Aurora historian David Heard is proposing that an an unknown and hidden away pet cemetery here in Aurora be shown some much needed respect and be considered for designation as a national historic site.
The story was covered in this week’s Auroran which you can read here: http://www.newspapers-online.com/auroran/?p=1197
As the owner of A Step I Time, a local business that has provided a wide range of heritage programming Mr. Heard has successfully filled the growing void left by Aurora’s rather ineffectual Historical Society. His passion and enthusiasm for engaging Aurorans with their history is unmatched.
The fact that Mr. Heard has been exploring Aurora’s spooky history by founding a spirit walk entering its fifth year helps to strengthen such an initative.
Pet cemeteries are a valuable cultural asset that provide us a glimpse into our past. In Hyde Park wealthy Londoners began to bury their pets there back in the 1880s and by 1915 it had already been filled. Check out some photos of the headstones here: http://www.damncoolpictures.com/2010/11/pet-cemetery-in-central-london.html
In Ireland where a pet cemetery has markers for cows: http://lheadley.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/pet-cemetery/
Learning that Aurora’s pet cemetery is potentially the first in all of Canada adds greatly to its significance and definitely warrants immediate attention given that adjacent lands are now being considered for development.
Having sat in on several of the town’s Heritage Advisory Committee meetings this term and observing several shortcomings and circular debates I find Mr. Heard’s pro-active approach to this heritage site refreshing.
But Mr. Heard isn’t the only one curious about this significant site. Local photo blogger and history buff Anna has posted several times on the Pet Cemetery. Her findings help piece together some of the backstory and you can find them here: http://livinginaurora.ca/tag/pet-cemetery/
As there is no documentation compiled yet as to the graves on Aurora’s site we can only speculate as to all of the collective history and stories that are waiting to be told.
Until more is discovered and the town takes serious steps to securing, designating and providing access to the site I suggest this rather humorous read on the subject:
Unlike the ridiculous and unsustainable Hillary-Mac-and-Tired Park, this heritage project looks like one where Aurora can have its Cake and eat it too.