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Some history of Oakville

Babbling over rocks and pebbles through the grass-grown and wooded hills of a Halton County ravine, a little stream is Sixteen Mile Creek, the early settlers named it. It wends its way toward the western end of Lake Ontario. Here and there it gladdens the heart of rustic youth with "swimming holes." while all along its winding way loyal followers of Izaak Walton find finny response to baited hook and line. As it reaches nearer the lake its sylvan banks grow farther apart, the water deepens and the little stream becomes a river, which evenly glides along its tortuous course until it quietly empties into the great waters of Lake Ontario on their way to the St. Lawrence Gulf. At the point where lake and river meet is situated the Town of Oakville.

Looking across the lake northeast from this point on a clear day the City of Toronto is visible in striking outline, the Canadian Pacific Railway building and the tower of the City Hall breaking softly into the sky-line. To the southeast may be seen the mountain hill of the Niagara Peninsula, and in front, as an ocean, the blue waters of Lake Ontario stretch out in seemingly unlimited expanse.

High banks, here sloping gently to a wide and sandy beach, there dropping cliff-like to the water's edge, give picturesque effect, while the quiescent music of incessant wash of waves against the shore lends indescribable charm to the all-enchanting scene.

Along the lakeshore on both sides of the river and extending inward some two miles, the residences of the town nestle in avenues of beautiful shade trees of near a century's growth. Villa alter villa lies midst maple, oak and elm which generations of growth in the native rich and loamy soil have made superbly grand, while along the waterfront and in the park and outskirts majestic pines sough sweetly with the lakeside breeze. It is a place for homes.


The Mississauga Indian, who under Chief Brant played so important a role in the war of 1812, once occupied the land where Oakville now stands. When the Government surveyed this section >f country. 960 acres were here set apart as Indian Reserve. Afterward the Reserve was ceded to the Crown. Under Government instruction and by public advertisement, dated the 10th of July, 1827, Thomas Ridout, then Surveyor-General, announced that the property would be sold by public auction at Crooks Mills, Nelson, on the fifth of August of that year. The sale took place accordingly, the land being purchased by Colonel William Chisholm. He obtained charter from the Government of Upper Canada and immediately commenced the construction of Oakville Harbour, which was completed so as to admit vessels in the year 1830. Colonel Chisholm became the pioneer of the white oak-stave trade, the oak staves being manufactured in Trafalgar and near-by townships and floated down the Sixteen for shipment to Quebec.

The oak-stave trade became the origin of the towns name. Colonel Chisholm laid out the town-site, and the name of Oakville was given by the Hon. Robert Baldwin Sullivan, then Commissioner of Crown Lands. Colonel Chisholm represented the County of Halton in Parliament for sixteen years.

By Act of Parliament Oakville was created a town in July, 1857. Colonel George King Chisholm, a son of Colonel W illiam Chisholm, was unanimously elected first Mayor, which position he held for six consecutive years, namely until the close of the year 1863, when he refused re-nomination. Since then the municipal chair has been filled as follows:- 1863-65: H. F. Romain; 1866: Col. C. K. Chisholm; 1867-70: John Barclay; 1871-72: W. McCraney; 1873-74: Col. C. K. Chisholm; 1875-83: P. A. McDouglad; 1884-87: George Andrew; 1889-91: John Urquhart, M.D.; 1892: Geo. Andrew; 1893: Thomas Patterson; 1894: W. H. Young; 1895: C. C. Marlatt; lsaac. H: W. H. Young; 1898-99: John Crouhart; M.D.; 1900: Hedley Shaw; 1901-03: John Kelley; 1904-05: W. H. Robinson; 1906-07: John Kelley; 1908-09: W. S. Davis; 1910-12: George Hillmer.


The 1912 Council i- thus composed: Mayor, George Hillmer; Beeve, A. S. Forster; Councillors: Walter Whitaker, W. II. Carson, Chas. H. Cross, VV. D. Gregory, J. T. Ma. 1. leu and W. E. Featherstone.

Water and Light Commissioners: C. C. Marlatt, Chairman; Mayor George Hillmer and P. A. Bath; Mrs. M. C. Irvine, Secretary-Treasurer.

Assessmen Commission: Oakville was one of the first towns in Canada to adopt the idea ol an assessment commission. L. D. Snyder. Commissioner; W. S. Savage, Assessor; Robert Marsh and James Hunter, valuators.


The Electric Light and Waterworks are under municipal control, being managed by three commissioners. The mayor is always one of the commissioners. The other two commissioners hold office for two years, one retiring each year, his successor being elected by popular vote at the annual municipal elections. A retiring commissioner is eligible for re-election, Mr. C. <i. Marlatt, for instance, having been a first appointee and successively elected since.

