It was Halloween night nineteen ninety seven when we moved to Aurora, Ontario and we have been living in Aurora ever since – same dwelling, same street, different neighbours and changed landscapes.
Knock, knock. A boy that must have been about three years old, dressed in a yellow fireman suit, stood in front of our new home that night. ‘Trick or treat’ – he said with his soft shy voice, probably overwhelmed with the scary night. I put out a tray of treats in front of him. He paused and said ‘I don’t like this candy’, and this is how it all began, a treat for us but not so much for the little fireman that night.
Our house was one of the last houses built in the subdivision located near St. Andrew’s Valley Golf Club on the north side of St. John’s sideroad. When we finally moved to our residential area, the roads were still rough, only some trees were planted and our driveway wasn’t paved yet. There was still a lot of construction material leftover, especially buried in the ground. But at that time it was a treat for us. It was our first home here in the small town called Aurora.
“IT STARTED ROUGH, HOWEVER, WHERE WE ARE NOW WE CAN ONLY LAUGH AT THOSE PECULIAR MOMENTS.”
While we were still bringing our belongings from our parent’s homes in Mississauga and Richmond Hill, we had a regular handyman on duty to fix little things that were missed – like a foot size hole in the kitchen floor to the basement hidden underneath the refrigerator. A jar of paint was given to us to touch up the scratched walls. That would have been a nice treat and even gesture from the builder (Sundial) if we didn’t find out that our next door neighbour got two gallons of touch up paint. I guess making extra noise gave him one gallon of paint and working for the town gave him the second.
Needless to say, the two gallons of paint didn’t matter much as our neighbour got a new job offer, sold the house and the whole family was gone in a nick of time. We didn’t know them too much so we didn’t miss them either. We also didn’t miss their dog that was always tied on a long leash and would leave treats on our property. Sometimes it felt like Halloween night wasn’t going to end.
A year passed and living in Aurora was getting better. At some point, we were approached to fence our property. A group of us decided on one contractor who was also building a deck for our neighbour across. Life was going to get better. We were about to have some privacy in our backyards, but not until the contractor decided to disappear with the deposit before finishing the job.
We were one of the lucky couples because our fence was almost finished leaving us with only extra work and not lost money. The extra work included putting out three extra posts. Digging post holes was the hardest part of the final installation, especially as I mentioned, we found a lot of construction material buried under.
After all the treats given to us, it was our turn to give back. We had to dump dirt somewhere. The most convenient choice was the wide open field on the south side of the St. John’s sideroad between Industrial Parkway and Bayview Street; and to be exact, around the area where the Superstore is now located. We didn’t see any ‘no dumping’ signs and all we were dumping was just pure dirt. However, that night we weren’t the only ones performing a questionable act. Interestingly enough we were assured by the second couple who arrived on the scene shortly after us – ‘no worries we are doing the same thing’.
Being surrounded by so much open field, seeing wildlife wasn’t uncommon. But it was uncommon to have a family of three skunks coming over to visit us every night. It stunk to know that forcefully removing wildlife from your property was illegal. After a while our family of skunks moved out without stinking notice. Again we were very lucky because a few houses over a skunk was able to slip into the garage and in the morning surprise the owner with a stinky treat that lasted for a couple of weeks.
And these were our early beginnings living in Aurora. It started rough, however, where we are now we can only laugh at those peculiar moments. We are going to share more stories in the future and especially we are very anxious to talk about the changes in Aurora landscapes, then and now.
Anna Lozyk Romeo