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Church Street School

22 Church Street, Aurora, Ontario, L4G, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1980/11/03

South facade; Town of Aurora, 2006
Church Street School
Southeast facade; Town of Aurora, 2006
Church Street School
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Other Name(s)

Aurora Heritage Centre
Aurora Public School
Church Street School

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1885/01/01 to 1886/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/01/02

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Set on Church Street facing south, the Church Street School is a late Victorian two storey yellow brick structure with a distinctive belfry on the front facade. It is bordered by a small lawn on all sides, with the Aurora Public Library located immediately to west, just steps away from the historic downtown. To the east is a late 19th century residential neighborhood, and Trinity Anglican Church.

The Church Street School has been recognized for its heritage value through the Town of Aurora By-Law #2390-80

Heritage Value

The Church Street School built in 1885 to replace a smaller brick school on the same site, is one of the earliest remaining schools in Aurora, from which it gains its strong historical value. Officially opened in September 1886 as an elementary school, the Church Street School housed the students of the Aurora High School from 1888 to 1892, and again in the 1920’s when the Wells Street High School burned down.

Purchased in 1953 by the Town of Aurora, the Church Street School has been used by three different school boards and served as the headquarters for the York County Board of Education from 1969-1976. Though the use of the building has changed over the years, it has served the community throughout its life, today being the home of the Aurora Heritage Centre.

Architecturally, the Church Street School is one of the finest examples of late Victorian public architecture in Aurora. Designed by Thomas Kennedy of Toronto, and built by William Cane and Sons of Newmarket, the decorative gable ends, ornate belfry, and red-tiled roof replicate the style of one of the kiosks of the Golden Temple of Amritsar in India. Queen Victoria became the first Empress of India in 1876, which subsequently inspired a trend to incorporate elements of traditional Indian design into architecture across the British Empire.

Source: Church Street School Heritage Designation Brief, Town of Aurora By-Law #2390-80

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that embody the the Church Street School's heritage values include its:
- dominance as a feature on the streetscape
- late Victorian style of public architecture.
- yellow brick 2 storey exterior walls with three projecting clipped gables on the south facade, and one each on the east and west facades
- decorative brick work (voussoirs, string courses)
- low hip roof with ornate belfry, and central decorative blind roof
- elaborate detailing on the gables
- original fenestration(2 over 2 sash windows with round or square topped 2 pane transoms)
- entrances, including the double entry doors and transom on the main entrance
- original eaves, fascia and soffits




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type


Historic or Interpretive Site


Primary or Secondary School

Architect / Designer

Thomas Kennedy


William Cane and Son

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Designation Report: Church Street School, Community Planner's Office, Town of Aurora

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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