Ontario Heritage Trust / Fiducie du patrimoine ontarien
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September 26, 2015

Come and celebrate our unique heritage!

Whether you are visiting for a few hours, a few days or longer, Oshawa will keep you entertained, relaxed and informed.

We hope you enjoy our Doors Open sites this year, as well as the wonderful parks and gardens located throughout the city.

For complete information about our event, call 905-436-3311, ext. 3146, or toll-free 1-800-667-4292, ext. 3146. Or visit www.Oshawa.ca.

The earliest known settlement near present-day Oshawa began in 1400 when Lake Ontario Iroquois settled a large village of approximately 12 longhouses near what is now known as Harmony Creek. Benjamin Wilson and his family arrived in 1794 at the Oshawa lakefront and established themselves in an abandoned log building originally constructed by French traders in the 1750s.

In 1816, John Kerr became the first settler, purchasing land at the northwest corner of what are now King and Simcoe streets. For many years, the settlement was simply called Kerr’s Creek. In the 1830s, Edward Skae ran a general store at this same corner, and the hamlet soon became known as Skae’s Corners. The name Oshawa was ultimately chosen to represent the settlement – it translates from the native dialect to mean the point at the crossing of the stream where the canoe was exchanged for the trail. Oshawa was incorporated as a village in 1849, and by 1853, the Port of Oshawa was established as a clearing and warehousing port.

Oshawa's industry continued to grow with the coming of the Grand Trunk Railway. Robert McLaughlin relocated to Oshawa in 1876, drawn by its flourishing rail and harbour facilities. With the help of a $50,000 interest-free loan from the town, the McLaughlin Carriage Company quickly developed into the largest carriage works in the British Empire. With the automobile fast gaining popularity, the McLaughlins contracted with the Buick Motor Car Company of Michigan to incorporate the Buick engine in the McLaughlin car. The McLaughlins acquired the rights to build Chevrolets in 1915 and the Chevrolet Motor Car Company of Canada was formed. Three years later, the McLaughlin Motor Car Company and Chevrolet Motor Car Company of Canada merged to create General Motors of Canada Limited – with Robert McLaughlin as its president.

Between 1900 and 1924, the town expanded further – with sewers, hospitals, paved streets and municipal parks. On March 8, 1924, with a population of 15,545, Oshawa was elevated from town to city status. Today, with a population of 157,000, Oshawa is the largest municipality in the Regional Municipality of Durham.

Oshawa is a growing and evolving city that fosters the development of diverse economic sectors and knowledge-based industries. Although still a centre of strength, especially in the field of engineering, automotive is no longer Oshawa’s sole focus. Oshawa’s diversified business platform focuses on five emerging key sectors: advanced manufacturing, health and bioscience, energy generation, multi-modal transportation, and logistics and information technology. Oshawa is home to three highly acclaimed post-secondary institutions – Durham College, Trent University and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). In addition, Queen’s University School of Family Medicine has established a residency program at Lakeridge Health Oshawa.

Oshawa is also rich in arts and cultural assets – with over 500 cultural businesses, events and festivals. The new Culture Counts: Oshawa's Arts, Culture and Heritage Plan, supports and builds on Oshawa’s cultural vitality. This plan, in partnership with community groups and cultural organizations, will guide our arts, culture and heritage for years to come.

Doors Open Oshawa always welcomes volunteers.

Contact us to learn more about joining our volunteer team to make Doors Open Oshawa another resounding success!

Call: 905-436-3311, ext. 3146 or toll-free 1-800-667-4292, ext. 3146

Email: Heritage@Oshawa.ca

Partial wheelchair access

Canadian Automotive Museum

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
99 Simcoe Street South
Oshawa, Ontario
Telephone: 905-576-1222
Year built: 1920
Building type: Museum
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Established in 1961 and housed in a 1920s car dealership, this museum showcases the development of the automobile with approximately 65 vehicles dating from 1898 to 1981, as well as other items relating to these historical cars. The building has its original freight elevator.
Parking
Partial wheelchair access

Cowan House

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
39 Athol Street West
Oshawa, Ontario
Year built: 1858
Style: Georgian
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cowan House, built in 1848, is a Georgian-style dwelling with Italianate properties – seen in the bracketed eaves and portico elements. It was home to businessman and mayor W.F. Cowan and his family. Today, it serves as offices and meeting rooms for St. George's Memorial Church.
Parking
Guided tours available

