time in the city but even if I didn’t I would have no interest in “lunching ladies.”
    I live in one of the new parts of town and the older, established areas may as well be foreign countries. After 5 years of feeling like an intruder, I really appreciate the fact that we have all the retail facilities we could possibly want in the north east because then we don’t have to “intrude” upon the snooty part of town.
    Yes, there are friendly and unfriendly people in any community but there is definitely a tone of superiority and arrogance in Aurora that I have not experienced anywhere else. I am not sure why. It is a tone that excludes rather than welcomes.

  9. Anne said

    Wow I can’t believe the tone of these responses. And I also don’t believe you can generalize the relative friendliness of an entire community or population. I have lived in and travelled to many different places in Canada and have experienced friendliness in big cities and unfriendliness in small towns. I am happily oblivious to any “in-crowd” (guess I’m not in it) or “phoney rich” in Aurora but then again I am not insecure about my position in life. What I do believe is that you reap what you sow, and if you project a miserable vibe, that will be what you get in return, and you may not find friendliness anywhere.

    • Matt Maddocks said

      Really well said Anne. My wife and I have lived here in Aurora for 15 years, and have met many wonderful neighbours and friends. We have taken advantage of the many great events and services here in town. We don’t own a horse or an SUV, and live in a small house, so the snobbery element that some have referred to, if it exists at all, has escaped us. I suppose there will always be those that have experienced some sort of negative situation, and perhaps their outlook has been tainted as a result. But to your point, the old expression “it takes two to tango” might well apply in some of these cases, and comments.

    • sharon said

      Well said Anne!
      Reap what you sow.
      If you want a friend, be a friend.
      It’s incredible how wonderful people are here, yes there is the odd crank or nutbar, but if you walk in their shoes, sometimes they have good reason not to smile.
      From service people to politicians, I rarely come across someone I don’t care for.
      If you don’t like what you see, take a good look in the mirror first.

    • Ruth said

      I wholeheartedly agree with these statements. You have to give before you get. I have wonderful friends and neighbours. Aurora is a great place to live.

  10. fresh start said

    I moved away from Aurora for many reasons. The biggest reason was because I was tired of people in general looking down their noses at me. Aurora is a town without community caring or warmth. The people running for office at any given time will tell you different. The older generation may remember a time when it was a real community. It was so refreshing for me to move to a community where people who walk past you on the street smile and/or speak all of the time. The level of volunteerism and community involvement continues to impress me as it seems genuine and heartfelt in my new home town. If I won or was given a house in Aurora I would not move back. I value the important things in life and being treated like a part of a community is high on my list. Courtesy, respect for others, social well being – more important than who has the most impressive SUV.

  11. Interested Citizen said

    I have lived in Aurora for 39 years. I like to think that when new people move into my area I welcome them and that they appreciate it. Not all the people are friendly and want to get to know their neighbours. I feel that this says something about the times we live in. They are so busy going to work trying to pay for the over priced houses they have bought that they don’t have time for socialization.
    I’m sure you get the same sort of thing no matter what city or town you decide to live in. When the kids are young you get to know everyone but as they grow you don’t seem to know anyone. You have to get out and find your own life. There are plenty of things to do so you can meet new people but don’t expect them to come to you. Volunteer some where, take advantage of town leisure services programs. Please don’t blame all the people in town of not being friendly. I am sure there are some but the door swings both ways.

  12. Lived here since 1995 (coming up on 16 years). Friendlier than other communities? I guess, moved from Concord – if you were not in the ethnic majority there, it was not very friendly.

    For those that complain about the “phoney-rich”. Just be lucky it is not King that you live in. They are more than “phoney-rich” but that “horsey crowd” is whacked.

    FUIMUS

  13. Another Anonymous said

    We’ve lived in Aurora for 14 years and initially it felt friendly as we had moved into a new subdivision and everyone was new, but as soon as the fences started going up between homes, it lost that friendly feel to it. People kept to themselves. Now we’re one of a handful of originals left and the newer neighbours have not tried to play nice with others. They keep to themselves (some because they don’t speak much English) and have an “I pay my taxes so I can do whatever I want” attitude. So sad.

    When I used to pick my daughter up from school when she was much younger, it was definitely hard to get to know any of the other mothers because they had their little social groups that went to the gym during the day and hung out drinking coffee while the kids were in school…..Actually now that I think about it, unless you actually work in Aurora or you’re a stay-at-home mom/dad, it’s hard to make friends with anyone in this town because working in the “City” is frowned upon….at least that’s the way I interpret it.

    My husband mentioned to me one day not long ago that he doesn’t want to retire in Aurora for the very reason that it is unfriendly and it lost it’s small town charm a long time ago!

    • Latheress said

      I totally agree. When I hear people talk about Aurora’s “small town charm” I just shake my head. Anyone who’s lived elsewhere knows better.

  14. Barney said

    Been here 8 years…moved from North Etobicoke after living there for 21 years.

    Aurora…what can I say?

    My two oldest kids (who were teens when we moved up here) went to university and never came to live back home…hated the town. I have a third ready and waiting to leave.

    The town is obsessed with lawn crapping dogs and their moronic owners walking them on 30 foot leashes, with no consideration for the landowners and properties their pets foul.

    Drivers? The worst I’ve seen. They even beat the wack-jobs in Woodbridge.

    My favourites are the “phoney-rich” here in town. You see them park their high-end vehicles at No Frills and buy the No-name products and damaged fruit and veggies…yapping away on their Crackberries asking their significant others at the other end of the line if there’s enough bread at home to make it to the end of the week.

