Discover Oshawa, Ontario: A City of History and Innovation

Oshawa, Ontario, a city located on the Lake Ontario shoreline, is a vibrant community with a rich history and a promising future. With a population of 175,383 in 2021, it is the largest municipality in the Regional Municipality of Durham. Oshawa is approximately 60 km east of Downtown Toronto and is often considered the eastern anchor of the Greater Toronto Area and the Golden Horseshoe.

Oshawa, Ontario: A Historical Overview

The area that would become Oshawa started as a transfer point for the fur trade. The name Oshawa originates from the Ojibwa term aazhawe, meaning "the crossing place" or just "a cross". The city was founded in 1876 as the McLaughlin Carriage Company by Robert McLaughlin, and later became McLaughlin Motors Ltd under his son, Sam. The headquarters of General Motors of Canada are located in the city, reflecting its long history with the automotive industry.

In the late 18th century, local resident Roger Conant started an export business shipping salmon to the United States. His success attracted further migration into the region. A large number of the founding immigrants were United Empire Loyalists, who left the United States to live under British rule. Later, Irish and then French Canadian immigration increased as did industrialization.

The Birth of the Automotive Industry in Oshawa, Ontario

The automotive industry has played a significant role in shaping Oshawa. Col. R. S. McLaughlin and "Billy" Durant signed a 15-year contract in 1907, under which the McLaughlin Motor Car Company began to manufacture automobiles under the McLaughlin name, using Buick engines and other mechanical parts. This marked the start of the automotive industry in the city.

The factory expanded rapidly, eventually covering several blocks. The growing usage of the automobile in the 1920s generated rapid expansion of Oshawa, which grew in population from 4,000 to 16,000 during this decade, and of its land area.

Oshawa, Ontario: A Modern Hub for Education and Health Sciences

While Oshawa was once recognized as the sole "Automotive Capital of Canada", today it is an education and health sciences hub. The city is home to three post-secondary institutions: Durham College, Trent University Durham, and Ontario Tech University. It also hosts the Lakeridge Health Education and Research Network (LHEARN), in association with Lakeridge Health Oshawa.

Despite the shift towards education and health sciences, General Motors still plays a significant role in the city's economy. After having been closed for about 2 years, the Oshawa car assembly plant reopened on 10 November 2021, when the first Canadian-made Chevy Silverado was completed.

Exploring Downtown Oshawa, Ontario

Downtown Oshawa is identified as an Urban Growth Centre in the Government of Ontario's Places to Grow initiative. More than 5,000 people work and more than 2,400 university students study in the downtown core. The downtown is a prominent centre for entertainment and sporting events, food, and culture. Oshawa is home to a Regional Innovation Centre and offers start-up facilities for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Attractions in Oshawa, Ontario

Oshawa has parks, walking trails, conservation areas, indoors and outdoor public swimming pools, community centres, and sports facilities. Lakeview Park stretches along the coast of Lake Ontario, complete with a sandy beach, and is the location of the Oshawa Museum. The city also hosts many annual festivals and events including the Oshawa Peony Festival, Kars on King, and Oshawa Fiesta Week.

Transportation in Oshawa, Ontario

Oshawa is well-connected with various modes of transportation. GO Transit trains connect the city with Toronto, Hamilton and points between. The Oshawa Station is owned by the national rail carrier Via Rail, which operates a service along the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. The Port of Oshawa is a major stop for the auto and steel industries as well as winter road salt handling and agricultural fertilizer.

Discover the charm, history, and innovation of Oshawa, Ontario, a city that continues to grow and thrive while honoring its rich past.