Erchless Estate sits on four-acres of historical elegance in downtown Oakville by the shores of Lake Ontario.  Once home to Oakville’s founding family, the Chisholm’s, it is now the setting for the Oakville Museum. As history has it, the town of Oakville owes its existence to the vision of Colonel William Chisholm (1788-1842), an enterprising merchant and shipbuilder.  Chisholm founded the town and built Erchless overlooking the harbour.  Today visitors walk the luscious gardens to partake in this same panoramic view.
Erchless remained in the Chisholm family until the 1960s.  The Town of Oakville purchased the home in 1977 and in 1991 it was opened to the public. Lovingly restored, visitors can now enjoy its authentic style.
Preserving Oakville’s history, the palatial Erchless Estate consists of the Custom House, once home to the Bank of Toronto, a General Store and the Oakville’s Custom Offices…now home to temporary exhibits. Across from Erchless is the Old Post Office where Chisholm himself was Oakville’s first postmaster.  Here many a visitor enjoys hands-on postal-related activities including writing with a quill pen and creating wax seals.  Built in 1829, the Thomas House is included in the immense estate of Erchless and is presented as a Pioneer home.
The Oakville museum holds a diverse collection of objects reflecting the history of Oakville from its establishment to the present day including costumes and textiles, fine and decorative arts, ethnological artefacts and Chisholm family-related materials.  Being an official port of entry into Canada, the story of Oakville’s role in the Underground Railroad is told in a new permanent gallery. Innumerable special exhibitions and programs are held at the Erchless Estate and special events are countless.  During the winter months the museum is alive with activities, such as Family Day on February 18th, March Break and Easter.
It is the Estate itself; however, that brings droves of people to its historical doors all year round. Experiencing such sheer elegance is reason enough to visit.
Walking the grounds and gardens of Erchless Estate is as captivating as in yesteryear.  Restored to its original appearance, a stunning rock garden that was originally designed and built in the 1920s continues to be enjoyed by visitors today.
The Oakville Museum at Erchless Estate has free admission and is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. It is located at 8 Navy Street Oakville, 905-338-4400. oakvillemuseum@oakville.ca