OPL Oakville Heritage Moments: Oakville's Literary History
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- Video recordings
- This video is part of a series titled 'Oakville Heritage Moments.' Produced by the Oakville Public Library, these videos aim to focus on snapshots of Oakville's history. This video focuses on the notable authors of Oakville.
- Video written and produced by the Oakville Public Library’s Digital Heritage Assistant, 2018. Narrated by Lisa Williams.
Photos from Oakville Images, Oakville Historical Society, Oakville Museum, Library and Archives Canada, FLickr, Wikimedia Commons, Toronto Archives, McCord Museum, Library of Congress, Bronte Historical Society, David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, Trafalgar Township Historical Society, Town of Oakville, The Oakville Beaver.
Music: Le Plus Que Lente - Claude Debussy, performed by Gerluz via musopen.org.
Special thanks to the Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
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- Protected by copyright: Uses other than research or private study require the permission of the rightsholder(s). Responsibility for obtaining permissions and for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Oakville Public Library
Agency street/mail address
Oakville Public Library
120 Navy Street
Oakville ON L6J 2Z4
Tel: (905) 815-2042
For information about photographs, news articles, or other information included in this database, please contact the Local Collections Librarian by email.
The Town of Oakville has been featured in a number of books since its founding, all thanks to the work of Oakville authors throughout history.
One of Oakville’s most notable authors is Hazel Chisholm Hart Matthews. Born in Oakville in 1897 and continuing to live here for most of her life, there is no doubt that the town is alive in her writing. This is most clear in her book Oakville and the Sixteen, published in 1953, which chronicles the history of Oakville from the founding up until the 1950s. Unsurprisingly it took several years to compile. The book was illustrated by Matthews’s sister Juliet Chisholm, who also wrote and Illustrated a children’s book about her cat.
A short-time Oakville resident was early 1900s author Mazo de la Roche. De la Roche was notable for writing an explosive book series called “Jalna”. In all, there were 16 novels that told the story of the eccentric Whiteoak family living in the Jalna manor, which is partially based on a house in Mississauga. Although she began writing the series a few years after moving out of the Sovereign House in Bronte, it is believed that the locations within Jalna reflect Oakville, as it is where she conceived of the idea for her books.
Another author who has left their mark on Oakville is Lawrence Hill, author of several fiction and nonfiction books including The Book of Negroes, Blood: The Stuff of Life, and most recently The Illegal. His novel Any Known Blood was written while living in Oakville, and he used resources at both the Oakville museum and historical society in order to make the location in the book come to life. The character Robert Wilson has a house on Navy street, which is where Bookmark 15 of the Project Bookmark Literary trail stands.