Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Community Corner: Sense of Community Missing in Aurora

Posted by auroracitizen on August 30, 2009

To the Blog editor:

I’ve lived in three different provinces, in towns and cities of several different sizes, but having resided in Aurora for seven years now, I have decided that this must be the most backwards town in the country.

I’ve never seen such a poorly organized town, run by an incestuous group of buffoons. We’ve got major traffic problems, but can only deal with them by installing ridiculous chicanes on the side streets. We’ve got a good number of green spaces and, despite a high tax base — under the guise of being “green” — we can’t bear to spend the money to keep them groomed and weed-free. Our so-called “downtown” is little more than a street-side of vacant lots, empty buildings and “for lease” signs.

The latest antics of our Mayor and town Council are only more symptoms of some deep infection that plagues this town. What passes itself as a “community newspaper” is simply more of the same sycophants, a sort of newsletter for a group that considers itself the “in” crowd. (Could we possibly see any more pictures of Belinda Stronach flipping pancakes and cutting ribbons???)

I suspect there was a time when Aurora was a true community — the small town of yesteryear — but more and more, I find Aurora to be little more than a “bedroom” town — a place where people sleep in their homes until they can work elsewhere, dine elsewhere and shop elsewhere. Even after all these years, I find no underlying sense of community here. I just bide my time until my children finish school so we can move out of Aurora and find a normal place to live again.

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26 Responses to “Community Corner: Sense of Community Missing in Aurora”

  1. Anonymous said

    If you wonder about the pettiness that is the underbelly of Aurora cited here, check out the views of the much esteemed Councilor Buck in her Blog, titled "A Vexatious Question".

  2. Evelyn Buck said

    To Lonesome
    Not only might you find space at the town hall for meeting but you might also find advice from staff about how to form your group and use the Town's Bulleting Board to make contact with people who share your interest.

    Page 2 in The Auroran provides space for groups to announce community events.That too might be helpful.

    I'm sure there are other avenues as well if you just know where to look.

    Don't write us off yet. We've all been where you are.

    Living in Aurora and working in Toronto and both parents workingto pay the mortgage puts stress on everybody's lives. All the more reason we need to have friends.

  3. Anonymous said

    To August 30th @ 9:18
    Thank you for your "don't let the door hit you…". Once again, it is nasty people like you who validate my point of view.

  4. Anonymous said

    Thank goodness some share my views. It is a cold town. When we moved here 4 years ago I thought I'd get involved.
    With all the mud slinging going on, I've decided my skin isn't thick enough.
    I'd be looking over my shoulder the whole time, plus it seems like if you're not connected, and I am not, you have to worry about which camp you'll be put into.

  5. Anonymous said

    Anonymous said…
    Don't let the door hit you on the way out of Town.

    August 30, 2009 9:18 PM

    Please explain the purpose for this comment. Seen it before. What's your point?

  6. Anonymous said

    To Anonymous September 2, 2009 4:45 PM
    "It is those who have made judgmental comments about my post that confirm for me that I have a valid point of view."

    Brilliant! Thanks for the post.

  7. Anonymous said

    To September 1 @ 9:52 and Lissa P:
    Thank you so much for understanding my experience since coming to Aurora and for not being offended or judgmental. I am so glad to know that there are people like you here. It is those who have made judgmental comments about my post that confirm for me that I have a valid point of view.
    To the others who condemn me I say, "Not only are people like you cold and unpleasant in person but you even deter people like me from wishing to participate in this blog. Why don't you just cut to the chase and dictate and select those you want to write here?
    Perhaps, taking Ms. Buck's suggestion, I could interest others like you, i.e. "like minded people", to start a group and share about our experiences with Aurora's snooty cliques. We could take a room in the town hall to meet.

  8. B. Farbwell said

    I think "Tim the Enchanter" has hit the nail on the head!

    Tim, my response to your comments is, "Exactly!!!"

