As a community in suburban Toronto, Ontario, Oakville has a rich history that’s interesting to locals as well as out-of-town guests. Picturesque with a variety of neighborhoods, Oakville is a busy city perched on the shores of Lake Ontario. If you want to learn more about the history of this town, here are some of the attractions that tell stories of the Oakville’s past.
Dig Deep Into the Past at the Oakville History Museum
At the Oakville History Museum, you can learn about the earliest days of Oakville. It initially served as a busy port for sailors and merchants. In the early 1800s, the community hosted a stop on the Underground Railroad, a secret organization dedicated to helping runaway slaves from the U.S. achieve freedom.
You can explore four buildings that are on the museum grounds. At the Custom House and Bank of Toronto building, you can learn about how the facility once provided customs services and hosted the bank in one of its rooms. Visit the Erchless Estate building to see a home that’s sheltered various families over the course of 130 years. When you walk into the Old Post Office, you can write a letter with a quill pen. Pioneer life is on full display at the Thomas House where you can see many items that belonged to the Thomas family.
Step Back in Time at the Sovereign House
Volunteers organize and oversee the heritage display at the Sovereign House. At this historical landmark, you can go on a self-guided tour and see the restored rooms full of photographs, archival paperwork, and artifacts. Thanks to the work of the Bronte Historical Society, the restored house and its collection help visitors better understand the history of Bronte Village, a community within Oakville.
Tour the Historical Buildings in Trafalgar Township
The Trafalgar Township Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the history of the agricultural communities located in North Oakville. Thanks to funds this group raised, workers restored a one-room schoolhouse in 2011, and it now serves as a hub of community activity. The first school in the area was built in 1844, and a larger school opened in 1875. In the early 1940s, a storm destroyed that building, so the community built another school in 1942 integrating into a back wall the 1875 cornerstone in the newer facility. The 1942 building is what the historical society restored.
Though the school building hosts community groups and activities, the restoration work continues. The historical society hopes to complete its project by fully restoring the basement.
If you’re interested in more than a quick stop at the restored schoolhouse, you can do a self-guided tour of historical buildings in the area. The Trafalgar Historical Society website offers a comprehensive inventory of facilities. Included on the list are the Red Barn, Omagh Church, and homes representing a variety of architectural styles.
Anyone interested in learning more about Oakville in general or one of its neighborhoods can find plenty of resources. Because it has a broad view, start at the Oakville History Museum and branch out from there.