Oakville is located on the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. The Town of Oakville was founded in 1857 by Colonel William Chilsolm, who purchased the land at the 16 Mile and 12 Mile (now known as Bronte) Creeks.
The population in 1846 was 1,500. The community shipped large quantities of wheat and lumber via schooners and the railway. There were three churches, a grist mill and saw mill, and various small companies making threshing machines, wagons, watches, saddles, and metal goods.
Oakville's industries also included shipbuilding. In the 1850s, there was an economic recession and the foundry, the most important industry in town, was closed. Basket-making became a major industry in the town, and the Grand Trunk Railway was built through it. In 1869, the population was 2,000. The community was served by the Great Western Railway and it was a port on Lake Ontario.
The town eventually became industrialized with the opening of Cities Service Canada (now Petro Canada) and Shell Canada oil refineries, the Procor factory, and, most importantly, the Ford Motor Company's Canadian headquarters and plant, all close to the Canadian National Railway and the Queen Elizabeth Way highway between Toronto and Fort Erie.
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