Oshawa began as a 1760 French fur trading post near the mouth of the Oshawa Creek. After the American Revolution, many British loyalists were granted land in Upper Canada along the shores of Lake Ontario. Colonel Asa Danforth laid out the York-to-Kingston road, connecting the many smaller communities along the lakeshore. In 1822, a "colonization road" up to Lake Simcoe was constructed, and intersected the Kingston Road at what is now downtown Oshawa. The community is named Oshawa for the Indian phrase for "where the trail crosses the stream ". By the mid 1800s the community attraction farming implement and carriage works, which grew into the McLaughlin works which initially contracted auto assembly for Buick and the Chevrolet and became General Motors Canada.
The GM plant and the town of Oshawa grew rapidly in the 1920s, which slowed in the Great Depression. The Second World War led to a tremendous industrial boom.
Official site for City of Oshawa
Oshawa Business listings
Oshawa has a nine-kilometre portion of the Waterfront Trail with the scenic Lakeview Park and theSecond Marsh (the largest remaining coastal wetland in the GTA). A beachfront park with water sport activities, soccer pitches and slo-pitch diamonds on the shore of Lake Ontario,.
33 McGrigor Street
Built in 1929, this Tudor Revival mansion was built for auto baron R.S. McLaughlin's daughter Eileen. It is noted for its carved bargeboard, patterned brick, art glass, plaster motifs, an Austrian chandelier, and Italian marble fireplace. The property was deeded to the YWCA in 1944, and has served as a sanctuary for women and children in need.
1000 Stevenson Road North
Airmen Park's focal point is a Korean War surplus Sabre aircraft, and also contains plaques and other commemorative relics.
35-37 King Street East
Built: 1928, Architect: N.A. Armstrong
This landmark 1928 Modern Classical commercial building in downtown Oshawa incorporates ornamental cast stone such as date stone cartouches, cornucopias with fruit, and ornate windows and doors. Visit Brushstrokes to view the restored interior.
Canadian Automotive Museum
99 Simcoe Street South
Oshawa, ON L1H 4G7
Housed in a 1920's car dealership, this museum has been open since 1961 to showcase the development of the automobile. There are 65 vehicles from 1898 to 1981 and other historical items relating to the periods of the cars.
Cedardale United Church
824 Simcoe Street South
Built in 1857 as the public school for Cedardale, one of Oshawa's first residential settlements, and was bought from the city in the 1920's by George McLaughlin. It was donated to and continues to serve as the Cedardale United Church. Open to public on Sundays.
39 Athol Street West
The 1858 Cowan House is a Georgian style dwelling with Italianate details, and was home to businessman and Mayor W. F. Cowan. Notice the bracketed eaves and portico elements. Today, it serves as offices and meeting rooms for St. George's Memorial Church. Open Saturday 12 to 4 pm, Sunday 1 to 4 pm,
Oshawa Community Museum (Oshawa Sydenham Museum)
1450 Simcoe Street South
In Oshawa's beautiful Lakeview Park.
905-436-7624 Fax: 1-905-436-7625
Three buildings, built in the 1830a ad 1840s make up the Oshawa Community Museum and Archives. Guy House and Henry House stand on their original foundations, are unique architecturally and provide an overview of the lifestyles of Oshawa's early inhabitants. The 1835 Guy House is a typical frame farmhouse houses museum gift shop, archives and curatorial offices. The 1849 Henry House was a Victorian home and has period decorated parlour, dining room, study, herb garden, kitchen, master bedroom, and was originally owned by Christian Church minister Thomas Henry. Robinson House, originally a simple family home, now contains a 19th century schoolroom, and galleries and exhibits focusing on various topics in Oshawa's history.
Oshawa Guide House
121 Simcoe Street South
Oshawa Ontario, L1H 4G7
This 1859 home was the Simcoe Street United Church's parsons residence, and was renovated and deeded by the McLaughlin family to the Girl Guides in 1948. There is a display of Girl Guide Archives, which was visited by Lady Baden Powell in 1952. The mural was painted on the South side of the building in 2000.
Oshawa Military and Industrial Museum
Oshawa Airport (south field )
1000 Stevenson Road North
Oshawa, Ontario, L1J 5P5
This museum houses the Largest Collection of running and Otherwise Operational Military equipment in Canada, with over 55 vehicles. The Ontario Regiment, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, has a long history that is documented and displayed at the museum. See uniforms, weapons, medals, and other artifacts from the 1850's to the present. The Robert Stuart Aeronautical Collection& Camp X Exhibit is housed in two original Second World War huts, there is also a 1,000 sq. ft. display of authentic Camp-X artifacts- a significant allied wartime military secret.
