The evolution of Oakville began at the mouth of Sixteen Mile Creek which starts at the Niagara Escarpment and flows into Lake Ontario.
The Mississauga Native People had possession of hunting lands around the Creek, which forced preliminary development of lands along what is now Dundas Street. Small settlements grew to support early settlers and travellers, and in 1820, with the land considered worthless for hunting, the Crown took possession of the land around the Twelve and Sixteen Mile Creeks from the Natives.
Colonel William Chisholm
1n 1827, William Chisholm purchased 960 acres at the mouth of the Sixteen Mile Creek from the government for shipping timber and other products. Oakville prospered from that point on, with businesses such as McDermott’s Barrel Factory, Whitaker’s Carriage Works, the Marlatt and Armstrong tannery, and the Oakville Basket Factory. The Strawberry Festival was also a big draw, attracting people from Toronto via small lake steamers.
These days, Oakville Harbour is home to many power boats and yachts which can be seen lining the 16 Mile Creek. Back in the 1800’s however, it was a bustling shipping port. Its ship building yards produced many fine ships made in part of local white oak. These boats would travel as far as South Africa, and the yacht called ‘Canada’ built in Oakville would be the first to win the Canada’s Cup.
Why Is It Called Oakville?
There are several versions of the story and nobody is certain. The Natives gave Chisholm the name ‘White Oak’ because of his dealing in oak staves. A friend of his, Robert Sullivan call him ‘White Oak’ for his truth, honesty and character. And finally, Chisholm’s father lived in Tryon County, New York, where there was an Oaksville. It’s believed that this also had an influence upon the name of Oakville upon his arrival back to Canada after the Revolutionary War.
Whatever it’s origin, the Town of Oakville has continued to prosper and grow steadily. It has maintained a warm and welcoming feel through the process, a reputation that Oakville is proud to sustain into this century.
History of Lawson Park
Mr. Lawson, an Oakville resident, contributed handsomely to the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and to the grounds and facilities of Lawson Park. Subsequently, the Town of Oakville named the park Lawson Park after his death in 1980. His generous donation of this land to the Town will never be forgotten, and today the residents of south east Oakville have him to thank whenever they visit and enjoy the historic Lawson Park.