Places we live: Oshawa

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon in Oshawa, Ont., the hometown of my good friend, Devon Campbell. As a first-year photography student who commutes to school, he travels for over three hours, to and back. Also referred to as “Shwiggity” or “Shwasome,” Oshawa is a relatively small area with a population of just over 160,000. However, there is a lot to see and appreciate.

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About a 20-minute drive from Oshawa is Camp 30, an abandoned prisoner of war campsite. The 300-acre land was donated by John H. H. Jury, and originally was used as an all-boys reform school. During the Second World War, Camp 30 was used as a prisoner of war camp, holding hundreds of prisoners over four years. After the war, the site was once again used as a school, but  was eventually abandoned.

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We also took a walk down Simcoe Street, one of Oshawa’s busiest streets. Located on Simcoe Street is Parkwood Estate, the home of R.S. McLaughlin, who helped establish the McLaughlin Motor Car Co., which later evolved into General Motors. Now, it’s open to the public as a national historic site. With a large, spacious garden and a 55-room interior stretching 15,000 sq. ft., Parkwood serves as a venue for weddings and parties, and is often used as a filming location for movies and TV shows, like X-Men and Hannibal.

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Campbell took me to visit an eye-catching, monstrous tank. At first, I thought it was an artificial tank in front of The Ontario Regiment Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps. But it’s actually a real tank that was used in the Second World War. Today, it’s used as an attraction during the annual parades held by the cadets.

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Across from the street is the church of St. Gregory the Great. Operating since 1843, the church really stands out for its bold and towering structure. It also claims to have more members than any other church in Oshawa, with over 2,500 disciples.

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When night fell, it was time to go back to Ryerson. The long, cold trip took around two hours, including the wait for the bus, but it was an enjoyable and peaceful journey as we took the train past Lake Ontario. If you wish to get out of downtown Toronto, definitely check out Oshawa.