"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Wednesday 3 July 2013


Los of questions being asked about  Yonge Street as a Park.  Few answers from the scheme"s
promoters. Supporters are also very few. 

The University Wpmen's  Association  member  liked the pictures .Pictures of what? 

I have a story to tellI.   It's  extremely relevant. 

1967 was Canada's Centennial Year. The  Honorable  Judith La Marsh, Member of Parliament for Niagara, was Minister of State, in charge  of The  National Celebration. 

It was fabulous. 

A collection of steam train engines  became available for any municipality that could use them.

Jack Moore,  a resident of Wendelrley Drive. was on the staff  of York University,in charge of special events.He brought the information to the town. 

The town owned  fourteen and a  half acres known as the  Petlovanay property. It had been acquired through non-payment of taxes. 

It  had a railway easement. 

Aurora's development was due to  being Head of Rail.   Aurora was the  last  stop for the first
train out of Toronto. 

We had  the location . An easement from  the railway.  The History was ours and the collection was there  for   the  taking. 

Enthusiasm was  at a peak. It was  clearly a great opportunity. 

One member of Council did not agree, He appealed the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board. Details are hazy. But the steam  quicly went out of things 

. I was a  new Councillor in 1967. Very conscious of what I did not know. I was watching and  listening. Didn't  fully understand  how one member could  put  the kibosh on an opportunity that everyone else thought was meant to be. 

But  that's how it was. There was no talk of  putting up a fight. 

Just the acceptance of  reality that if everyone wasn't on board with the idea , it  could  not succeed. 

The town sold the Petlovany property , serviced, for $ 35,000. on a promise of  four new industries to be located  there . On the day the $ 35,000  sercicing contract was let,  the property was re-sold 
for $75,000. making $40,000 profit  for the buyer  on a down payment of $5,000. and   producing no  industries  for the town. 

It didn't happen without a fight .  I lost it. 

The town ended up buying back part off the land for  a works department site. I was out of office then  and I  asked what we paid but nobody wanted to tell . 

I learned  a lesson then.  I learned it fast  and I learned it hard. 

But I learned  it never to forget it. 

A scam  is not hard to recognise,. 



Anonymous said...

So, an opportunity lost. We could have had a great attraction in the town, with potential tourist spin-off. See what short-sightedness can do.

History Lesson said...

"One member of Council did not agree."

Boy the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Anonymous said...

To History Lesson: *snorts*

Anonymous said...

I don't think anything will be lost if people in Aurora do not ' leap ' at this opportunity. If it has merit, which I doubt but will allow, it will just keep on coming before council for further refinement. Right now, it doesn't pass the sniff test for a massive investment of dedicated funds that will not be recovered.

Anonymous said...

12:27 PM & 12:24 PM
One entity or Siamese twins?

Anonymous said...

What exactly was offered? One locomotive to be used as a static display or many working locomotives for continued use?

Back in 1967, steam locomotives were not that far out of use. It had only been about 20 - 25 years since diesel took over. This was also an era when rail in Canada was beginning the gradual decline - especially from a passenger point of view - of widespread use.

Southern Ontario was a hot-bed of rail at the turn of the 1900s. US-based roads acquired Canadian Divisions (Canadian Southern for example) that would allow for shorter hauls between Buffalo and Detroit rather than going around the Great Lakes.

As the lines converted to diesel from steam, many locomotives became surplus.

In 1967, maintaining a vintage steam locomotive wuld not have been a big deal. There would be many experienced engineers and mechanics available. As time marched on however, you would be in a situation where the expertise would be hard to find.

Sure, there are working steam trains in Tottenham and Uxbridge but how much does it cost those enterprises?

Would Aurora still use or have that equipment today had it gone through in 1967? Probably not.

Anonymous said...

I have seen the notices for the University Women's Association and puzzled over why I, or anyone, would join such a thing. Most grads that I know don't make a big deal out of it. The days when a woman with a degree was unique are long gone. It's what you do with your life - with or without a degree.

Anonymous said...

CBC News
" Brazeau's Senate salary to be docked 20% to repay expenses "
Could we do McGuinty next, please ?

Anonymous said...

Nope, 1:22 PM, two different people. We just stand out because we don't subscribe to the group-think typical of this blog's commenters.

Anonymous said...

Everyone - with notable exceptions - seems determined to spent money as if Aurora were making it in the basement. Little or no attention to the loss of jobs by some of those people who will be expected to pay the freight through their taxes for years to come - if they can remain in Aurora.
Council has its priorities all screwed up. This is not the time to be wasteful. All other communities are tightening their belts. Rona is finished here and our Council did not fritter any of their precious mic time on regrets. All hell-bent on their golden ring.

Anonymous said...

A minority of sober souls are trapped in a herd of lemmings. Unfortunately , we elected the entire bunch. Unlike in Egypt, we cannot turf everyone out which is probably a good thing. We collectively dealt this ugly hand. But it is tough to swallow.

Anonymous said...

To 6:24 pm. We need to find people with a vision and ideas to sustain the plans.We have people waiting in the wings to continue this Mayors mess.They are on a committee and front and center for exposure.If elected we will go to hell in that proverbial basket.

Anonymous said...

" Conservative Senate leader Marjorie LeBreton stepping down " - as leader
She will still be a conservative senator until retirement.

Anonymous said...

So sorry, 8:48 AM. You have totally misunderstood me. I want nothing to do with your ' vision ' thing until it have a basis in solid financial responsibility. Maybe not even then as the parties involved might be fly-by-night. I will admit that the mess is on the Mayor's watch which pisses me off immensely. Period.

Anonymous said...

@8:48 AM
R U OK ?

Anonymous said...

Must be a slow news day online at the Newmarket Era and the Aurora Banner. They have each published an online story about each town's respective councils. Newmarket's article is titled "Takes special breed to lead" and gives a summary of each members background. Aurora's article is "Want public office? Just get elected". You think the writer would have done a little more research. All he seemed to say of Councilor Gaertner (who got the shortest pitch) is "has been on council for the past three terms".

Anonymous said...

3:05 PM
What would you add about Councillor Gaertner? All I know is her association with that kids' spot which went under through lack of funding &/or declining interest.