For lighting purposes electricity is secured from the Dominion Power Company at a very low cost and is supplied the residents at moderate rates, and yet sufficiently in advance of cost to net the town a good revenue.

The waterworks system is exceptionally good. The water is secured from Lake Ontario, some half-a-mile out, passes through a filtration basin, pumped into a standpipe and from there distributed to all parts of the town. Official analysis shows the water as of the besl in the Province. It is supplied the residents at low cost, but the commissioners have so managed that a substantial revenue is secured the town from this source.

Sewage, granolithic walks and other local improvements are paid for by a frontage tax extending over a number of years.

For the computing of taxes Oakville property is given low valuation, notwithstanding which the assessment reaches over a million and a half of dollars, and the revenue from taxes, electric light and power, waterworks and other sources reaches considerably over $20,000 a year.

At the present time the town is installing a thorough and most modernly constructed sewage system, on which some hundred thousand dollars is being spent this year. This is of necessity disarranging the streets for traffic to a certain extent, but as soon as work on the sewers is completed the streets are to be paved and otherwise improved at large outlay until they will vie with those of any town in Canada.

Granolithic sidewalks, of which there are already some twenty-five miles, prevail throughout the town and new streets are being constantly laid with it.

The Oakville Fire Brigade is a volunteer organization whose efficiency has been well demonstrated on more than one occasion, notwithstanding that the town has been remarkably free from fires. There are forty-four members with Mr. Alfred Hillmer as their Chief. Fire drills take place regularly once a week. The equipment includes hook-and-Iadder wagon, hose-reels and all the most modern appliances for fighting fire. The water supply is unlimited. It is pumped from Lake Ontario to a large standpipe and carried from there throughout the town. The electric pumping station for filling the standpipe is equipped with the most modern appliance. Hydrants are placed at all needful points of the town. The maximum hydrant pressure registers 120 pounds and the minimum 70 pounds, the Fire Hall is substantially constructed of brick. It is centrally and well located. As a result of the efficiency of the Fire Department the insurance rate set by the fire underwriters is low.

The Public Library and Reading Room would do credit to a much larger town. There are some five thousand volumes in the library, and the reading room is supplied with the best magazines and periodicals of the day. The Reading Room is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. and the Circulating Library from 1:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Mrs. M. C. Irvine is the efficient and courteous librarian; Mr. H. L. Read is Secretary-Treasurer.


The educational interests of Oakville (1912) are under the direction of the following Board: Wm. Busby, Chairman; Rev. I. K. Munro, Dr. C. B. Dorland, D. C. Morgan, H. W. Page, H. W. Litchfield, Alfred Hillmer. H. D, McDermott, T. W. Slean, Thos. Marker. D. LeBarre, Alex. MacDonald, W. O.Joyce; W. E. M. Crawley, Secretary.

The Public School which is situated on the east hank of the river close to the main street, occupies the same ground that it has for generations. Its interior has recently been remodeled and it is now modernly equipped throughout. Between two and three acres of land reaching to the water's edge make ideal playground. There is an average attendance of some three hundred pupils and the school shows a high standard amongst the public schools of the Province. Mr. W. F. Sanderson is principal and is ably assisted by the following teachers: Miss V. Sherman, Miss C. K. Pollock, Miss U. Wolfe. Miss H. K. Browne, Miss V. K. Hunter and Miss K. C. Gilbert.

The Oakville High School is one of the best in the Province, not only as respects the building itself with its four acres of well-planned grounds, but also in the matter of teaching and teaching facilities. present building was completed and opened in the spring of 1910. It is a large and handsome brick edifice with every convenience that science has brought to the art of modern school building. The class-rooms arc spacious, the ceilings high, the corridors wide the ventilation fair changing by automatic device every twenty minutes is perfect. The laboratory is admirably equipped and throughout everything requisite for the conduct of a high-grade institution of learning is provided. An ideal lecture-room gives scope for debates, literan entertainments and public meetings, while two side rooms, one for each sex, give opportunity for preparation of participants. The staff is as follows: L. J. Williams, B. A. (Queens), principal, Mathematics and Science; Miss Winifred Oven. B. A. (Western University), Latin. French and German; Miss Winifred Dengate, H. A. (MacMaster), English, History, Art and Commercial.

On the lakeshore just west of the town is situated the well-known Appleby School for Boys, planned after the great preparatory schools of England. The buildings are new. large and especially constructed to meet all the requirements of a high-class residential school. In addition to usual studies, special attention is given to scientific physical training, boating, riding, etc. The 1ocation on the lake is particularly good. There are some thirty-three acres of beautifully-wooded land, well adapted and well laid out For the purposes of the school. The following is the staff: Headmaster: J. S. H. Guest, M.A. Corpus Christi College, Cambridge), late of Upper Canada College; House Master: V. H. de B. Powell. B.A. (Keble College, Oxford); The Rev. W. S. Blyth, M.A. Toronto University); E. Whittington, B.Sc (London University); Lady Superintendent: Miss Edith Grindley; Assistant Superintendent: Miss Olive Sheringham; Secretary: Mr K. C. Leslie; Physician: V. A. Page, M.D.. (Edinburgh): Physical Training Instructor; Sergt.-Major Joseph Young date of Royal Marines.


