Where The Streets Get Their Names – Annis Street

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

The street names of the former community of Cedardale are wonderful tributes to those who called this area home.  The former Henry Street was named after Thomas Henry, Guy Avenue after the Guy family, Thomas Street after Thomas Conant.  Businesses like Whiting and Robson also have their place on Oshawa’s map.  Annis Street is no different, likely named for David Annis.  The following biography of David Annis is from the Oshawa Historical Society’s Historical Information Sheets.


David Annis

David Annis was born on April 5, 1786, the son of Charles Annis, a United Empire Loyalist from Massachusetts.  Charles crossed the Niagara River into Canada in 1793, staying in York, now Toronto, and Scarborough Heights before joining his friend Roger Conant in what is now Oshawa.

David established himself as a prominent citizen through his many business dealings.  Although he was uneducated, and could not even write his own name, David had excellent, natural, business ability. In 1808 he was a fur trader with the local Indigenous population.  He sold the furs in Montreal, which made him a very wealthy man.


“Daniel Conant’s Lumber Mill” Print by ES Shrapnel, from Upper Canada Sketches by Thomas Conant

One of the most noteworthy achievements of David Annis was the construction, along with Daniel Conant, of a lumber mill, located on Oshawa Creek.  A dam was built under the frame mill to provide power, and most of the white pine in the area was sawn there.  The lumber was floated down the Oshawa Creek, (which was then much larger).  Conant and Annis were also involved in ship building, building the schooner Lord Durham around 1836, which was said to be one of the first vessels in this part of Canada. Wood from the lumber mill was loaded onto the schooners owned by Conant and Annis, and was transported to Oswego, Sodus, Niagara, Kingston, as well as many other ports located on Lake Ontario. Lumber from the mill was also used in Oshawa to construct buildings such as the J.B. Warren Flour Mill.

David Annis acquired a great deal of land, which eventually came into the possession of Daniel Conant. On October 3, 1845, it is recorded that David Annis sold 175 acres of land to Daniel Conant, for one hundred pounds. Land was also sold to John Shipman and other settlers.

David Annis was said to have been a man of fine heart, a friend to the poor and hospitable to all.  He never married, and had no children.  He spent his last years living with the Daniel Conant family, and died on May 28, 1861, at the age of 75.

David was buried in the Harmony Burial Ground, but was exhumed nineteen years after his death, in 1880, by Thomas Conant, son of Daniel Conant.  It is unknown why the casket was opened, but it has been recorded that all who were present were shocked by the excellent condition of the body.  David was moved to the Union Cemetery, where Daniel Conant is also buried.



Of note, the image above may NOT be David Annis.  Former Visitor Host Shawn explored David Annis and historical discrepancies with photographs in an earlier blog post.  This image has been credited as being either David Annis or David’s brother Levi.  Give Shawn’s post a read for more background into these pictures.

Annis Street does not appear to be on the 1877 Atlas or 1895 County of Ontario, however, it listed in the 1921 City Directory as well as on our 1925 City Map.


The North Oshawa Skatepark Isn’t Just About Skateboarding

Feature and Images by Shana Fillatrau, Durham College Journalism Student

To some, a skatepark just seems like a slab of concrete, but to others, it’s a place to exercise, make new friends and express their passion.

​David Galloway, a long-time volunteer at Skatelife, a faith-based organization that works with local skateboarders in different communities across Canada, is at the North Oshawa skatepark at least once a week.

Galloway’s favourite moments from the park are conversations. “Sometimes I show up, especially when there are a lot of guys here, and guys I know, I don’t even necessarily get on my skateboard right away. I’m just making rounds talking to people,” says Galloway.

It’s not always about the skateboarding, says Galloway, but it’s about connecting with people and building a community. Treflips, nose grinds and varial heels are all terms you would hear and tricks you would see at the North Oshawa skatepark.

It’s a place for the young, the old – the beginners and also, the professionals.

The 10,000 square foot skatepark opened in 2010. The park was built by New Line Skateparks, a municipal skatepark design and construction company who have finished over 200 projects

The park includes, rails, manual pads, hubbas and quarter pipes, as well as space to pump in order for the skaters to keep their momentum.

