Oshawa: 100 Years

January 13th, 2024 – January 12th, 2025

Oshawa Incorporated as a City, 1924. The Thomas Bouckley Collection.

This year marks one hundred years since Oshawa was incorporated as a city. From humble beginnings with a population of 16,000, today more than 172,000 people call Oshawa home. Through historical photographs from the Thomas Bouckley Collection, this exhibition explores what life was like in Oshawa in 1924.

Oshawa was established as the 25th city in Ontario on March 8th, 1924. A letter written by the Premier of Ontario, G.H. Ferguson, featured on the front page of the Oshawa Daily Telegram. He wrote: “As the home of a great portion of our automotive industry, Oshawa feels a growing and a permanent need in the life of the nation.” Industry in Oshawa was indeed booming. General Motors of Canada encouraged a growth in population from 4,000 to 16,000 over the previous decade. The city celebration was marked with a parade and the year was filled with various events that reflected Oshawa’s new status. In 1924, Mayor W.J. Trick oversaw the dedication of the Cenotaph in Memorial Park in honour of those lost in WWI, and there was the construction of the water tower which was thought at the time to be the largest in the world.

This exhibition looks back on the earliest recorded memories of the Oshawa’s city status. As we look toward the future, we can reflect on how far we have come, the immense progress the city has made, and what kind of city we want to be in the next 100 years.