Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Cllr Evelyn Buck Remembers Canada Day Celebrations

During the Aurora Council Meeting on June 12, 2012, options were being discussed for organizing and budgeting next year’s 2013 Canada Day celebrations as part of Aurora’s 150 year anniversary. One option being proposed was for the Town to pay for a consultant that would be responsible for celebration planning and fund raising.

In response to that option, Councillor Evelyn Buck delivered an intriguing speech reflecting on the success of the historical Canada Day Celebrations of 1963 (Canada Day – Aurora’s 100 year anniversary) and 1967 (Canada Day – Canada’s 100 year anniversary). In her speech she emphasized the importance of having the people of the community directly involved in the early stages of planning and organization in order to stimulate ideas and build spirit by working together as a community.

Councillor Evelyn Buck [Aurora Council Meeting, June 12, 2012]

“[…] No I am not in favour of spending any of this money. I don’t believe it is necessary at all. When a community celebrates, the people celebrate. The first July 1st celebration that we had in Aurora came about because we had a council member who spent a lot of time in the States and was so envious of the way those people celebrated their nation on July 4th.

And how they do it?

They throw their hearts into it and that is how our first July 1st celebration came about, and every organization group, every church, every school, every service club was notified of our intent to have a celebration and forward names, nominations for people to participate.

Politicians were not involved because the basic principle was it would not cost taxpayers a cent. No politicians involved, nobody exploiting the opportunity out of something that is a community endeavor. […]

But Mr. Mayor, I still picture the community members. They all had black top hats and a little apron with pockets on it wandering around through the crowds, the celebrations, the crowds.

We had a cabaret in the auditorium with Judy Rogers, the wife of the CA, the Clerk Administrator, who had a beautiful singing voice, and one of the Councillors with an accordion wandering around.

And we provided, the Town provided, seed money, we didn’t fund it. We provided seed money and all the events that happened, particularly the Beer garden, raised the money that paid for the whole festival, the whole celebration, and paid back the seed money and put money for the next year celebration. They didn’t need any more seed money from the first year.

Aurora can do it! They love a party.

[…] There is no shortage of energy and appetite for a party in the town of Aurora. I am confident that we can do it. Never mind about things change. Communities don’t change, don’t give me that; that that’s history and we can’t do any more, we damn well can do it. People don’t change.

And this is one of the things that like my friend the late Norm Stewart, ‘stimulates community spirit more than anything, working together‘.

And by the way Mr. Mayor the first Aurora centennial celebration, neighbourhoods were invited and their parade was like, you couldn’t imagine. A street would have a float, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, and the decoration you wouldn’t believe, but the council in 1963 and also 1967, the council was on a float. And they had, and of course it was the farmers that helped us with the trucks to pull the floats, and the big, I don’t know if they were hay wagons or what.

But the whole council dressed in period costume sat around the table, the council table, on a float, and they were in the parade. The next time we had a railway wagon, and I was in that one. First one, I was a defeated candidate and watched from sidelines. In 1967 I had been elected and I rode in the railway car.

And throughout the year people dressed in period costume. I remember one Editor of the Aurora Banner wearing a cavalier costume and boots that were too long for him and flapped around, and he had one of those feathered hats.

Mr. Mayor there is no end to the ideas that people could come up with for fun and celebration. Just give them a shot. Send out an email to every church, every service club and let them know what we’re about and invite them to do it and see what kind of response you get.

[…] And I say let the people do it, watch them, trust them.”

Evelyn Buck
Cllr Evelyn Buck with her daughter Theresa Buck.

Councillor Evelyn Buck [Aurora Council Meeting, June 12, 2012]

Anna Lozyk Romeo
Aurora, ON

[1] Notes from the Council Meeting June 12, 2012, Town of Aurora, Ontario.

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