Skatepark construction 101:

Mitchell Wiskel, an Oshawa parks development supervisor, says planning to build a skatepark is similar to any other parks’ development project.

“In the case of a skatepark,” he said, ”we would typically start off by determining if there’s a need for the city through surveys or outside studies.”

While being relatively inexpensive, the parks give youth a place to spend their time and it promotes physical activity. Wiskel didn’t work on the park, but is knowledgeable about the process and says skateparks are beneficial to city’s urban development.

Once it’s determined there is a need for the skatepark, parks development would then decide what the best location is. After that, Wiskell said, they would then focus on the design of the park

Next, an expert skatepark designer has to be brought in. To accomplish this, Wiskel said a request for proposal (RFP) is sent out. Designers pitch their ideas and skills to parks development. This would be contracted out and parks development would oversee this process

Another RFP is sent out to contractors but their pitch is based on price. Parks development hires the least expensive, qualified contractor.

After the design is finished, parks development hires general contractors to build the park. Parks and development decides what company would be hired, as well as the construction process itself.

Once the skatepark is finished, parks development ends their involvement and the city’s parks operation staff looks after the facility.

Wiskel said parks and development is only brought back onto the project if something broke or the park was to be renovated.

Other duties of parks development include organizing public consultations (whether that be through city hall meetings, local surveys or speaking to interest groups – skateboarders), speaking to other city departments that may have a stake in the process and fiscal responsibilities.

“It’s so important to stay involved and to stay involved with the development side of things for Oshawa,” says Wiskel, “because if we didn’t have that involvement, from a public standpoint, there wouldn’t be that buy-in, through the process.”

Wiskel says with strong community feedback we can build much better facilities. “Because we’re building for exactly what those users want.”

A skater’s experience:


Kyelle Hatherly started skating in 1986. He stopped when he started high school. Back in the eighties, Hatherly said skateboarding was a fad, and he wanted to try it.

Three years ago, Hatherly picked up the board again, since he didn’t have a license and needed a way to get around.

Hatherly says he didn’t have many skateparks around when he was younger, so when he saw the North Oshawa skatepark, he wanted to try it out. He started coming to the park three years ago when he started skating again.

His favourite part of the park is the funbox (a manual pad), but he says, “Yeah, I think it should be bigger, but there’s not really space to add it unless they took out some of the parking lot or something, but yeah, it’s a little small.”

Hatherly tries to make it to the park every day he has off from work.

Who is David Galloway and what is Skatelife?:

David Galloway started skating in 1988. He went to O’Neill. This is where he found his passion. One day he saw students doing a trick called a boneless down a set of stairs.

Even though he said it was a small set of stairs. “They were flying through the air and I’m like, ‘man, I want to be a part of that,’” recalls Galloway who says the North Oshawa skatepark is an integral part of his skating experience now.

He was there skating at the park before it officially opened in 2010.

He tries to be at the park at least once a week, but tries for several times a week.

Galloway says he wants a flatbar added to the park and has heard other people feel the same.

He started volunteering at Skatelife in 1997 in British Columbia, while attending school in Abbortsford. His school gave credits for volunteer hours, so he joined when he saw Skatelife being advertised in a local skateshop.

Skatelife is a non-profit, faith-based organization that works with local skateboarders in different communities across Canada. SkateLife promotes community and friendships. They hold weekly skate clubs where local skaters can meet up, spend time together, learn new tricks, film, etc.

​Galloway says Skatelife focuses heavily on the 13 to 18-year-old age range, but the organization also caters to younger children, as well as adults.

His favourite part is connecting with the skaters. Being a mentor to them and helping them make positive life choices, career paths is important to him.

“Some of these guys don’t have a positive male figure in their life, says Galloway, “and I feel that’s really important, just to be that to those guys.”

Looking at the park, you wouldn’t know the stories of the people who skate there, but taking the time to learn more reveals the Oshawa skatepark has an impact on people in the community.

The land where we stand is the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

Durham College‘s newspaper, The Chronicle, launches a new feature series called The Land Where We Stand, about the hidden stories that shape our region.

This article originally appeared in The Chronicle, February 28, 2018.

Some of the articles found on this blog have been provided through partnerships with external sources, and we welcome reader engagement through comments.  The views expressed in such articles/comments may not necessarily reflect those of the OHS/OM.

