Community News: A Brief History of Historic Oakville

Goodale Miller Team


Oakville evolved from a thriving port of entry for sailors and merchants to the town that it is today through its hundreds of years of history. In the early 1800s, the town of Oakville was both the end point for the Underground Railroad and the outpost of British North America - both influential factors as to how Oakville flourished.

Oakville Museum and its Role in History

Much of the history of Oakville and its cities can be found in the Museums around the town, the most famous of which is of course the Oakville Museum which is home to historic buildings such as the Custom House and Bank of Toronto, the Thomas House which was built in 1829, the Old Post Office which dates back to 1835 and the Erchless Estate which stood the test of time since 1858. It is in the time-etched walls of these buildings in which one can almost feel the town’s history and hence, appreciate the present day Oakville that we have today.
The Customs House was built in 1856 by the son of one of the town’s first Customs Inspector, William Chisholm. One room in the building was used by the Bank of Toronto until the building was boarded up in 1910. In the 1930s, it was renovated and reopened as a family home. It was in 1983 that the Customs House was restored and opened to the public through the efforts of the Oakville Historical Society with support from the municipal and provincial governments.
The Thomas House was built to be the original home of the Merrick Thomas family in 1829. It wasn’t originally located in Lakeside Park but was moved there in 1955 by the Oakville Historical society and Hazel Chisholm Matthews. The house is open to the public during summer months and is under the care of the Oakville Historical Society.
The Old Post Office, or rather, Oakville's first post office was constructed in 1835 with William Chisholm serving as the first postmaster. Originally situated in the southwest corner of Lakeshore Road (Colborne) and Navy Street, the building was moved in 1952 to Lakeside Park to be a part of the first Museum in Oakville. Tour in the Old Post Office is only possible during summer months when the building is open for hands-on postal related activities such as creating wax seals and writing with a quill pen as well as tours.
The Erchless Estate was the home of 6 generations of the Chisholm family for more than 130 years. Named after the original Chisholm home in Inverness-shire Scotland, Robert Kerr Chisholm completed the home in 1858. The Erchless Estate left the hands of the Chisholm family in the 1960s when it was sold and was then divided to become separate apartments.
The Town of Oakville bought Erchless Estate in 1977 and it was opened to the public in the 18th day of May, 1991. To this day, restoration of the home is still ongoing.
As for the Erchless Estate gardens and grounds, they have been carefully restored to their original appearance with the help of photographs taken in the 1930s. Oakville’s Parks and Open Space department maintain the gardens and grounds at the Erchless Estate, giving visitors enjoyable picturesque views of the lakeside as well as the many historical items in the area.
Without a doubt, the Oakville Museum resonates with the history of the town and its cities. Through the items, buildings and other things housed in the museum, once can see a glimpse of Oakville in different periods of time and how it became the town that it is today.
Want to be a part of Oakville’s history? Give us a call to know more about the available luxury homes in the historical areas of Oakville. Your family name may not be from the founding fathers of the town but that doesn’t mean you cannot carve a place for your own.

Work With Us

Our approach at the Goodale Miller Team is simple: investing in your success is an investment in our success. We deliver world class marketing, in-depth market intelligence and calibrated negotiation savvy.

Let's Connect