Visitor Guide to Oshawa

Visiting Oshawa for the first time? Here are a few local attractions to explore:

Tour Parkwood Estate, Oshawa’s elegant National Historic Site and home of autobaron Robert Samuel McLaughlin.  Mansion and garden tours give visitors an intimate glimpse into the McLaughlin’s luxurious and pampered lifestyle, and includes extensive access to period interiors and breathtaking gardens, fascinating stories of public achievements, and behind-the-scenes work of designers and domestic staff who made the grand estate possible.  Check out the website for upcoming themed teas and events, and drop by the gift shop for unique local items. Open daily, but due to TV and movie shoots access may be reduced. Call before you go.   270 Simcoe Street North.

Visit the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, the largest gallery in Durham Region, which features a Permanent Collection of over 4,000 works, and five galleries of diverse and changing contemporary and historical exhibitions. The RMG also holds an important collection of modern Canadian abstraction and the largest holdings of works by Painters Eleven, as well as significant collections of Canadian contemporary art.  For families visiting with children, the gallery is stroller-friendly and includes an Imagination Station area that encourages creative play, as well as a child-friendly map.  Admission is by donation, open 7 days a week.  72 Queen Street, Oshawa.

Take a trip back in time at the Oshawa Community Museum at Lakeview Park, where visitors can learn about the First Nations who lived in the area, and experience what daily life was like for Oshawa’s first pioneer settlers. Visitors can tour the three fully restored pioneer homes that make up the Museum, then walk the lakeside boardwalk for stunning views of Lake Ontario – one of the five Great Lakes of North America.  Children can play in the large, modern playground, or cool off at the nearby splash pad.  Swimming in the lake is permitted during July and August, and the sandy beach is supervised by lifeguards between 11:30 am and 6:30 pm.  1450 Simcoe Street South.

Explore automotive history at the Canadian Automotive Museum, where the extensive collection of cars covers everything from McLaughlin Buggies (Oshawa is the birthplace of GM Canada, after all), to a futuristic DeLorean. This hardworking museum is a car lovers dream:  18,000 square feet of exhibit space dedicated to Canadian and imported vehicles, and they all have a story to tell.  99 Simcoe Street South.

One of Oshawa’s best kept secrets, the Ontario Regiment RCAC Museum maintains Canada’s largest collection of operational military vehicles. The collection includes over 80 Canadian, Commonwealth and Allied Forces military vehicles including jeeps, trucks, scout cars, armoured carriers and tanks. Don’t miss Tank Saturdays which run once a month from May to October, for live demonstrations and displays of operational armoured fighting vehicles…and more! 1000 Stevenson Rd North, at the Oshawa Airport.

Check out the shops and restaurants at the expanded Oshawa Centre, the largest indoor shopping centre in the area, featuring shops like Victoria’s Secret, H&M, Zara, Artizia, Forever 21, and many more, plus an outdoor farmer’s market that runs Friday mornings late spring, summer, and early fall. 419 King Street West, Oshawa. 

The Oshawa Little Theatre stages high quality productions year round – visit their website to explore their current season. 62 Russett Avenue, Oshawa.

Hungry? Grab a bite at one of Oshawa’s hotspots:  Rainbow Restaurant for traditional diner-style breakfast, Cork & Bean for coffee and snacks, try lunch or dinner at casual dining favourite Berry Hill Food Company (check out their private patio during the summer months), Avanti Trattoria for dine-in wood fired pizza, or take out a slice of gourmet pizza at Pizza Munno. If you’re on the go, hit up Spicy Affairs for their well priced lunch menu, but if you’re looking to splurge on dinner, check out Harpos or Wildfire Steak House.  Finish the day by grabbing a sweet treat at Felicio’s Cake Boutique, try a freak shake at Hollywood Cone, or grab a cupcake or butter tart at Cupcake Goodness.