The Town of Aurora is undergoing an exciting transformation! As part of our downtown revitalization efforts, we're proud to be bringing the Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College to the heart of downtown Aurora. The historic Aurora Armoury is undergoing a restoration, turning the former military drill shed into a world-class training facility and community space. In 2019, you'll see a lot of changes around Town Park. A stunningly restored Armoury, featuring an open event space, teaching kitchen, will turn the formerly empty drill shed into a key part of our cultural precinct.
Our partnership with the Canadian Food and Wine Institute will see the space bustling with corporate training, enthusiast classes and incubator space for businesses looking to make a name for themselves in the culinary, microbrewery and viticulture. As part of our agreement to lease the Aurora Armoury to the Institute, residents will be able to access a variety of programming including courses like Cooking on a Budget for Seniors, How to Cook classes for students heading off to university and more. All taught by real industry experts! The college will also become part of the Aurora community as they support our community events and activities taking place in Town Park, providing opportunities for residents to grab food and drinks while their kids play shinny on the outdoor rink in the winter or enjoy the splash pad and playground in the summer.
The Town of Aurora will continue to own the Armoury Building and Niagara College will manage the booking of the space. Organizations and community groups will be able to rent the space for meetings and events.
The History of the Armoury
Built in 1874 as a drill shed for the 12th Battalion of Infantry or York Rangers, the building is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building. The Town purchased the Armoury from the federal government in 2014 with the intention of restoring the property and returning it to its role as a community gathering space.
The building was dated and in need of extensive work in order to make it part of the community again. Having served as military drill shed and, more recently, as storage space for the Town, Aurora began investigating potential uses for the building with plans focused on finding a strategic use for the building, restoring the building and re-establishing the historic link between the Armoury and the Town Park.
For more information on the history of the Aurora Armoury and Town Park, check out Town Park: A Community Storybook at the Virtual Museum.
Reports on the restoration of the Armoury are available below:
PDS18-069 Renovation of the Aurora Armoury - June 12, 2018.pdf
Item R1-PBS17-095-Restoration-Armoury-89 Mosley St.pdf
Our Partnership with Niagara College
In 2017, the Town announced a partnership agreement with Niagara College which will see the Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) offering training out of the Armoury following its restoration. The CFWI is a school of study within Niagara College, located at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus. Over 700 students at CFWI study in a wide variety of programs in culinary, beer, wine, and culinary innovation. CFWI has received many accolades, being home to Junior Culinary Team of Canada, having the top brew school of North America, and being home to the first and only commercial teaching winery in Canada.
Beginning in 2016, staff worked collaboratively with the Canadian Food and Wine Institute to outline potential options to create a new training facility in Aurora at the Aurora Armoury. The proposed facility will provide professional training opportunities for businesses and students interested in gaining knowledge in commercial brewing, culinary skill building and enrichment as well as viticulture. This type of training offers significant opportunities for business and community development. The partnership aligns with the Town's revitalization activities in the Aurora Promenade as well as the feedback received through extensive public consultation around the Cultural Precinct Plan. This type of business incubator space is a strategic priority for the Town as outlined in the Strategic Plan and Economic Development Action Plan. The planned activities will also create a significant tourism driver for the Town and surrounding areas. In addition, staff believe that the establishment of the proposed training facility is a necessary first step towards the potential creation of a larger scale facility in Aurora.
For more information on Niagara College and the Canadian Food and Wine Institute, please visit: https://www.canadianfoodandwineinstitute.ca/
For further details on the agreement, please view the below report:
Additional drawings can be viewed in the above document.