A few years ago the United Nations selected Canada as the # 1 country for quality of life, ahead of the United States and European countries. And if you needed proof of that, anyone who's lived in Oakville - for 24 hours or for 70 years - can provide it. It's easy to see why Oakville is THE exemplary microcosm of Canada - no two ways about it.
To see is to believe goes the popular saying. Pictures aren't enough to profile this part of the world effectively. You have to feel Oakville and allow it to creep into your being before you can exclaim, "ah, but of course!"
Oakville is part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and is a 30-minute drive from downtown. It is a full service urban center but has none of the city pollution and noise that many North American cities are notorious for. You get to enjoy city amenities but with that small town ambience - a certain quaintness if you will - because this lakeside community is rich in history.
Where were you in 1827?
This was the year that Oakville was born. Today, it is one of Ontario's best residential enclaves, and is home to over 260 local and international corporations that take up prominent positions in the automotive, pharmaceutical, technology and aerospace industries - just a sample of numerous business endeavors that constitute the economic core of Oakville.
What makes it such a prized location? Wholesome neighborhoods and excellent schools are two reasons. The 145,000 residents enjoy a high standard of living (household median income is $86,000.00).
Things to Do
If you're visiting Oakville for the first time and you're itching for a round of golf, you have a choice of seven golf courses, one of them the PGA-acclaimed Glen Abbey Golf Course. If you prefer the water over the greens, Oakville has two harbors. And if you simply want to stretch your legs and wander around after a long, drawn-out business meeting, the town has 2,400 acres of park space.
Wives accompanying husbands on business trips have about 400 shops, boutiques and restaurants to while away their time. Bike and hiker trails, some of them in close proximity to Lake Ontario, also abound in Oakville.
If Oakville has a prosperous $80 million tourism industry and receives about 1.4 million visitors annually, that should be a good enough reason to put it on your travel agenda for next summer.
Entertainment and Culture
Oakville is far from a sleepy town. The Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts has a year-round schedule of theatre, dance, music and comedy shows. Do an enlightening tour of the museum in Erchless Estate and take a leisurely stroll in art galleries and historical associations. Or just gaze at the local architecture - particularly in preservation sites.
Speaking of festivities, there's wholesome family fun in the annual Waterfront Festival and Festival of Classics and Jazz. And speaking of wholesome, the Oakville Santa Claus Parade will bring color to the bleak winter months: 50 floats, 12 marching bands, mascots and puppets - and yes, throw in the clowns.
You think you're too old for Santa? Drop by anyway. When you leave, the assurance that there are very likeable spots left on earth will make you smile.
Places to Stay
Oakville has accommodations to meet every budget. The big name hotels - Marriott, Park Plaza and the Hilton - are examples. If you want a home-cooked breakfast and a taste of Oakville hospitality, there are bed and breakfast places as well as camp sites and low-end accommodations.
Holiday Inn Select Oakville 2525 Wyecroft Road Oakville, ON Canada Reservations: 1-800-359-6279
Hilton Garden Inn Oakville 2774 South Sheridan Way Oakville, ON Canada Reservations: 1-800-359-6279
Monte Carlo Inn Oakville Suites 374 South Service Road East Oakville, ON Canada Reservations: 1-800-359-6279
Country Inn Oakville 2930 South Sheridan Way Oakville, ON Canada Reservations: 1-800-359-6279
Oakville Plaza Hotel 360 Oakville Place Drive Oakville, ON Canada Reservations: 1-800-359-6279
Copyright 2006 Jason Seib