The Post Office and Customs House Building is a substantial brick structure on the main street. Mr. L V Cote is Postmaster. Captain Maurice Felan is Collector of Customs. Mr. Wyatt S. Wood, Inspector, and Mr. H Eyre Coote Holmes, Assistant Inspector of Customs, are stationed here.


Lakeside Park comprises some three acres of exceptional beauty stretching along the lakefront close to the Harbour. The banks are high, the beach wide, the outlook over lake superb. Band concerts here on moonlit summer evenings are without compare.

George's Square. This resting-place lies midway between the lake and the Grand Trunk Railway station. It is a delightful grove of mainly pines. The property was presented to the town for park purposes by the late Colonel George King Chisholm.

A new park of some four acres has recently been secured to the town by the acquisition of the old Horticultural and Agricultural Exhibition Grounds. It is proposed to make this an ideal Recreation Park, with proper provision for cricket, lacrosse, baseball, running track, bowling green, tennis courts, etc., and for winter use a large outside skating rink. It is further planned to remodel the building now on the ground and make it suitable for indoor athletics of all kinds, including gymnasium, skating rink with heated dressing rooms for both sexes, and arrangements for entertainments of various kinds, such as celurcs. stage performance, dancing, etc. The whole proposition is unique in Canadian municipal undertakings. According to the plan now in progress of being carried oul the Council is expected to vote a considerable sum towards the necessary outlay and upkeep and the balance requisite is to be secured by subscription. In order that arrangements and regulations may not be subject to the whims of changing municipal councils it is intended that the management shall be placed in the hand of a permanent Board, on which the Council will, of course be represented. A number of prominent residents have already subscribed a substantial amount and a general subscription has been opened.


Those who have heard the Oakville Band resume give praise. Those who have yet to hear it have a musical treat in store. Mr. W. H. Tuck is Bandmaster, and has with him some thirty members, each of whom is a musician trained to his own instrument. In summer evenings concerts are given at Lakeside Park, where lake and music make combined attraction.


Pleasing architecture is a feature of Oakville's churches. There are five. Methodist Rev. H. Dunlop; Anglican, Rev. H. F. D. Woodcock; Presbyterian, Rev. H. K. Munro; Roman Catholic, Rev. Father Savage; American Methodist Episcopal, Rev. Joshua Wickard Edgehill.


The Oakville Club is a select organization that is a credit to and a pride of Oakville citizens. It is open to both sexes. Membership is by ballot. Expenses are paid by membership lees and dues. The Club House, which presents a pleasing exterior of shingle-finish, is situated on the river's cistern hank near to the Harbour. Without, there is a boathouse members, bowling green and tennis courts; within there are rooms for social gatherings, card rooms, dancing room, bowling alley, billiard tables, reading room, and all the perquisites of a well-furnished club. Mr. F. A. Prime is President, Mr. W. S. Davis. Vice-President and Mr. H. I. Read, Secretary.

Besides the Oakville Club the town has its full quota of athletic clubs, covering every variety of sport.


The main line of the Grand Trunk Railway between Toronto and Hamilton passes through Oakville, making connection at these points for all parts of the country.

Fourteen passenger trains stop at the Oakville station daily, giving opportunity to reach the near-by cities at almost any hour of the day or night.

The Canadian Pacific Railway has running rights over the Grand Trunk System on this division, and while its passenger trains do not stop here its freight trains do, making it a competing point with the Grand Trunk.

The Canadian Northern Railway is about to construct a line from Toronto to Hamilton, which it is understood will pass through Oakville and thus further increase the town's rail facilities.

The Hamilton Radial Railway has an hourly service between Oakville and Hamilton A radial line from Toronto now reaches Lome Park, but nine miles from Oakville, and it is promised that this will he completed to Oakville at all early date.


