The Getaway
Oshawa Awaits: Top Picks for an Amazing Visit

Oshawa, a city that's a treasure trove of unexpected delights and unique attractions, is beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Ontario. It's not just a city; it's a vibrant tapestry of culture, industry, and nature. Known as a hub for Hollywood productions, Oshawa has seen many a star grace its streets. As the epicenter of the automobile industry, it's a city that's constantly on the move, pulsating with energy and innovation. Oshawa is also a cultural hotspot, boasting a thriving arts scene that's as diverse as it is dynamic. It's a culinary paradise, too, with a landscape dotted with some of Canada's most renowned chefs who are constantly pushing the boundaries of gastronomy. For outdoor enthusiasts, Oshawa is a dream come true. With a plethora of hiking trails within a stone's throw of the city center and a myriad of other outdoor attractions, it's a city that truly celebrates the great outdoors. Shopping aficionados will be thrilled with the city's offerings, from quaint boutiques to bustling markets. This makes Oshawa an ideal destination for a long weekend getaway or as a base to explore the broader Ontario region. So, buckle up and get ready as we dive into these inspirational ideas for your visit to this dynamic, ever-evolving city.


01 Visit the Canadian Automotive Museum

At the core of Oshawa's industrial culture lies its deep-rooted connection with automobiles. The Canadian Automotive Museum, a treasure trove for car enthusiasts, boasts the world's most exceptional collection of Canadian vehicles. This includes a futuristic 2008 Zenn Electric and a vintage 1903 Redpath Messenger. The museum also houses an impressive display of Rolls Royces and American automobiles, catering to the tastes of classic car lovers. Motorcycle enthusiasts will be thrilled with the collection that includes a sleek 1929 Henderson Streamliner and a rugged 1933 Francis-Barnett Black Hawk.


02 Explore the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens

Garden path Gail Shotlander / Getty Images

Nestled amidst ancient trees, the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens is a haven for nature lovers. Known for its diverse and seasonal displays, the garden boasts over 300 varieties of peonies, offering a riot of colors and fragrances. The garden also features a large and vibrant collection of daylilies that bloom seasonally. A memory garden offers a tranquil retreat throughout the year, while the park's waterfalls and walking trails that follow the natural confluence of the Oshawa Valley Creek provide a serene escape from the city's hustle and bustle.


03 Check out Oshawa Zoo

family looking at monkeys kali9 / Getty Images

Perfect for a family day out, the Oshawa Zoo, though smaller than most, is home to over 40 species of animals. From vibrant macaws and playful monkeys to adorable pot-bellied pigs and majestic Texas longhorns, the zoo offers a diverse range of animals. Several rescued animals have found a new home in the zoo, adding to its charm. The zoo also features a café and picnic tables, perfect for a leisurely lunch. For the little ones, pony rides within the zoo complex promise a fun-filled experience.


04 Visit the Parkwood National Historic Site

The Parkwood National Historic Site, once the residence of the McLaughlin family until 1972, is steeped in history. The late R.S. McLaughlin, the founder of General Motors of Canada, owned this magnificent beaux arts building. Today, the house, its stunning artwork, intricate architecture, and lush gardens serve as a museum. The beautiful murals painted by Canadian artists Frederick Challener and Frederick Haines are highlights of the museum. Guided tours of the Auto Baron's Experience, the greenhouse, and the gardens are available, offering a glimpse into the past. The museum also features a quaint tea room, perfect for a relaxing break.


05 Enjoy a tank ride at the Ontario Regiment Museum

Home to Canada's largest collection of operational military vehicles, the Ontario Regiment Museum is a must-visit for history buffs. The museum houses a variety of jeeps, including a Dodge M37, tanks, and logistics vehicles. For an unforgettable experience, tank rides can be pre-booked, and the museum also hosts tank weekend events. The museum also showcases an extensive collection of artifacts from the Ontario Regiment, narrating the story of its history and active service.


06 Learn about the city at the Oshawa Museum

Dedicated to preserving and showcasing the city's history, the Oshawa Museum houses extensive collections and records. The displays cover a wide range of topics, including indigenous populations, stories of immigration, and Oshawa's maritime heritage. Exhibits on shipbuilding and railways offer a glimpse into the city's industrial past. Guided tours of the museum, highlighting the city's heritage, are available. The Oshawa Museum also hosts exhibitions on various aspects of the city throughout the year, offering a deeper understanding of its rich history.