  9. Lissa P. said

    I agree that Aurora is somewhat snooty and clique-ish, and feel the judgment of others. Matter of fact, I see several names here that I count as belonging to those cliques, so the advice and judgment of those people is somewhat discounted, in my book. If you’ve had your photo or name in the Auroran more than once, then you belong to the “in” group. One way to make friends in Aurora is to run for council (so your name and photo are in the paper), buy a McMansion or a heritage home (regular old-fashioned houses won’t do) and drive an SUV or mini-van; get a dog (no cats, please) or have kids who play soccer. Those are the criteria and no others will fit. I think Aurora has exactly the town council is deserves.

  10. Tim the Enchanter said

    Well said 9:52PM

    Aurora is not unique: a quaint small town overtaken by urban sprawl and lacking a strong industrial base to keep most residents locally employed. The problems arise when the wishes of the Old Towners, many of whom still refuse to admit Aurora has become a bedroom community, conflict with the necessities of Suburbanites.

    Politicians, at least the smarter ones, play to the prevailing voting block which around here tends to be the Old Towners. That's why at every election in recent memory we've heard throwaway catchphrases like "revitalizing the downtown core" from just about every candidate.

    The Yonge/Wellington area is a classic case. Traffic volumes and common sense tells us that parking on Yonge St. in that area should have been banned at least ten years ago but successive councils have always skipped out on the hard decision because the Old Towners fought against it, even though parking is available behind the downtown shops. As the traffic worsened folks naturally took to using residential street shortcuts which inevitably resulted in the Squiggly Street fiasco (to the tune of about $200K).

    What's this got to do with the merits of living in our fair town? There are many great people in Aurora but these types of issues are divisive and bound to create cliques. Politicians who waffle on decisions that may be good for the Town but may not serve their supporters indirectly create cracks in our "Sense of Community". Some folks come to believe, rightly or not, that certain individuals or groups have "friends" on council. Some "newbies" get the impression they are either "in" or "out".
    It all goes back to leadership. The next Mayor and council must serve the needs of the entire town.

  11. Anonymous said

    Now my take on Evelyn's comment was go out find a place (she gives that suggestions) and invite others like yourself to join you get to know each other. If you knew anything about Evelyn you would know that "stop feeling sorry for yourself" was not meant to offend you. I read it more as a figure of speech. You should not believe everything you read about a person. Evelyn is a good person who has only ever had the interest of this town in her heart. She has been a part of the town for many years because of that. She has raised 7 children here. Has lived most of her adult life her. This is her town and her children's home. This is not a person who goes around doing harm to people. So I to would suggest to, get out and make your own group, invite like minded people to join you and have a good time in the place you call home. As Evelyn suggested call up the town and see if there is room you could use to invite these like minded people to meet. I think Evelyn offers you an excellent idea and all you read was "feeling sorry for yourself". One could read more into your rebuttal of Evelyn's comment.

  12. Anonymous said

    “Aren't there schools in these so-called ‘normal’ places?”

    “Don't let the door hit you on the way out of Town.”

    “Stop sitting around feeling sorry for yourself.”

    Hmmm… are these the warm and friendly comments of a “great” small town?

    Of course there are school in other towns – but many people feel strongly that moving while children are a certain age is quite disruptive.

    And I didn’t see any posters here state that they were “sitting around” and “feeling sorry for themselves”. As a matter of fact, at least one poster said s/he volunteered and joined local groups.

    Obviously, there are a number of people living in Aurora that don’t feel they “belong”, don’t find a sense of community with those around them, or don’t fit into whatever demographic makes up the bulk of the population. A hostile or “offended” reaction won’t cure that, and perhaps, may well be indicative of a widespread attitude that sets a basis for these people feeling like outsiders.

    Phillip Langdon, senior editor of Progressive Architecture magazine, said, “Suburbs foster social isolation, dependence on the automobile and long commutes, contributing to family distress and civic decay.”

    Michael Richards, of the University of Minnesota’s mddaily writes that suburbs offer only a facade of community. “Suburbanites have big houses that are always empty, children in good schools they never see, and malls and stores with everything anyone could want except a personal connection to the people who use them.”

