The Aurora Chamber Home Woe

At the June 17th General Committee meeting members of council were forced to deal with a brewing scheduling conflict at the Aurora Community Centre that has already resulted in displacing the Aurora Tigers earlier this year.

Aurora’s proud team were forced to seek ice outside of the town to accomodate the Chamber of Commerce’s Home Show. I commented on that here:

The Tigers are rightly seeking assurances from the Town that they will be able to book their home arena for this season. It is a prerequisite for the professional hockey league in which they play.

To accomplish this the Home Show will inevitably need to move its date or move to a new location.

Flat out refusing to accept this new reality the Chamber instead chose to delegate to council in desperate hopes of maintaining the status quo. You can watch @ 26:40 here:

In his delegation Paul Smith boasts that the Chamber’s Home show is one of the “Major events of the year in the downtown core”.

He then goes on to peg attendance somewhere in the range of 3,000-4,000. A pretty wide range considering the home show is a ticked event. You’d think the Chamber would be able to peg attendance figures with a greater degree of accuracy.

It would be helpful to have numbers from the past 5 years to determine a if attendance is rising, flat or declining.  Those numbers were not provided.

With Rib Fest, Canada Day Parade, Santa Claus Parade along with all the successful events held in town park the only way the Chamber’s Home Show can claim to be one of the major events of the year is to emphasize “one of”.

Mr. Smith decided to stretch the truth even further, suggesting that their Home Show is “well known as one of the best in york region.”

Another a statement that needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

The Aurora Chamber can no longer claim to be the largest home show in York Region, as that distinction goes to Newmarket:

Other than the Chamber itself I’m interested to learn who is making the claim this event is one of the best. Even more curious to know exactly how it stacks up against Markham’s: and Georginas:

The delegation then attempted to forward justifications for the Home Show staying put, all of which were downright ludicrous.

To suggest that because the Chamber has “perfected tiny details”, or spent huge gobs of money on a static floor plan only serves to emphasize a preference onbehalf of the Chamber to rigidity and complacency.

You would thing that an organization that is focused on business would welcome the opportunity to adapt, change and grow. Certainly one that lists “consultation” and “leadership” among its core values.

On the Chamber’s own webiste here: they claim to “Consult and collaborate with our business community, our political leaders and other diverse stakeholders” as well as “Proactively address business-related issues and opportunities through a united voice”

Neither of which were demonstrated in the Chamber’s position on this issue.

Also absent is any shred of “innovation”, a key pillar in the town’s recently adopted Strategic Plan.

To claim that the Aurora Community Center somehow provides a “unique atmosphere” is grasping.  It is an aging arena.

Any belief that the Home Show somehow creates a “hub of activity” is a gross exaggeration of the truth. It creates a traffic cluster-fuck at Aurora Heights on the Saturday morning, but otherwise it is not attracting activity away from other events or activities inside the town.

Then there was the pretense about being “concerned about impact on local business and chamber”.


I sincerely doubt the percentage of vendors at the Aurora Home Show “book an entire years business” at this event, as was claimed by the Chamber is in the double digits. Yet again no metrics were provided to substantiate this claim, just more empty words.

Like the Chamber itself, their Home Show is boring, stale and in desperate need of a shake up. Something I commented on back in 2012:

Instead of approaching this matter with a professional approach to change management the Aurora Chamber of Commerce chose to forward a long list of entitlements to a Community Centre which was built for the Aurora Tigers.

A change of location to the Stronach centre may draw a greater audience from east side of town where newer homes/developments are.

Mary Lou Gutscher believes attracting the wrong audience is 1 of 5 reasons tradeshows fail: “Make sure that the people who attend the shows are the decision-makers you’re trying to reach. Tire kickers, Sunday drivers and get-out-of-school-for-a-day visitors are not usually in the market for anything
other than a distraction — and maybe the opportunity to collect a goodie bag of swag.”
You can read her post in full here:

By staying at the Aurora Community Centre are organizers more interested in receiving “walk-in traffic” from Yonge Street, or the right traffic?

The same goes for moving the date.

Markham runs both Spring and Fall Home Shows. Completely absent from any discussions I heard was the possibility of splitting the event in a similar fashion.

If the Aurora Chamber Home Show is truly “well known as one of the best” in York Region then they have little to worry about shifting their date or location.

The whole “sky is falling” bit now leaves me questioning the confidence the Chamber has in the event itself.

The late Sidney J. Harris correctly stated “the greatest enemy of progress is not stagnation but false progress.”

It appears for at least the past 5 years the Aurora Chamber Home Show has managed to fill the Aurora Community Centre to the rafters with both.

Kudos to Aurora council for keeping its stick on the ice and showing them the arena door.


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