2021 Oshawa Museum Shopping Guide

It’s that time of the year, the most wonderful time, in fact, according to many popular carols. The holiday season is upon us! Whether you’ve already started your shopping or perhaps that’s a task you will be starting soon, we thought we would round up some of the popular and unique items you can find at the Oshawa Museum Shop.

First, let’s start with our selection of local history books. If someone on your list is a local history buff, perhaps a title or two may peak their interest! We have biographies on Michael Starr, artist Florence McGillivray, and even the memoirs of our own Thomas Henry. No list would be complete without highlighting Thomas Bouckley’s Pictorial Oshawa, a long-treasured book filled with photos from Oshawa’s past.

If you’re looking for unique gifts you can’t find anywhere else, we must highlight the artwork by Emma Inkpen.  She is a Manchester born, Whitby based artist, and in the shop are 7×7” photo blocks, featuring photos taken by Inkpen around the Oshawa Museum. We also have her Oshawa Maps, a stunning addition to any gallery wall! There are also our ‘Mug Shot’ mugs, featuring the likenesses of the infamous women of the OM: Lurenda Henry, Ruth Robinson, and Granny Cock. 

If you’re wanting ornaments for your tree, we have a wide selection available, including the popular Christmas Pickle! Why a pickle? As the legend goes:

A pickle used as decoration on the Christmas tree seems odd at first, but it is an old German tradition. When decorating the Christmas tree, it is traditional to hang the pickle last, hidden among the branches. The first child on Christmas Day to find the Christmas pickle receives an extra gift!

We have other charming ornaments available in the shop, and we encourage our visitors to shop from the tree!

Last minute stocking stuffers? We have lots of little toys, sure to thrill the young and young at heart on your shopping list! We have a ‘Grab Bag’ available online and even more available in person!

If you have someone on your list who is a history buff but is also one of those tough ones to shop for, why not consider giving the gift of membership? There are many perks to being a member of the Oshawa Historical Society! Members receive: free admission to our signature events, like the Annual Lamplight Tour and heritage walking tours, as well as free visits to the OM; first access to original research and articles on Oshawa’s history in the quarterly newsletter, Historical Happenings; and, exclusive access to member only events and exhibit previews. There is also the philanthropic benefits of being a member, such as knowing you are supporting an organization exclusively devoted to preserving and sharing Oshawa’s history. Oh, and did we say DISCOUNT? OHS Members enjoy a 15% discount on all items purchased in the Oshawa Museum Shop or on the online shop with the exclusive discount code.

You can shop the OM Shop by visiting Guy House, the yellow wooden building, or shop online via: https://oshawamuseum.square.site/ 

Sunday, November 28 is Museum Shop Sunday. Shop local and support your community’s heritage!

Continuing Into the Online World

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

The start of a new year usually brings around a lot of counting. Typically speaking (pre-pandemic, that is), I’ll spend a few days making a grand mess in the shop for the year end inventory count, and at the same time, carefully tucking our holiday merchandise away until the following November. We count and re-count attendance statistics, volunteer hours for the year, and endless social media statistics, such as follower growth, post engagement, blog hits (thanks to everyone who reads!), and how often videos get watched on YouTube. January, indeed, is a month for numbers.

COVID-19 hasn’t changed the counting that needs to get done, but it certainly has made it more challenging. As we’re primarily working from home, counting the gift shop inventory has been an ongoing process throughout the month. In addition, we are making changes to our system and how the inventory is tracked, so the project was far more laborious than in years past. But, this change will bring about good things…

In the near future, the OM hopes to launch an online shop. The OM shop is proud to carry unique items, reflective of our community. We have a large selection of local history publications; some favourite titles include:

  • To Cast a Reflection: The Henry Family in their Own Words
  • “She is One Of the Best.” A Researcher’s Notes on the Life & Times of Florence McGillivray
  • The Oshawa Street Railway
  • Until Day Dawns: Stories From Oshawa’s Union Cemetery
  • And, a favourite of many, Thomas Bouckley’s Pictorial Oshawa: Revisited

We also have a large selection of Oshawa and Oshawa Museum souvenirs (one can never have enough mugs, amirite…), gifts, and toys which are always a hit with our youngest visitors.

We hope to have a selection of items available for purchase on the online shop, with plans to launch in the coming months. Please keep an eye on the Oshawa Museum’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages for more information about when it will be launched and how you can continue your support of Oshawa’s heritage.

What’s New in the Museum Shop

If you haven’t been to Guy House recently, you may be missing out on the new merchandise and fan favourites that are available in the Oshawa Museum Shop!


