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Shenanigans in the Park

While many community gatherings in Town Park were methodically planned, the Park was also home to more spontaneous and sometimes mischievous happenings. The Band Shell was the central place for people to meet and plan a rainbow of activities, some not so innocent.

John Anderson, who grew up in Aurora in the 1950s and 1960s, described the scene as,

A great meeting place if nothing else and a convenient central place for teenagers to hang out, shoot the breeze and plan a bicycle run.

A photograph of a wooden and brick wall with graffiti written across in black ink

Graffiti on Band Shell, March 2004

The Band Shell was often the target for local vandals who frequently shared their words of wisdom with the community. Other forms of vandalism were not so easily remedied as was the case with the newly erected flagpole in Town Park.


A black and white image of two young boys standing in a park. They are on the right hand side of the image and are staring up at the top of a very tall flagpole that has been bent down toward the ground and is resting a few metres above the their heads. The base of the flagpole is located on the left side, the pole bends then extends over to the right side of the image. A large two store building can be seen in the background. There is a caption of black text located directly below the image.

Aurora Banner, November 7, 1963

The strength of the pole was put to the test on Halloween evening in 1963 as John Anderson remembers:

An overly exuberant vandal (a spoiled rich kid who shall remain anonymous) decided to show off the power of his little sports car. He raised a rope to the top of the flag pole in front of the stage and bent it totally down to almost touching the ground.

The Band Shell was also the meeting place for other somewhat illicit activities. Up until the early 1960s Aurora was a “dry town” which made the sale of alcohol illegal; enter a local bootlegger who sought to capitalize on the town’s appetite for booze. The Band Shell was the meeting place where locals could purchase and collect their libations.

Audio clip with transcript: “The Band Shell Bootlegger”