07 Visit the Robert McLaughlin Gallery

People Looking at Modern Art SeventyFour / Getty Images

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, one of Oshawa's premier art galleries, is renowned for its extensive collection of Canadian modern and contemporary art. The gallery houses the world's largest collection of work by Painters Eleven and features numerous pieces of Canadian abstract art. The Thomas Bouckley Collection, a tribute to an Oshawa historian, is another highlight, showcasing a vast collection of photography. Guided tours of the gallery are available, offering an immersive art experience.


08 Explore the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

The Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame is a magnificent tribute by the city to its sporting heroes. The hall features several interesting displays that highlight the sporting achievements of Oshawa's residents. Learn about the 1972-73 Oshawa Parkway Midget Hockey Team or the 1960s soccer player Adriano DiDanieli. Tributes to cyclist Alan K. Essery and skater Andrea Derby are also featured. The city's respect for its sporting heroes is palpable as you walk through the Hall of Fame.


09 Enjoy a performance at the Regent Theatre

play at theatre Sam Tabone / Getty Images

Constructed over 100 years ago, the Regent Theatre is one of Canada's oldest moving picture theatres. The theatre still features an ornate ceiling decorated with characters from Greek mythology, adding to its historic charm. The Regent Theatre showcases a mix of classic and current movies, along with plays, live band performances, and other events. If you find yourself in Oshawa, be sure to check the program for an unforgettable theatrical experience.


10 Attend a performance at the Oshawa Little Theatre

The Oshawa Little Theatre, a community gem, is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon or evening. The theatre hosts a variety of performances, including plays, concerts, and live bands. The theatre was gifted to the community in 1928 by resident Verna Conant, and many of the performances are by local groups, including an orchestra from Oshawa. With a constant lineup of events, this popular entertainment venue always has something exciting to offer.


11 Watch a game at the Tribute Communities Centre

Originally known as the General Motors Centre, the Tribute Communities Centre is a multi-purpose arena and one of the most popular event venues in Oshawa. If you're a sports fan, book a seat to watch the Oshawa Generals play a thrilling hockey game. The venue also hosts live band performances, making it a hub of entertainment. Be sure to check out the program if you're planning a stay in Oshawa.


12 Go shopping at the Oshawa Centre

The Oshawa Centre, one of the best shopping destinations in Ontario, is a sprawling 1,219,962-square-foot complex housing over 260 stores. With a large focus on fashion and sports gear, the center also offers a variety of dining options, including Cinnabon or Cocoa Berry. The Oshawa Farmers Market, held here on Fridays during the summer, is a must-visit for fresh, local produce.


13 Have fun at the Treetop Eco-Adventure Park

View of the adventure park with obstacles on the trees. Forest barriers to family satisfaction. Adrenaline park in nature nedomacki / Getty Images

Perfect for a family day out, the Treetop Eco-Adventure Park offers a thrilling experience. The complex features several ziplines, laddered bridges, and canopies, allowing you to glide through the trees. The park isn't just for kids; there are adult courses as well. Additional activities include axe throwing, archery, and summer camps. If you're seeking an adrenaline rush, a day spent ziplining through trees will keep you entertained.


14 Watch birds at Pumphouse Marsh

marsh in ontario bonottomario / Getty Images

Despite being one of the smallest coastal wetlands in the Durham area, Pumphouse Marsh is an excellent place to observe wildlife. Covering just seven hectares, the wetland is home to a variety of birds, including the Canada goose, ring-billed gull, Caspian tern, and mute swan. The Waterfront Trail, a recreational path, offers a great way to explore the wetland area.


15 Visit the Lakeview Park

Park Bench with a Waterfron View Random_Moments_Photography / Getty Images

Situated near Lake Ontario, Lakeview Park is a beautifully landscaped parkland connected to several recreational trails. The Joseph Kolodzie Oshawa Creek Bike Path is popular with cyclists, while the Waterfront Trail includes the Pumphouse Marsh wetland area. The park hosts numerous community events, and the Jubilee Building serves as a public space for entertainment. It's a lovely place to relax by the lake or walk the trails on the waterfront.


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