    With no “town centre” other than snarled traffic at Yonge and Wellington and a substantial population of outgoing commuters, Aurora fits the definition of “suburb”. Add in the circus carnival running the town and a bit of “blame the victim” hostility (as seen here), and it’s pretty clear that there’s a problem.

  13. Anonymous said

    "If it does not agree with your view (or others')… too bad."

    Yeah, it must be really hard making friends…

  14. Anonymous said

    In response to Evelyn Buck's post.
    I am not feeling sorry for myself but merely relating facts as they relate to our 3 year experience in Aurora. I thought you were a fan of facts. If you only like selective facts then that is your problem not mine.
    I believe that I have the right to express my opinion here just like everyone else. If it does not agree with your view (or others')… too bad.

  15. Anonymous said

    We are just biding our time until we retire out of this crazy town.

  16. Anonymous said

    A man considering moving to Aurora stopped me in the street to ask what kind of people lived here.

    I asked him what his present neighbours were like. He responded that they weren't very friendly, not nice at all.

    I'm afraid the same thing holds true here I said.

    No more than an hour later someone else stopped with the same question. How were the people he was leaving I asked?

    Wonderful, couldn't have nicer friends or neighbours if I tried was the reply.

    Well my friend, welcome to Aurora, you'll love it here, the people couldn't be nicer.

    Now whether this is a true story or not, the lesson is there for the learning.

  17. Anonymous said

    there is no sense of community in Aurora- just little cliques. Run while you can if you value neighbourly gestures, kindness and people on the street who won't look at you like you are second class.

  18. Evelyn Buck said

    Iheard the same disgruntled comments fifty years ago when I first came to Aurora. I may even have been guilty myself.

    I think it's more about feeling displaced and lonesome for absent friends than it is about not making new ones.
    All Aurorans have come from elsewhere. Even those proud residents whose roots run deep, had ancestors who came from elsewhere.

    That's our common heritage.

    Stop sitting around feeling sorry for yourself. Form a circle of Lonesome Doves. Ask the Town Hall for space to meet. Gather around a table with like- minded people and see your trouble for what it is…a will o' the wisp.

  19. Stepping forward said

    I am extremely proud to live and be part of this amazing Town called Aurora .
    Yes our" Goddess of the dawn "is not flickering so bright these days however you may talk about flaws and change or you can be the change .
    I also saw Aurora as a negative place for most of my life because I was living with a disability no one gave me tools to deal with it .
    I however stepped up to the plate with a big stick called change and that change had to be me .
    Once I began my journey into community I found amazing people who helped me in powerful ways .
    I owe my life to a Police Officer ,social worker ,Teacher and many volunteers .
    These people here in Aurora are the heart and soul ,the ones who truely care about people without agenda or reward .
    Not everyone will see it the positive way and the way of integrity yet they do march to the same tune and thats is "Its not about me ".
    Selflessness ,now there is a word to remember and carry into community .
    Aurora is going to shine bright again and it will be how we guide our youth that will achieve it .
    Right now we are giving them examples of greed ,ego ,and bullying ,when it should be good citizenship ,listening ,integrity and believing in self .
    A person who is proud of themself leads by example and does not take credit for the work of others .
    Theft of the passion of others is just that theft .
    I will continue to believe in Aurora because I can only make a difference starting with me .
    To those who have been there to keep me here in Aurora and happy I say "I am a better person meeting you and to have listened ".
    I also challenge everyone to do a random act of kindness to one person in the community each day .
    Now see what happens to the community ,one person at a time ,starting with you .

  20. Nigel Kean said

    I find the comments of Aug 31st- 11:30 AM offensive. I am also a newbie after 20 years but I have found the majority of people in Aurora friendly and helpfull. We have made many friends in Aurora and enjoy the many events that are in Aurora.
    Aurora has great restaurants, stores, meeting places and parks where you can meet new people every day. The farmers market is only one example of where to residents getting together. There are many other such events.
    Aurora is a great town with so many great things to do.
    Try joining the Legion where folks are always friendly and the events there can only give you an excuse to meet more people.
    It really is disappointing that you have had a bad experience but please do not give up on Aurora.

