Oakville’s dairy history showcased at Palermo Schoolhouse presentation


Published November 8, 2023 at 11:45 am

oakville dairy pic
David Hawkins, author of a book on Oakville's dairy industry, made a presentation on the subject at Palermo Public Schoolhouse Tuesday evening

‘Milking’ the history of Oakville’s dairy industry was the theme of a presentation Tuesday night at the Palermo Public Schoolhouse on Dundas Street.

David Hawkins, who literally wrote the book on the subject – Oakville and Bronte Dairies and Milk Bottles – in 2019 was on hand to talk about the history of the main dairies in Oakville, which formed an integral part in the town’s history.

Those in attendance also heard about the smaller dairies that existed over the years and got a peek at some of the early dairy collectibles that were on display. Put on by the Trafalgar Historical Society, who said there was a “good turnout,” with many of those who made the trip bringing their own collectibles saved over the years.

The genesis for the book came from a 2011 exhibition (From Dairy to Doorstep) organized by Hawkins and the Oakville Historical Society.

Carolyn Cross, the Curator of Collections for the Oakville Museum, said she was happy to work with Hawkins on the project because the dairy industry’s “interesting past” and the fact Oakville residents knew very little about it.

“We were eager to work together to provide the public with an opportunity to view a rich collection of dairy artifacts and learn about an aspect of our community’s history which had previously been ignored by historians.”

Hawkins, who has an extensive private collection of artifacts, archival material and photographs, “really brought the local dairy industry to life” with his book, she added. Hawkins’ collection also allowed the museum to present a “broad and revealing history” that was a big success. “Thousands of visitors came to enjoy the display and learn something new.”

As Hawkins noted in his book, information on Oakville’s dairy past had long been forgotten. “This very important part of Oakville’s history deserved to be preserved.”

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