Celebrating Community: Library Square, Aurora
“A place where young and old can come together to enjoy art, theatre, music, shopping, community events and activities.” This is the motto of the Town of Aurora’s new cultural development, Library Square. A walking distance from the Aurora Public Library, the 32,000+ square foot cultural facility will be an accolade within the arts community in Aurora and all of York Region alike. Located at the intersection of Church and Victoria Street, Library Square is a big step in Aurora’s downtown revitalization plan, bringing the neighbourhood together through both community and art.
On October 8, 2020, there was a ceremony on the future site of the picturesque Library Square, marking the beginning of the construction on the project. It was a celebration of what is to come in this little town that has remained timeless and unfazed by the quickly developing cities surrounding it. One monument that remains untouched on the grounds of the soon-to-be Library Square is the heritage home at 22 Church St., known as the Church Street School. The brick two-storey Victorian style building was constructed in 1885, designed by architect Thomas Kennedy. It has since been restored and is known to Aurora as the Aurora Cultural Centre, running as a non-profit organization that works to support arts and culture in the town, the perfect base for a project such as Library Square.
The state-of-the-art facility will have two key spaces: an outdoor space and an indoor community facility, complete with a jaw-droppingly beautiful stage hall that can fit up to 250 audience members in the raked seating, with a stage built of sprung flooring and professional lighting and audio equipment. Arguably my personal favourite part of the development, the multi-use, suave performance hall is a space that will be used to showcase the talents of artists across Aurora and York Region for years to come. The hall stands as a glimmer of hope of what is just on the brink of the arts in York Region, the possibilities that are just on the horizon for new and established artists. The indoor space will also be equipped with visual arts studios, dance studios, environmentally controlled museum storage, and is walking distance—linked by a pedestrian walkway—to the original Aurora Public Library. Library Square will not only be a hub to celebrate and showcase the arts, it will be a space for anyone looking to take up, practice and/or develop their craft, with new means of accessibility to a greater range of people.
The outdoor portion of Library Square is a space to bring together the community, mainly through social activities. The outdoor space will feature an astounding outdoor amphitheatre and other seasonal activities including a winter skating loop and a summer splash pad. The outdoor area will also be populated by seating areas, as well as a peaceful outdoor reading garden. The dual indoor/outdoor development encourages people to enjoy the environment around them, what was always sitting in their own backyards but perhaps not accessible enough to enjoy. But I believe its true function is the coming together of a community through the most natural and beautiful parts of life itself.
As a community-focused development, the Town of Aurora has extensive information online on the progress and updates of construction on Library Square for anyone to check in with. But more importantly, there is a section on the website for community suggestions, focusing in on what residents want to see in the development. But Library Square isn’t taking Aurora in a new, unfamiliar direction. Library Square is simply celebrating what was already there; a friendly community of creative artists and entrepreneurs living in a charming town they have all helped build together.