No town in Canada is so uniquely and so advantageously situated as a place of residence as is Oakville. Lying midway between Toronto and Hamilton less than twenty miles from either city it becomes In days of rapid transit but a suburb of the two greatest cities in the Province of Ontario. Little over half an hour takes one by railway or Tram to these cities and this time will be appreciably lessened as facilities increase. While an hour's easy run by auto takes one to either place.

lt will not be many years until Toronto's population reaches the million mark, while Hamilton's growth as a manufacturing city is fast making it one of the great industrial centres of the world. As these cities grow and become congested the demand for suburban homes will constantly increase and more and more will come the desire to live away from the hustle, hustle, heat and dust of the turmoiling city to be able to reach the city daily for business hours and when the day's work is done to practically step into a complete change of atmosphere where clear air and happy surroundings will offset the strenuous work of the business day. This cannot he found in the city itself; miles away, and yet it must he somewhere that affords all of the many modern city conveniences. Oakville not only completely fills all these requirements but it is so close to the near-by cities that advantage may be taken of theatres, concerts and all the many evening enjoyments of a great city and the return home made by the after-theatre trains, while students at the University, Conservatory of Music and like institutions may daily attend and yet be home at night.

In summer and winter alike Oakville is ideal. In summer time the Oakville Beach makes one of the most delightful bathing resorts both lake and river are alluring to lovers of the rod an excellent boathouse affords canoes, rowboats and sailboats lor those who do not possess their own, while the bowling green, tennis courts and near-by golf-links offer their special attractions. In winter time skating, curling and all the bracing, health-giving sports of Canadian winter life are to he had. At home in Oakville one seems as if a thousand miles from stifling city life and yet in actuality is but a step away.

As is natural with the wonderful strides being made by Toronto and Hamilton, Oakville's population (now about 120,000) is rapidly increasing and property values are steadily going upward, and as the residential property in the almost adjoining cities soars in price, there will be a corresponding upward tendency in Oakville real estate. But always, no matter how the near-by cities grow or how congested they become, Oakville from its very position will remain truly suburban, and there will be opportunities for the securing of real villa homes homes that in so-called suburban city lots would run into prohibitive prices


Not even the wonderful Niagara Peninsula nor the famous Annapolis Valley can excel the Oakville District in the raising of fruit. Apple, plum, pear and cherry orchards for miles around not only make a veritable forest of trees, but they produce fruit of the highest grade to be found anywhere in Canada. Vineyards abound, yielding grapes of all varieties. In all directions may be found acres upon acres of highly cultivated bushes bearing blackberries raspberries, black and red currants and gooseberries, while more strawberries are grown in this section than in any other part of the Dominion. Each year the area under yield is growing rapidly and the cultivation becoming scientifically better. In no part of Canada is there such opportunity afforded for investment in fruit lands as in this district, not only because the location and soil are peculiarly adapted to the growth of fruit, but because the great cities of Toronto and Hamilton give immediate markets for everything produced. The completion of the permanent paved roadway between Toronto and Hamilton will still further augment the great advantages of this district to fruit-growers, fanners and market-gardeners by enabling them to utilize motor-trucks to the fullest extent in the transportation of their produce to market.


Owing tn the proximity of Toronto and Hamilton, the vicinity of Oakville enjoys, the most advantageous position in Canada as a place for market gardening and the cultivation of flowers for sale in the two great cities, where the demand is greater than the supply and the prices correspondingly good.

Mr. John Cavers, the well-known horticulturist, has his famous Douglas Gardens at Oakville, and already there are others here who find paying business in flower culture, while vegetable-raising is combined with fruit-growing with highly-profitable results.


Like the Niagara Peninsula the Oakville District is rapidly becoming a centre for small farms, which, through high cultivation and scientific utilization, are proving far more profitable than the old-fashioned hundred-acre farm where unscientific methods were employed.

Not only are these farms devoted to fruit and vegetable growing, but also to the raising of chickens, which, with eggs at present prices and the high market value of poultry, proves a very paying enterprise.

With the marvellous growth of Canadian cities then has come a strong demand for squab. Very few in Canada have entered this business, but now at Oakville Mr. P. A. Bath has established a pigeon farm and is breeding thousands of Ciarneaux pigeons, a Belgian bird of large size, the young of which are reputed to be the finest known squab. Large buildings have been constructed for the pigeons, the most approved nest arrangements have been adopted and modern contrivances of all kinds utilized. It indicates but another development of the small farm for which no district in Canada is so advantageously situated as Oakville.


Land has been the safest form of investment since the world began. That it will so continue is certain. Canada to-day is offering the greatest opportunities fur land investment of any country in the world. Nowhere in Canada is investmenl in land more certain to prove profitable than midway between the rapidly growing cities of Toronto and Hamilton.

This is the Oakville District. A perusal of this booklet proves Oakville to be one of the beauty spots of Canada and pre-eminently suited for the building of country homes. Good mails and better transportation facilities are being advocated for this District by those in high authority. This indicates advance in land values and means that the present is good time to buy.

We have a copy of a book about Oakville which the above was taken from. It is a poor quality scan but none the less can be read so if you'd like to learn more about Oakville in the olden days you can download this book here in pdf format...

Oakville (pdf)

I also spent some days in Oakville and took some pictures which you can view here.

Some links for Oakville...

The Town of Oakville


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