With the Armoury officially open, now is the time for all of Aurora to celebrate this important milestone in the revitalization of our downtown core, honoring our past as we build our future.
This stunning project is one that took commitment and resolve of Council members to see this vision come to reality. Right now, we are turning the page and starting a new chapter in the history of the Town of Aurora and the Aurora Armoury.
Where we are today would not be possible without today’s Council and the Councils of the past who made the decision to purchase the building and restore it.
When the Council of 2010-2014 purchased this building, there were many discussions about what it could be used for. Everyone knew that this building was something special and that we needed to do something monumental with it.
The 2014-2018 Council was presented with an opportunity to renew and repurpose the Armoury to breathe new life into the downtown core – through transformation of the building as a post secondary institution. And what an incredible transformation it is! From the stunning original beams, to the incredible fold up doors that open up this space into the park, and the patio outside that overlooks our Town Park, I know that we have done something truly special.
I want to recognize former Mayor Geoff Dawe, former Councillor Jeff Thom and former Councillor Paul Pirri who were integral to making this dream a reality. I would be remiss if I didn’t make special mention of former Councillor Paul Pirri, as he was the one brought forward the idea of bringing an organization such as the Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College to our downtown core.
As many of you know, the Town of Aurora has sought to bring a post secondary educational institution or training facility to Aurora for a very long time. In fact, it is part of our strategic plan. Why? Because we know that universities and colleges bring not only economic benefits, but social ones as well. They foster community and bring people together.
When we approached Niagara College and began discussions about having them make Aurora the home of their first campus in the Greater Toronto Area, we knew that we could work with them. We knew that we were on the same page and would be able to create a shared vision for both the college and our Town.
As soon as Niagara College saw the Armoury, they knew this was the right place for them to begin their expansion into the Greater Toronto area.
They wanted to create a state-of-the-art facility in a place where they could not only continue their work as an internationally-celebrated culinary school, but where they could become part of the community.
They saw the potential of this building and of our downtown core in the same way that we did. Our vision for what the space could mean for our community aligned perfectly with their desire to be an integral part of the Town and be part of something bigger than just a post secondary institution.
This partnership has allowed them to do that. Critically, our relationship has allowed us to fulfill part of our strategic plan while kick-starting our efforts to make Aurora and our downtown an even more exciting and interesting destination for residents and visitors.
The Armoury is now a place where people can come together for events, for classes, for wine, for food and for a sense of community.
In restoring this building and opening it back up to our beloved Town Park, we have brought back so much of what has made the Armoury part of our history.
With this incredible transformation, the Armoury is now a bright and inviting space that extends into the vibrant and exciting activities and events that happen at Town Park.
In the months and years that follow, I look forward to seeing the Armoury at the centre of countless Town events and activities.
This open space here is ideal for community events and Town programs, as well as weddings and other special events. The classroom will be a place where people from all over the Greater Toronto Area will come to learn about the food, wine and brewing industry. And the teaching kitchen will be a place where everyone from budding caterers to parents and children can come and learn from world-class chefs.
I know I’m looking forward to coming over and enjoying some coffee and pastries in the winter when skating is taking place on the outdoor rink. Or, in the warmer months, enjoying a glass of wine on the patio with friends while listening to a concert at the bandshell.
This facility is truly something exceptional and our partnership with the Canadian Food and Wine Institute is one that I know will mean great things for the future of our Town and the future of Niagara College.
*Thanks to AIMM Media for the photos*