The Aurora Cultural Centre released the Untold Stories of the Church Street School Heritage Project at this year’s Doors Open Aurora on Saturday, Aug. 20. The Church Street School (aka Aurora Public School), opened in 1886, and welcomed generations of Aurora students through until 1952, then again sporadically through the 1960’s. The building now is home to the Aurora Cultural Centre, and houses the Town of Aurora Museum and Archives.

Lifelong Aurora resident Lauren Cullen, currently pursuing graduate work at Queen’s University, was hired by the Aurora Cultural Centre on a Canada Summer Jobs Grant to gather a comprehensive history of the building. She has spent the summer months combing through various archives, including the Town of Aurora Museum and Archives and the YRDSB heritage archives, as well as interviewing former students and those connected with the building and honing her sleuthing skills at teasing out the stories that bring the building alive. From notables who attended the school, including Canada’s Nobel Laureate and former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, and former Ontario Education Minister Dr. Bette Stephenson, illuminating class registers, interesting architectural features, and accounts from the students themselves, the compilation of stories are an important part of Aurora’s history. The results of her research culminated in a fascinating narrative of the landmark, and will be preserved for future use.

Take a self-guided tour! New this season, enjoy a series of signposts throughout the building that animate the lively history of the school. From the early schoolhouse days, architectural details, memories of students who attended throughout the years – and a few funny anecdotes (one involving cussing & soap!) – you’ll discover an important Aurora heritage landmark that continues to be a important cultural hub in Aurora and York Region.

Don’t forget to pick up the series of four historical pamphlets that chronicle the timelines, notables, architectural details, stories and more of the “Church Street School.”


Lauren Cullen: Untold Stories Heritage Project Coordinator Summer 2016


August 3, 2016