In 1793, Dundas Street was surveyed for a military road. In 1805, the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada bought the lands between Etobicoke and Hamilton from the Mississaugas aboriginal people, except for the land at the mouths of Twelve Mile Creek (Bronte Creek), Sixteen Mile Creek, and along the Credit River. In 1807, British immigrants settled the area surrounding Dundas Street as well as on the shore of Lake Ontario.
In 1820, the Crown bought the area surrounding the waterways. The area around the creeks, 960 acres (3.9 km2), ceded to the Crown by the Mississaugas, was auctioned off to William Chisholm in 1827. He left the development of the area to his son,Robert Kerr Chisholm and his brother-in-law, Thomas Merrick.
Oakville’s first industries included shipbuilding, timber shipment, and wheat farming. In the 1850s, there was an economic recession and the foundry, the most important industry in town, was closed. Basket-making became a major industry in the town, and theGrand Trunk Railway was built through it.
The town eventually became industrialized with the opening of Cities Service Canada (later BP Canada, and now Petro Canada) andShell Canada oil refineries (both now closed), the Procor factory (no longer manufacturing), and, most importantly, the Ford Motor Company‘s Canadian headquarters and plant, all close to the Canadian National Railway and the Queen Elizabeth Way highway between Toronto and Fort Erie (Buffalo).
In 1962 the town of Oakville merged with its neighbouring villages (Bronte, Palermo, Sheridan, and the remainder of Trafalgar Township) to become the new Town of Oakville, reaching northwards to Steeles Avenue in Milton. In 1973, the restructuring of Halton County into Halton Region brought the northern border southwards to just north of the future Highway 407.
Downtown Oakville Jazz Festival
The Downtown Oakville Jazz Festival is an annual summer jazz festival that has taken place every year since 1992. The event includes performances at a number of stages along Lakeshore Road East in downtown Oakville. As the festival is fully funded by the Downtown Oakville Business Improvement Area (BIA), the event is free to the public.
Beginning in 1982, Oakville’s Coronation Park played host to the annual Oakville Waterfront Festival. Among a range of events, the festival included small amusement park rides, arts and crafts, food and drinks, free concerts headlined by Canadian bands, and nightly fireworks displays. The Waterfront Festival took place in late June of each year until 2010, when it was cancelled due to financial difficulties, despite having annual attendance of up to 100,000 visitors.
Past headliners at the Waterfront Festival included Jann Arden, Oakville resident Tom Cochrane, Great Big Sea, Alannah Myles, Blue Rodeo, Susan Aglukark, Michelle Wright,Jacksoul, Colin James, The Philosopher Kings, Jesse Cook, Finger Eleven, Justin Hines, Bedouin Soundclash, Ill Scarlett, Jully Black, and Hedley.
For the Love of the Arts Festival
The For the Love of the Arts Festival is an annual event taking place in the late spring in Oakville. Inaugurated in 2002, the event is hosted by CommUnity Arts Space , a local umbrella group advocating for shared physical space for Oakville’s arts and cultural groups. Currently the only such multi-disciplinary community festival of its kind in Oakville, the event serves to showcase local talent, skills, crafts, literary art, dance performances, theatre groups and music performances. The event is intended as a symbolic presentation of a “shared space” and is entirely sponsored by local corporate and private donations.
Downtown Oakville also hosts an annual street festival known as Midnight Madness. The event typically takes place during the month of July and provides an opportunity for local stores and vendors to showcase new products and sales, as well as a venue for local artists to perform at a number of street-level stages.