Ways the Oshawa Museum is Changing the Narrative

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist

There is a saying that “history is written by the victor” and this is certainly true when it comes to Canadian history.  So much of our history, on a local, provincial and national level, is written from the perspective of European colonial settlers. This narrow focus has greatly impacted how museum and archival collections have been developed and has created an historical narrative that is not entirely accurate.

Throughout Canada, museums and archives are working to find ways to move beyond the colonial settler focus of our collections and develop collections that more accurately showcase our history.  The Oshawa Museum is working to fill the gaps in our historical narrative, to include more voices and become more inclusive by telling the untold and under researched stories of our community.  In Oshawa, our local history tends to be told through a lens of focusing on the impact of the wealthy industrialists and the companies they ran.  This is certainly an important part of our local history, but it is a very narrow focus and leaves out so many other fascinating stories.

One of the ways we are changing the historical narrative is through our research into early Black history in Oshawa.  Oshawa has had a small Black population since at least 1850, and that population has continued to grow and flourish.  The research has focused on the experiences of one family, the Andrews/Dunbar/Pankhurst family, and examines how their experiences fit into the larger context of the history of Black Canadians.  Research like this widen the lens through which we look at our history and works to tell a local history that better reflects what the community actually looked like in the past.


Black History Month Display at Hot Roots Festival Launch, 2016

Throughout the month of February, the Museum has been celebrating Black History Month by reaching out to the community to talk about our research.  In fact, over the past month, we have spoken to over 400 members of our community about this research.  It has been truly rewarding to share this research with so many people and help bring focus to the rich and diverse history of Oshawa.

The Land Where We Stand

On Wednesdays, the OM is excited to offer a new feature series called The Land Where We Stand, a partnership with Durham College.

By Teresa Goff, Journalism Faculty, School of Media, Art & Design – ‎Durham College

The land where we stand is the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

Uncovering the hidden stories about the land our community is built on is what The Chronicle’s new feature series, The Land Where We Stand, is about.

We have talked to Oshawa Mayor John Henry, Oshawa Museum archivist Jennifer Weymark, former City Councillor Lousie Parkes, chair for Heritage Oshawa, Laura Thursby.

The Chronicle launched this project with Julie Pigeon, an advisor at Durham College’s Aboriginal Student Centre.

We sat down with Pigeon to participate in a smudging ceremony, to expand our knowledge or the history of the land and to learn how to make tobacco ties to give to elders when asking for information and stories about the land where we stand.

This series uncovers Durham Region’s lost stories and explores the impact history has had on shaping where we live.

You’ll read about famous buildings like the Hotel Genosha and Regent Theatre and discover places such as Harriet House, Oshawa’s first post office and the Oshawa skate park.

The Land Where We Stand series explores themes such as the impacts of World War II in Durham Region, businesses’ role in shaping our communities, the development of farm lands and maintenance of historic buildings.

Tune into Riot Radio (https://www.ustream.tv/channel/sariotradio) on Thursdays from 3 to 4pm for segments with guests like mayor John Henry.

We have a story map for you to check out online at www.chronicle.durhamcollege.ca<http://www.chronicle.durhamcollege.ca/>.

Follow us on Twitter @DCUOITChronicle and use #thelandwherewestand to join the conversation, ask questions or send us more information.

Student Museum Musings – Ria

By Ria K., Co-op Student

Hello, my name is Ria, and I am this semester’s co-op student at the Oshawa Museum. I am currently in Grade 11, and attend O’Neill C.V.I. I chose to do my placement at the Oshawa Museum since it is an extremely different learning environment from what I am used to. History class is something I enjoy, as I am constantly learning, however history is much more exciting and engaging when I am experiencing a hands on learning experience, and not just listening to a lecture. Throughout my time as a co-op student, I will have many ongoing projects. One responsibility I find extremely interesting is researching and creating the monthly Month That Was blog posts.  Also, I have been passing a lot of time creating write ups on artefacts and posting them to the Oshawa Museum Tumblr. I hope to gain a lot of knowledge about how museums run, as well as gain new skills in researching, writing, and creating aesthetically pleasing displays. I am looking forward to spending the next four months at the Oshawa Museum!

Here is a selection of photos Ria has taken around the Museum!