  21. Anonymous said

    I absolutely agree with the author of this comment.
    We have lived here for 3 years now and I find Aurora to be the coldest community I have ever lived in, within Canada and abroad.
    We live in the new part of town…. that area east of Bayview that the rest of the town, the "old and real" Aurora likes to look down on.
    I can honestly say that I have not made any real friends here, only acquaintances. There is a superior, snooty air to this town and definitely "us and them" crowds.
    We moved out to the west coast for 5 years where we did not know a soul. Now, Vancouver is renowned for being unwelcoming to those from the east, especially Toronto, but we made a ton of friends there…. deep friendships that have endured.
    I became a community volunteer here in order to make some friends and find the "community of Aurora" that people like to talk about. What a negative experience that was. The "newbie" was ostracised.
    You all complain bitterly about Aurora's new developments and look down on those who live there but you sure like our taxes. Aurora has the highest taxes that we have ever paid in 35 years of home ownership and it certainly is not because there are more or better services here.
    It is not only the council that is dysfunctional but the whole town.

  22. Nigel Kean said

    I am sorry that certain people do not think that Aurora is a great town to live. My family and I have lived here for over 20 years and loved all of it. Every village, town or city has at times, had problems, just as Aurora has today.
    I beg you not to give up on Aurora. It is a great town with many great people who care about what happens here.
    The last 3 years have been not the best as far as this mayor and council, but do not ever say that the town itself is bad. There are more good things here than bad.
    As for thinking about moving out because of the current situation is a defeatist attitute.
    Things will get better after next November.

  23. Anonymous said

    Don't let the door hit you on the way out of Town.

  24. Anonymous said

    Could anonymous 3:34 pm please explain the clothes line reference and credit for something .
    What is the Mayor taking credit for in a Clothes line ?

  25. Anonymous said

    It is most unfortunate that the writer of this particular blog feels the way she/he does. Aurora was a very comfortable, beautiful and friendly community to grow up and live in, I know I have been here for 50 years, until the recent shanigans of the GOS.

    There has never been a council in the history of Aurora who could not let the past remain the past and be extremely proud of the contributions that were made to make Aurora as good as it once was. Councillors may not always have agreed with each other but the opinion of a colleague was accepted and respected as that "their opinion". There was no one who was going to strike a colleague down because they disagreed. There were challenges along the way, as we all can well expect, that is the nature of the game of politics but they never came to an outcome such as we have witnessed lately. Until now!

    I know for a fact that the only two councillors who have any indepth and personal knowledge of the history of the Town of Aurora are Councillors Buck and McRoberts, having lived here,one for fifty years and the other his entire life. This town is near and dear to their hearts, they have participated in this diplomatic process because they believe in and understand what Aurora once was and can once again be. They have watched and participated in the transformation from rural community to a population of almost 50,000 citizens. A revelation that any councillor of past terms can truly be proud of, but the GOS of this term is despicable and will not allow anyone to take credit where credit is do even when it comes to clothes lines.

    This community is where I grew up and made life long friends and we are saddened to see the absolute ignorance and disrespect the GOS are showing other council members, staff and the citizens of Aurora.

    We need to take control of Aurora and elect a council that has Aurora's best interests at heart.

    We cannot allow this type of lack of diplomatic process to continue into the future or Aurora will be no more. That being the worst possibe thing that could happen.

    I am truly sorry that the writer feels as she/he does because Aurora was and can be again truly a lovely place to live, raise a family and work in. I am proud to be an Auroran and will be prouder in 2010.

  26. Proud to Call Aurora Home said

    "I just bide my time until my children finish school so we can move out of Aurora and find a normal place to live again."

    Aren't there schools in these so-called "normal" places?

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