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Nineteenth century Aurora residents were very fond of skating. This is revealed in the 1880 newspapers and more explicitly by the 1885 construction of a large indoor skating rink.  Located on Machell Avenue, the rink measured 30 feet wide by 160 feet long and provided a location for not just ice skating but also the hugely popular activity of roller-skating!  In order to accommodate the roller-skating, the rink remarkably had two-stories; the upper floor was dedicated to roller-skating and ice skating took place on the main floor. Carnivals happened frequently and featured costume contests, races and live music from local bands such as the 12th battalion band or the Silver Cornet band. 
In June of 1890 the rink suffered damage when a storm caused the nearby river to flood. The rink underwent renovations and when it re-opened in November was complete with more space and electric lighting (AURORA BANNER, OCTOBER 24, 1890). For over ten years the rink continued to host roller-skating, carnivals, ice skating and curling matches. Due to its deteriorating condition the rink was taken down in the spring of 1901. In the years following its demolition the absence of an indoor rink is mentioned repeatedly in the local newspaper. The residents clearly missed having access to such a facility. 
Ice Skates, c. 1930
The local T. Sisman Shoe Company, which operated from 1910-1985, made the boots of these skates. 997.13
In 1913 construction started on a new indoor rink between Yonge Street and Gurnett, just south of Church Street, that measured 80’ by 200’. This rink would collapse under the weight of snow in 1929 after which a new rink was built on the same site, although a little closer to Yonge Street. In 1950 artificial ice would be installed and the rink would re-open as the Aurora Memorial Arena. In 1965 this arena would be destroyed by fire caused by a careless smoker. Two years later the Aurora Community Centre would open, once more providing an indoor rink for the town. Roller Skating would continue to be offered in the various rinks until a resurgence in its popularity in the 1970s saw the construction of The Canadiana Roller Rink on Edward Street in 1979 – the same year that the sport made its debut in the Pan Am Games.

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