Tours can be arranged and are always welcome
Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens
155 Arena Street, Oshawa
Mailing: 50 Centre Street South, Oshawa, Ontario, L1H 3Z7
905-436-5636, ext. 2162
The first phase of the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens is nestled beside the historic banks of the Oshawa Creek. Enjoy the unique blend of naturalized creek banks juxtaposed against formal gardens. Experience Oshawa's natural history as you stroll along a winding trail that leads to Lake Ontario.
Parkwood, The R.S. McLaughlin Estate, Museum & Heritage Garden
270 Simcoe Street North
Oshawa, ONm L1G 4T5
Voice: (905) 433-4311 Fax: (905) 721-4765
Parkwood was the family home of Sam McLaughlin, founder of GM of Canada. One of Canada's finest and last remaining grand estates, featuring architectural, landscape and interior designs of the 1920's and 1930's. Once home to auto baron R. Samuel McLaughlin and his family, mow a National Historic site. Open year round.
Simcoe Street North Heritage District
between Adelaide Avenue and Rossland Road
The area contains a park and a concentration of early 1900's buildings, including Parkwood Estate and others with historical and architectural significance.
Simcoe Street United Church
66 Simcoe Street South
Oshawa, Ontario, L1H 4G3
Built in the year of Confederation in the Gothic Revival style for a Methodist congregation, this church has Lancet-arched openings and a polygonal spire with pinnacles and dormers embellish the exterior. A Casavant organ, 36 foot high ornamental timber arches and a pressed-tin ceiling dominate the interior. Open Saturdays the public.
St. George's Memorial Church
39 Athol St West L1H 1J5
905-723-7875 fax 905-723-7038
Built in 1924, the same year that Oshawa became a city, St. George's was designed by Eden Smith, the famous Arts and Craft architect, it is constructed of Credit Valley Sandstone in the Old English Gothic Revival style. The buttresses, gothic tracery and lancet-arched windows are noteworthy. The tower houses a 15- bell carillon. Open Saturday 12 to 4 pm, Sunday 1 to 4pm
Colonel R.S. McLaughlin Armoury
53 Simcoe Street North
Oshawa, ON L1G 4R9
The Ontario Regiment, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, was constituted in 1866 and moved its headquarters to Oshawa at the beginning of WWI. One of many standard Romanesque style armouries built in 1914, still houses the Officers' Mess and displays military memorabilia. The Regiment's named was changed to the 11th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Ontarios) in 1942 and served in the invasion of Sicility, Rome, and liverated Holland. The museum is open from Easter through 1 November on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holiday Mondays from 1 pm to 5pm. During the off-season, visitors are welcome on Wednesday evenings from 9 - 9 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 1 pm. Tours may also be made by appointment. Admission: by donation.
Robert McLaughlin Gallery
72 Queen Street, Civic Centre
Oshawa, L1H 3Z3
905-576-3000 fax: 905-576-.9774
Café reservations: 905-576-2392
This remarkable building, designed by noted Canadian architect Arthur Erickson, houses varied collections of Canadian art including works by the Group of Seven, Emily Carr, Antoine Plamondon and others. Of special local interest are works by Painters Eleven and Thomas Bouckley, and a collection of historical photographs.
Gallery hours: Weekdays: 10 am - 5 pm (Thursday to 9 pm), Saturday & Sunday: 12 noon - 4 pm. Closed Victoria Day. Admission is by donation. Gallery Café & Restaurant hours: Monday to Friday, 11:30am-3:00pm, Thursday, Friday, Saturday : 5:00pm-10:30pm; Sunday Closed.
Thornton-Dundee Community Centre
210 Thornton Road North
Bus: 905-725-0779 Fax: 905-725-0973
Built in 1880 in the Second Empire style, this is Oshawa's oldest remaining schoolhouse, Union School No. 5, which operated until 1954. It is richly decorated with dichromatic brick, large wooden brackets and capped by double chimneys with an oculus design.
760 King Street West
Established in 1837, this 29 acre cemetery holds many famous people from Oshawa's and Canada's past. There are private mausoleums (built in 1924) and a Gothic Revival chapel. The Mausoleum has an ornate marble interior and hand-painted stained-glass windows. Open daily 8 am to 4 pm. No staff on-site