First, we’re decorated for the holiday season! After Remembrance Day, our holiday merch returns.  Our store tree is decorated with many unique ornaments, and you are encouraged to shop from our tree. A favourite are the Christmas pickles! As the legend goes:

A pickle used as decoration on the Christmas tree seems odd at first, but it is an old German tradition. When decorating the Christmas tree, it is traditional to hang the pickle last, hidden among the branches. The first child on Christmas Day to find the Christmas pickle receives an extra gift!

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Great tradition to share with your family this year and for years to come!

We strive to have our shop shelves filled with uniquely Oshawa books with original research on our community’s history.  Until Day Dawns: Stories from Oshawa’s Union Cemetery is a pictorial look at the prominent and sometimes not as well known people buried in Union Cemetery.  Laura Suchan’s ongoing research into Demill College has culminated in Mind, Morale & Money: Oshawa’s Demill Ladies’ College. Finally, prolific artist Florence McGillivray was a Whitby native, contemporary of the Group of 7 and mentor to Tom Thomson. Read more about her life in Bill Allen’s book “She is One of the Best”: A Researcher’s Notes on the Life and Times of Canadian Artist Florence McGillivray.

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Also in the store are Christmas/Holiday cards, featuring the artwork of Eric Sangwine. Eric is a good friend to the Oshawa Museum, whose artwork is often inspired by local legends and lore.  His painting, ‘Christmas at Robinson House’ was the first in a series surrounding Lakeview Park stories and is currently on display as part of the exhibit, A True History of Lakeview Park… Mostly.  These cards are wonderfully whimsical!


The popular Mug Shots are back in stock! We took photos of the noteworthy women of the OM and memorialized them on a mug! Choices are Ruth Robinson, Lurenda Henry, and Granny Cock.


And finally, a new addition in advance of Lakeview Park’s 100th anniversary in 2020 – Lakeview Park mugs! These mugs feature a historical image from the archival collection, Saturday Afternoon, Oshawa-on-the-Lake.  Celebrate this city gem by remembering it with every cup of coffee!


By choosing to shop at the Museum Shop, you are supporting the Museum.  All proceeds from the store are used to support museum acquisitions and special projects. Thank you for your support in preserving and actively promoting awareness and appreciation of Oshawa’s history.

The Museum Shop

If you’re looking for unique gifts this season, then I invite you to visit the Oshawa Museum Shop.  Located in Guy House, in Oshawa’s Lakeview Park, the Museum Shop is home to one of the largest selection of local history publications, highlighting the fascinating history of our community.  A great number of the publications have been produced by the Museum, and we are especially proud of the If This House Could Talk series.  A three part book series, these publications highlight the history of the three homes that comprise the Museum.  Full of wonderful pictures, funny anecdotes, and newly discovered research, the If This House Could Talk series is a must for any local history buffs.

If This House Could Talk series
If This House Could Talk series

Another publication not to be missed is Pictorial Oshawa: Revisited.  The name Thomas Bouckley is synonymous with Oshawa’s history, and he made his name as a photographic historian, publishing a number of the photographs he collected in a book series, three volumes in all.  They have been out of print for many years, but in 2010, Volume I was ‘revisited’ and revised and includes many new images as well.  Pictorial Oshawa: Revisited is a wonderful addition to any bookshelf.

Pictorial Oshawa: Revisited
Pictorial Oshawa: Revisited

During the holiday season, we encourage our visitors to ‘shop from the store tree’ as we have a selection of ornaments available for purchase.  A staff favourite is the Christmas Pickle.  Why a pickle?  Legend has it that German families would decorate their trees with popcorn and ornaments and then on Christmas Eve after they all had gone to bed, St. Nicholas would arrive with a pickle and an extra gift. He would carefully hide the pickle somewhere amongst the green fir leaves of the tree and place an extra gift for one lucky kid underneath. On Christmas morning, the first child to spot the pickle would receive Santa’s extra gift.  It’s a lovely tradition that we encourage you to start with your family!

The pickle ornament on the Christmas tree
The pickle ornament on the Christmas tree

Finally, we have a selection of souvenirs for both the Oshawa Museum and the City of Oshawa.  Pens, pencils, mugs, and buttons, all available in the Oshawa Museum Shop.

Selection of souvenirs at the Oshawa Museum Shop
Selection of souvenirs at the Oshawa Museum Shop

Come down to the Lake, have a cup of coffee, go on tour, and visit the Oshawa Museum Shop!

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