The Great Aurora Balloon Race
The Great Aurora Balloon Race proved to be a popular feature for the inaugural Birthday Town celebrations and was brought back during subsequent years.
For a small fee of 25 cents you could purchase a helium balloon that had a postcard attached to it. The postcard offered greetings from Canada’s Birthday Town and asked the finder of the balloon to return the postcard for a reward. Both the sender and the finder of the balloon that travelled that furthest would receive a prize of 25 dollars.
In 1969, almost 300 balloons were set free and the winning balloon was found by Thomas Morse in the Atlantic Ocean – 10 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. It was sent by six year old Douglas Bellar and travelled a distance of 460 miles!
This cartoon puts the inaugural Birthday Town celebrations in context with other local and international events of the time. The astronauts and lunar module refer to the Apollo 11 mission which launched the same day this issue of the Aurora Banner was distributed. Four days later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon.
A balloon, that was presumably set loose at Aurora’s July 1st balloon race, greets the astronauts and the postcard attached contains a modified greeting that reads: “Greetings from Canada’s Birthday Town … Aurora ONT! P.S. – Let’s GO North”.
The use of the GO Transit logo refers to the local debate surrounding the need for northbound expansion to the GO Transit line.