Aurora Museum & Archives Insider's Look

Aurora Canada’s Birthday Town Stein/Mug – 1985

Aurora Canada’s Birthday Town Stein/Mug – 1985

Aurora Canada’s Birthday Town stein/mug – 1985

Accession #: 2015.22.14

Dimensions: 5.5 inches tall, 2.75 inches in diameter, holds 12.5 oz

Curator: Shawna White

In 1967, the citizens of Aurora marked Canada’s Centennial with a street party on July 1st that quickly became a tradition. At the time, Dominion Day was celebrated on July 1st, not Canada’s birthday, and Aurora’s celebrations quickly grew in size, attracting thousands of visitors from other communities. In 1969, Aurora dubbed itself “Canada’s Birthday Town.” From 1970 to 1989, visitors attending the beer gardens that took place as part of Aurora’s July 1st celebrations received a commemorative mug featuring the Birthday Town logo and the year.

Until the Federal Government began providing funding for July 1st celebrations in the 1980s, Aurora was one of the only municipalities that celebrated Canada’s birthday – on the actual day. What started as a community street party has come to be considered an essential Canadian holiday. The Aurora Museum & Archive’s collection of commemorative Birthday Town mugs is a reminder of how the Canada’s “birthday parties” first began, and the proud and celebratory Canadians who started them.

When the Federal Government began encouraging other communities to put on their own celebrations, Aurora’s events became more local in nature, as former visitors began to celebrate in their own communities. Being at the forefront of what became today’s Canada Day celebrations remains a source of pride for Aurorans. To mark Canada’s sesquicentennial this year, the Museum has produced a limited run of commemorative 2017 Birthday Town mugs to celebrate this special chapter in Auroran and Canadian history.