Heritage and History - Visit Oakville

Heritage and History

Visitors to Oakville often comment that a walk through the town feels like a walk through time.


Heritage Trails


About 57 kilometres of Oakville Heritage Trails, first linked and signed in the year 2000, provide new and interesting insights into Oakville and its environment.

For a different type of historical experience, enjoy the 57km of Oakville Heritage Trails (www.oakville.ca) that link all areas of the community and reflect on our natural and architectural heritage. The Trails are accessible to walkers, joggers and cyclists and feature information stations, describing over eighty stories about Oakville land and its people, from 9000 BC to 2000 AD. Explore our Heritage Trails by following the links below:

Bronte Creek Trail
Crosstown Trail
Joshua’s Creek Trail
Sixteen Mile Creek Trail
Waterfront Trail
Moccasin Trail

Bronte Heritage Trail

Discover the rich history and culture of the Bronte Heritage Trail. This new project was designed to present the unique roots of our community in an accessible manner and promote Canada’s 150th year of Confederation.

Download the Bronte BIA App, for iPhone or Android, to access historical information from the e-beacons located throughout Bronte Village.


Oakville Museum at Erchless Estate – Closed effective March 13 at 6 p.m. in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Access their virtual tour here.


Preservation of heritage buildings, many dating back to the early 1800’s, are marked by signage that identify original owners. This includes the historic buildings of Erchless Estate, built by Oakville’s founding family, the Chisholms, which is now home to the Oakville Museum. Enjoy year-round exhibits and special events, open Tuesday to Sunday and holiday Mondays year-round from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Sovereign House – Closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
7 West River Street


The Bronte Historical Society’s Sovereign House was constructed by Charles Sovereign between 1825 and 1846. From 1910-1915 it was occupied by one of Canada’s famous authors, Mazo de la Roche. A copy of the Sovereign journals, which contain detailed insight into the construction of the house, is available on location. The House is operated as a heritage display centre for local history and showcases artifacts related to the builder, the lifestyles of the 1800s and the harbour. There are rotating exhibits and the surrounding gardens are cultivated in the 1910 style with pleasant walkways beside the lake.

Art On The Bluffs is a showcase of local artists hosted in the North Wing of Sovereign House during the Summer season. The exhibit rooms are Open to the Public from May 23 to October 21, every Saturday, Sunday & Wednesday from 1 – 4 p.m. Admission is free, donations are welcome.


The Merrick Thomas House – Closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
144 Front Street in Lakeside Park


Built in 1829 as the original home of the Merrick Thomas family, the Thomas House is furnished and presented as a pioneer home of the 1830 – 1840’s, with many original family items. The house is operated by the Society and is open during the summer months when Society volunteers act as guides. Learn the history of the family and the house (with fascinating details of life in the early 1800’s) and be sure to ask how many people lived there! Thomas House is open 1:30-4 p.m. from Victoria Day Weekend to Labour Day, Saturday, Sunday and Holidays, plus during July and August, Tuesday – Thursday. Closed Labour Day. Admission is free, donations are welcome.


Howard Iron Works Printing Museum & Restoration – Closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
800 Westgate Road
(905) 821-0000

Howard Iron Works Printing Museum & Restoration

The Howard Iron Works museum showcases man’s greatest accomplishments. The current collection features an impressive selection of iron presses, cylinders, platens and bindery equipment. In addition, their library also features a collection of vintage printing-related books, technical and trade journals. This museum has printing machinery from many periods dating from the 1830’s to the 1950’s. This was the era of profound change for society. As the ever-increasing demand for more knowledge spread, the printing press responded and a cornucopia of designs – some profound, others a flop – made their way to the farthest corners of the earth. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday by appointment only.


Learn about Oakville’s history at the Oakville Public Library – Closed effective March 13 at 6 p.m. in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Central Branch: 120 Navy Street
(905) 815-2042

Oakville Public Library

Discover Oakville Public Library’s growing collection of research materials, unique to the history of Oakville and its people.

The library has many local history resources, including digitized archives, genealogy resources and the unique ‘Oakville Room’, housing thousands of local history records, pictures and microfilm. OPL also has a Local Collections Librarian who can help support your local history, ancestry or genealogy search.

The Oakville Room is located at the Central Branch of the Oakville Public Library, 120 Navy St., Oakville, Ontario.


Historical Societies

Oakville’s three historical societies play a vital role in preservation, education and celebration of our local history. Contact them for more details on current events and exhibits.

Oakville Historical Society
110 King Street

Bronte Historical Society at Sovereign House
7 West River Street

Trafalgar Township Historical Society at the Palermo Schoolhouse
2431 Dundas Street

Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum – Closed effective March 13 at 6 p.m. in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Glen Abbey Golf Club
1333 Dorval Drive
905-849-9700 ext. 265


Oakville, long known as “the home of the Canadian Open” is also home to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, located on the grounds of Glen Abbey Golf Course. The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum is a great way to celebrate the game of golf. From champions and championships, to golf’s unique role in Canadian history, to the technical specifications of equipment manufacturing, the spectrum of golf is captured as you tour the site. The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame celebrates the outstanding individuals of Canadian golf from players – both amateur and professional – to the builders, architects and others who have been fundamental to the evolution of the game in this country. Operated by Golf Canada, the Hall of Fame, museum and library are open to visitors to discover more about the game and the inductees. For more information, please visit heritage.golfcanada.ca.

Hours of operation:

April – October: Monday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

November – March: Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Weekends and holidays – through guided tours. Click here to book a guided tour.