    Friendly people? My front door was egged 6 weeks ago by a bunch of spoiled brats who’s useless parent(s) see fit to give their teenage loser son and his friends their SUV for a night out.

    What do I like about Aurora? Same as Walt above. I’ll make a very good buck on my home and cash out.

    I have a couple of good neighbours, but the rest around me are inconsiderate jerks.

    Hey, I almost pay $5000 in property taxes…what did I expect?

  15. Kron Prinz Ferdinand said

    I blow hot and cold on this issue. My family moved here in the late 90’s and have had an up-and-down relationship wherever we lived. What can I say…some Aurorans are nice, some aren’t, and I’m sure they feel the same about me.

    Being non-Caucasian, I will admit that the class stratification is pretty palpable to see, but I also note that this stratification does not fall along race lines, but clearly on economic lines.

    What is embarrassing is the antics of town council over the past few years. Here I thought that small-town councils were stuck in bickering and backwards short-sightedness, but Aurora proved me wrong.

    I know my kids think of Aurora as home, but I still think of where I used to live as home, and Aurora as a place to sleep after spending the day working in Toronto. Overall, if I didn’t like it here, I’d be gone. I’ve lived in far worse places in this province.

    I understand where Walt is coming from, and I avoid churches and stopped being Christian long ago as a result. I find that organized religion is too hypocritical and leads to the type of situations that Walt describes, but I guess that would be another argument.

    • Kron Prinz Ferdinand said

      although this may cause some regional diviseness, I would like to add that at least we aren’t Newmarket. They may have a better time with council, but we have way fewer grow-ops, and the kind of lawlessness grow-ops attract.

      I do realize that that is always subject to change, though.

  16. Anonymous said

    If the average citizen is anything like the average poster here, then yes, I would say Aurora’s unfriendly, intolerant, divisive, scornful, hyprocritical, petty….well, you get the point.

  17. walt said

    Why do you think I left?

    Part of Aurora’s problem, I think is it’s affluence, social stratification, and clear divisions between the In-crowd and everyone else in town.

    Rarely have I felt so isolated as attending a church in Aurora. I longed for my old down-at-the-heels church back in Scarborough, where at least I felt like a part of the community, instead of a just-passing-through guest. I won’t mention the denomination, but it’s one of the mainline liberal protestant ones.

    Trying to build bridges with people in that church was impossible – my wife would go to the mother’s group, which met alternately in various homes from week to week, and found herself instead inside a cult of conspicuous consumption which she wanted no part of.

    Our neighbours, on the other hand, seemed nice at first, but little by little we were slowly ostracized as our social values clashed with those of the majority on the street, to the point that my wife was often reduced to tears by the shabby treatment and rumour-mongering among that set.

    I gave up. We moved. Life’s better now. My interest in Aurora is now purely academic – much as one would study a diseased ant colony in science class.

    Lest you think Aurora’s all bad – the property values are good, so I was able to sell the pile we were in for a ridiculous amount of money and was able to afford a much nicer place where I live now.

    Before any of you chime in on this – yes, I’m embittered. It didn’t go well. We spent 10 years trying to integrate into the community, until we felt that there was no damned point in moving on.

    But yeah, keep talking about what a wonderful town you have. I’m laughing at you.

    • Matt Maddocks said

      Glad you’re laughing now Walt. Hope you’ve found peace wherever you landed. If you ever stop through Aurora again, I’ll buy you a coffee. Cheers.

    • Sprite said

      With this new Council we “seem” to be moving away from the Entitled Demanding Entitlements based on name, address and make of car.

      It can be done, but it will take time and effort and our support.

      Those who are complaining do have a legitimate case. I have lost all of my original neighbours. Even dogs appear to have nannies.

    • Sprite,

      I don’t know how you can connect the dots of our council to the friendliness (or lack of) in the community. I would guess that the vast majority of Aurora residents don’t give a tinker’s cuss about council and change their personality based on it. Most don’t even think about council. Let’s leave politics out of this discussion.

      Fuimus

    • Tim the Enchanter said

      Interesting points and in a way they’re all correct – I guess it depends on your point of view.
      I think that’s to be expected from a town that has evolved from a country village into a higher-than-average income suburban bedroom community.
      It stands to reason that some will experience the lack of neighbourhood feeling when so many just sleep here.
      Some folks cling to the ‘Aurora as Walnut Grove’ vision while to others Aurora means ‘handy GO station’.
      Can you find warmth and friendship in Aurora? Absolutely.
      Can you detect an ‘Aurora’s better than the rest’ smugness. Oh yeah.

      Residential taxes are sky-high and always will be as we have no significant commercial/industrial tax base, so retiring in Aurora will be a challenge for many and “cashing out” on the high real estate prices makes a lot of sense.
      That and continued growth means we’ll always have newcomers.
      How can we help make Aurora a more inviting place?
      Good question.
      Personally, we are not ‘joiners’ so have never had to worry about getting the cold shoulder from any local ‘club’.
      We find Aurora to be reasonably clean and civilized.
      Goods and services not locally available aren’t far away.

      I agree with Robert the Bruce; this shouldn’t necessarily be a political issue but a town’s character can often be defined by its leadership.
      Why encourage the sense that certain groups and individuals have ‘friends’ on council?

      I applaud the move to limit Open Forum and delegations.
      I would also like to see awards ceremonies and public announcements eliminated at council meetings.
      Want to honour Aurorans? Fine. Have an annual awards night.
      Want to advertise a community event? Fine. Use the Auroran or the town website.
      Council meetings are for town business and meant to be impartial and should never be used for promos or cheerleading.

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