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The Aurora Horse Show

The front cover of a small rectangular program consisting of black lettering printed on a gold background with engraved illustrations of a horse and a cow all enclosed within a printed rectangular border

First Official Program for Horse Show at Town Park

From 1923 onward, the Agricultural Association held their annual Horse and Pure Bred Stock Show in Town Park. The event, later re-named the Aurora Horse Show, became an annual tradition and was known for having the best exhibits of horses in the province. In 1935, the show was expanded as part of Jubilee Year celebrations. A Ladies Section was added featuring exhibitions in art, quilting, baking and horticulture.


In 1942, the decision was made to suspend the Aurora Horse Show due to restrictions on material and an overall shortage of farm help because of the war.

A black and white photograph of a woman, young boy and a horse standing in a park; several cars, buildings and people are in the background behind a temporary fence

The Horse Show was an event for people of all ages, c. 1950s

The show resumed in 1946 and drew a record crowd of 4000-5000 attendees. In her book titled Aurora 1945-1965: An Ontario Town at a Time of Great Change author Elizabeth Hearn Milner reminisces that,  “the local farmers came with their teams of horses groomed and sporting bells and ribbons … The ladies brought their crafts, special pies and pickles made with recipes they wouldn’t share.”

A black and white image taken in a park with a large crowd gathered in the distance behind a wooden picket fence. Behind the crowd are mature trees and houses. In the foreground pieces of white wooden structures are seen on both the left and the right side of the image. There is a caption of black text located directly below the image.

Aurora Banner, June 18, 1969


The 1969 Aurora Horse Show was also the homecoming welcome for Canada’s Gold Medal winning Equestrian Team comprising Jim Elder, Tom Gayford and Jim Day, all residents of the area. The team was fresh off their win from the Mexico City 1968 Summer Olympic Games where they earned Canada’s first gold medal in equestrian sports. Approximately 10,000 people filled Town Park to be part of the show and celebrate Canada’s Gold Medal Equestrian Team.


A black and white photograph of five people and a horse standing in a park setting; trees and tents visible in the background

Jim Elder at the Horse Show in Town Park, 1970


As the popularity of the Horse Show grew, space and facilities became an issue; in 1971 it was moved to the newly expanded Machell Park ending the Aurora Horse Show’s 43-year tenure in Town Park.