Intrepid Park, Camp X

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
Boundary Road just south of Wentworth Street West
Oshawa, Ontario
Year built: 1941
Architect: Canadian Corps of Engineers
Landscape type: Landscape
Saturday: tours at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Join renowned author Lynn Phillip Hodgson for a guided tour of Camp X, the former top-secret Second World War spy training school. Meet at the monument in Intrepid Park to explore the remains of the camp, strategically located by the Lake Ontario shore.
Washrooms
Kid-friendly

Lazer X-treme

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
44 Bond Street East
Oshawa, Ontario
Telephone: 416-606-0145
Year built: 1951
Building type: Attraction
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Lazer X-treme is located in the former United Automobile Workers Local 222 union hall. Built in 1951, this building housed what was once the largest union local in North America. Thousands of autoworkers organized to vigorously defend local autonomy and democracy, vitally shaping Oshawa's cultural heritage. Now a popular laser-tag venue, Lazer X-treme offers fun and excitement for all ages!
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms

Oshawa Community Museum

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
Special exhibit at Oshawa City Hall, 50 Centre Street South
Oshawa, Ontario
Telephone: 905-436-7624
Year built: c. 1840
Building type: Museum
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Oshawa Community Museum tells the story of Oshawa’s history, from its earliest First Nation inhabitants to present times. This year, staff will be on hand at Oshawa City Hall to inform visitors about the museum, and Oshawa’s exciting history will be displayed through photographs, artifacts, videos and brochures.
Parking
Washrooms
Guided tours available

Oshawa Masonic Temple

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
91 Centre Street South
Oshawa, Ontario
Telephone: 905-433-1911
Year built: 1928
Architect: C.C. Stenhouse
Style: Art deco
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Constructed in the art deco style and shrouded in symbolism, this building is now home to four lodges and two concordant bodies. This Doors Open event is a unique chance to view the lodge room and library.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Kid-friendly

Oshawa Municipal Airport

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
1200 Airport Blvd.
Oshawa, Ontario
Telephone: 905-576-8146
Year built: 1940-96
Building type: Attraction, Commercial, Transportation
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at some aviation businesses and services supporting the aviation industry. This Doors Open event will include hands-on activities for kids, exhibitor booths, information for hangar purchase/rental and several displays. Visitors can take the free shuttle bus between various airport venues and activities. Food and sightseeing flights are available for purchase throughout the day.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Kid-friendly

Robert McLaughlin Gallery, The

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
72 Queen Street
Oshawa, Ontario
Telephone: 905-576-3000
Year built: 1969; Erickson addition 1987
Architect: Arthur Erickson
Building type: Museum
Saturday: Noon to 4 p.m.
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery was built in 1969 as a square, stone, modernist structure. It was expanded in 1987 by architect Arthur Erickson, who built around the existing structure, incorporating the original stone façade into the dramatic lobby, which is flooded with natural light, skylights and soaring ceilings.
Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Washrooms

St. George's Memorial Church

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
51 Centre Street South
Oshawa, Ontario
Year built: 1924
Architect: Eden Smith; parish hall designed by Forsey Page & Steele
Style: Gothic revival
Building type: Place of worship
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
St. George's opened in 1924 – the same year Oshawa became a city. Constructed of Credit Valley sandstone in the Gothic-revival style, designer Eden Smith considered this to be his finest work. The buttresses and Gothic tracery are noteworthy; the tower supports a 15-bell carillon. The parish hall was a later addition. Drop in for an organ concert during Doors Open.
Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Guided tours available

Simcoe Street United Church

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
66 Simcoe Street South
Oshawa, Ontario
Year built: 1867-68
Architect: Gundy & Langley
Style: Gothic revival
Building type: Place of worship
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Built in the year of Confederation for a Methodist congregation, this church is a fine example of the Gothic revival style. Lancet-arched openings and a polygonal spire with pinnacles and dormers embellish the exterior. A Casavant organ, ornamental timber arches 11 metres (36 feet) high and a pressed-tin ceiling dominate the interior.