Located in the beautiful natural surrounding of Halton Region and a whopping 30-minute (30 Kilometre) drive from downtown Toronto is the town of Oakville. Although it’s been ranked as one of the top 5 places to live in Canada, it is often overlooked as a tourist or day trip destination.
It has much to offer, including a vibrant arts scene and natural scenery waiting to be discovered, great shopping, dining, entertainment, festivals, history and more! With its small-town feeling, it’s easy to walk around for hours on end without getting bored.
Oakville also has a special connection to black history because it was once home to a large number of African Americans who had escaped from slavery during the Civil War. But when it comes to things to do, Oakville does not disappoint. We have compiled a list of some of our favourite fun things to do in Oakville, Ontario.
This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.
History Of Oakville | What’s Oakville known for?
- The Chisholms of Erchless Estate – On August 1st, 1827, William Chisholm bought 960 acres of land from Queen Victoria at the mouth of SixteenMile Creek and planned out the town of Oakville and Oakville Harbour.
- By 1834, the town of Oakville had become an official port of entry into Canada and an extension to the Underground Railroad. Ships from Oakville often sailed through the Great Lakes and beyond. Many slaves were assisted by ship captains by hiding them in grain vessels.
- Oakville also has some of Ontario’s best golf courses, including the famous Glen Abbey Golf Club.
Getting To Oakville From Toronto
The easiest way to get to Oakville is by driving directly there. There are several options for you to choose from depending on your location. For example, if you are coming from Toronto, take Highway 401 North towards Hamilton and exit at Exit 22 (Halton Hills). This will bring you into the Town of Halton Hills which is located right next to Oakville.
If you want to avoid traffic, we recommend taking the 407 Westbound towards Burlington and exiting at Exit 23 (Burlington) and then continuing onto Highway 404 East towards Oakville.
If you’re, coming from Downtown Toronto, take the Gardiner Expressway Westbound towards Highway 427 South and exit at Exit 21 (Dundas Street). Then continue onto Highway 403 East to reach Oakville.
You can also take public transportation to get to Oakville. The closest bus stop to the town centre is at Dundas St W & Main St. You can catch the GO Transit buses that run between Union Station and Oakville. They leave every 15 minutes. By Train
Places To Visit In Oakville
Go For A Hike
Halton Region is known for its green spaces and Oakville is no different. With over 1,400 hectares of parkland and 200km of trails, nature is one of the top Oakville attractions.
Bronte Creek Provincial Park is located right at the western edge of town. The hiking trails are great for walking or cycling or bring your fishing rod, relax and go fishing. Swimming in the park’s outdoor pool is fun, camping is available in the park, as well as a historic house, nature center and children’s farm.
Sixteen Mile Creek
The main loop trail is a little over 6 km long, and the path crosses the creek on both sides. There are some sections with hills, but the paths are relatively flat and not too busy. There are plenty of lookouts, you might see some wildlife, and the woods are gorgeous.
The Moccasin Trail is part of Ontario’s heritage trails which encourage hikers to explore the land from a First Nations perspective. There are a series of 13 Indigenous plaques that share Indigenous tales and offer a deeper understanding of Indigenous cultures.
Visiting during or after a fresh snowfall is nothing sort of stunning.
Glen Abbey Golf Club
The Jack Nicklaus Golf Course, designed by the legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, is one of the most popular courses in the whole country! Glen Abbey Golf Club hosted a total of 25 Canada Open Championships to date. As a matter of fact, in 2000, Tiger Woods beat Grant Waite at Augusta National Golf Club.
If you’re a hardcore golf fanatic, also located on the Glen Abby Golf Club property is the Canadian Golf Hall Of Fame where you can learn about the history of golf in Canada. Besides a museum that displays historic materials and keeps records, the Canadian Golf Association Hall of Fame has inducted people who have been players, coaches, and course architects.
Some of the inductees in the hall of fame include Stephen Michael Ames, Michael Richards Weir, Sandra Post, Stanley Thompson and Jack William Nicklas.
Downtown Oakville Things To Do! Shop & Dine
Known as Downtown Oakville, old Oakville sits along Lake Ontario in South-Central Oakville. It’s a lively neighbourhood that’s worth exploring.
Old Oakville has an old town feel to it, complete with trendy restaurants, great bars, art galleries and specialty shops as well as a number of high-end boutiques.
Burrows Clothiers (Upscale clothing)
Burrow’s Clothiers was founded back in 1976 and each item is hand-picked by the Burrows buying staff who constantly travel the globe for the latest fashions. With friendly, knowledgeable employees and the talents of a skilled master tailor, their reputation of exceptional quality and service is one they appreciate and strive to preserve.
Village Cigar Company & Barbershop
After visiting the original location, a visit to Village Cigars & Barbershops is highly recommended. Especially after picking up some new duds at Burrows. They continued to expand their offering of fine cigars from all over the world on a weekly basis. Enter the 100 square feet walk-in humidor. Purchase a fine cigar. Enjoy on location or take it back home. All while offering traditional barber services from an expert in-house barber.
