Highland Gate – An Historical and Cultural Perspective

As the Highland Gate redevelopment application is now complete,  residents continue to express concern and frankly disappointment at the outcome.  Many residents have asked, how we ended up where we are.  And to that point, many are curious as to whether or what alternative was considered given that  I had mentioned that I would have preferred to pursue an alternative action.

Now that the matter is closed we are permitted to speak to some of the aspects in the process,  and in keeping with that I can say now that I raised the concern about the loss of heritage that redevelopment of this property would represent.  I felt that this land should be designated as per the Heritage Act.   My reasons were that this Golf course is over 80 yrs old and was designed by the Architect Stanley Thompson.  Thompson, if you don’t know,  is a world renowned Golf Course designer. Many of his courses have been designated (under the Heritage Act) and he has also been designated a person of historical significance in Canada.  Further,  Highland Gate Golf Course was host to over 6  Canadian championships where a few of the winners are inductees in the Canadian Golf hall of fame. This course not only has all these wonderful heritage attributes but it is also tremendously culturally significant to Aurora as it was a political gathering place, it hosted many debates and was truly a landmark of this Town.  It is really unfortunate that we ended up where we are today, where such an important piece of our town’s History will be lost.

As a good friend always has told me “ You need to know where you came from to know where you are going” and now Aurora has lost a big piece of that history forever, and future generations will never know or experience it. Truly a sad day!!

This is what brought on my motion to create a cultural heritage landscape inventory so that this Town would  not lose anymore historically significant landscapes.

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6 Responses

  1. This is a great story. Not only was my dad the head golf professional and director of golf there for I believe about 36 years, but I also grew up working at the club (Aurora Highlands Golf and Country Club) learning many life skills that I continue to use every day. It’s sad that it ended up like this. I will always remember the good old days!

  2. The Aurora Snowmobile Club used the course in the winter.
    I have the giant bottle-cap from the half way house.
    I believe the original artwork was “Wink”.
    My Father did a lot of work on the watering system,and was best friends with “Whitey”Jones the Superintendant.
    I could not golf worth a damn but,I loved working there,and hanging out since I was a child.
    I am 55 now,so its awhile back.

  3. Thanks for making this information public. I loved playing that course and always thought that its presence was a contributing factor to the Town of Aurora’s unique heritage. It’s a most unfortunate loss.

  4. The Town of Aurora has lost something very special that it will never be able to replace. It is such a shame. We moved this summer from our home that backed onto the course. We could not stay and watch the beauty destroyed.

  5. Add to this story
    Joe Shaw one of the previous owners offered to sell it to the town of Aurora for $1.00 (yes one dollar). At that time the mayor and council passed – I might be corrected but I believe it was in Mayor John West’s time that this happened

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