Maker’s Mojo (locally-made products)
The Maker’s Mojo focuses on niche products, small batches, and handmade goods. The products are made by hand by craftsmen local to Oakville and all over Canada.
The Simple Kitchen Oakville
The Simple Kitchen has been a source for low carb, paleo, and gluten-free products, including healthy whole foods for takeaway, granolas, and drinks, as well natural body care products.
Tribeca Coffee Co.
Tribeca Coffee Company opened its doors in 2016 as a specialty coffee house in the center of downtown Oakville. They pride themselves on making the best coffee and tea and serving it with the most excellent customer service, preparation, knowledge, and experience.
Wallflower Doughnuts is a co-brand of Tribeca Coffee that began in July of 2021. Their mission is to elevate the experience of a well-loved Canadian staple. Wallflower produces fresh baked goods every day using products from local farmers, businesses in the Greater Toronto area. Love is all you knead.
Nyla‘s Room embraces each customer by celebrating some of the world‘s best-loved comforts foods with Jamaica’s North Coast. hospitality. We wouldn’t be surprised if you find it hard to leave as the staff are absolutely incredible, fun and welcoming!
Nyla was influenced by her family’s history and her appreciation for the cuisine and hospitality she experienced when travelling. Nyla’s room is a Gelato/Coffee Shop meets Tea Room.
Visit Bronte Village & Kerr Village
Go for a walk through the village and browse shops in the local boutiques. Or go shopping. There are fine art galleries, antique shops, jewellery stores and home decor shops, and much more.
Other Oakville Attractions, History & Culture
Oakville Museum (Erchless Estate)
For history buffs, one of the best Oakville attractions is the Oakville Museum and Archives, which is the former home of members of the Chisholms, who founded the town. The estate has been converted into a historical site and museum.
Not only is the museum’s architecture, grounds, and garden magnificent, inside the museum you’ll find an impressive collection of costumes, textiles, ethnological artifacts and decor that belonged to the family’s members.
The Black History permanent exhibit at Oakville’s Museum of Oakville tells the stories of many of our African-American families who came to Oakville and were important contributors to the development of our town.
On display is Bransons Johnson’s certificate of freedom from a Maryland court and his pocket watch in which it had it hidden in for many years.
Guided tours are available, but you can also explore the museum on your own.
Black History Self Guided Tour
Created in partnership with the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton, these 2 self-guided tours take you through either Kerr Village or Bronte Village (by bike) for a look at local landmarks that are significant to the Black experience in Oakville. Download the Driftscape app and away you go!
Oakville Galleries Og2
Oakville Galleries believes in the singular power of arts and artists to deepen our understandings of ourselves and our communities and move us toward a brighter future.
The Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts
Since its opening in 1976, the Oakville Centre For The Performing Arts has been an important part of the cultural life in Oakville, Ontario. It’s the only professional-quality performing arts centre in the town, sitting in the heart of downtown.
Oakville Centre is an excellent place for people who enjoy live theatre. It presents over 70 professional performances every year and supports 230 additional presentations by local community groups.
Events In Oakville
- KerrFest is one of the most biggest event in Kerr Village, Oakville. It typically runs around September.
- For the Love of Art Festivals in the spring or Midnight Madness in July.
- Downtown Oakville Holiday Happy Hour in the winter and Midnight Madness in the summer are not to be missed!
- Oakville Film Festival features films that are locally and internationally produced.
- If you’re into food, you should definitely check out the annual Oakville Family rib fest or Taste of Oakville!
There are several other festivals throughout the year, such as the Oakville Fringe Festival, the Oakville Film Festival and the Oakville Wine Festival.
Things To Do In Oakville With Kids
Kelso Conservation Area for the beach!
There are several beaches in Oakville itself, including one right next to the town centre. However, the beach at the Kelsey Conservation Area is worth driving to nearby Milton.
During the summer, Lake Kelso offers a beautiful beach, complete with a walkway, boat rentals, and food concessions. Rent a canoe, a kayak, or a paddleboat to go out on the water, or just relax on the beach and get some sun.
As mentioned at the top, swimming in the Bronte Creek Provincial Park’s massive outdoor pool is fun, camping is available as well as a historic house, nature center and children’s farm.
Royal Botanical Gardens
The Royal Botanical Garden is unlike any other garden you’ve ever visited, with over 11 square kilometres of gardens divided into five distinct areas making it a wonderful place to wander around. There are both indoor displays and outdoor displays, wedding venues and a cute little cafe with a patio to relax and smell the roses.
Things To Do Near Oakville, Head To The Racetrack
One of the fun things to do near Oakville not that far away in Campbellville is Mohawk Racetrack. It’s a harness racing track with an eight-and-a-half-mile circumference track. Mohawk Racetracks has hosted a number of races, including the North America cup, the Canadian trotting classic and the Breeders crown.
Final Word On Fun Things To Do In Oakville Today
We hope you enjoyed reading our article on things to do in Oakville. Halton Region is a beautiful part of Ontario and we encourage you to plan a weekend in Oakville or combine Oakville with things to do in Burlington and things to do in Milton.