In 2011, an exhibition entitled From Dairy to Doorstep was organized and presented by the Oakville Museum and David Hawkins. I was delighted when David first approached the Oakville Museum with the suggestion that we collaborate and host an exhibition on the Oakville Dairies. Knowing that the dairy industry in Oakville held a very interesting past with very little information available to researchers, we were eager to work together to provide the public with an opportunity to view a rich collection of dairy artifacts and learn about an aspect of our community’s history which had previously been ignored by historians.
I was immediately impressed by the breadth of knowledge David possessed on the subject, not to mention being pleasantly surprised by his wonderful private collection of artifacts, archival material and photographs which really brought the local dairy industry to life. As a private collector and researcher, David brought all of these elements together which enables us to present a broad and revealing history at the Oakville Museum. The exhibit proved to be a huge success as thousands of visitors came to enjoy the display and learn something new.
Exceptional enthusiasm for the subject, along with utter frustration of the almost non-existence of published material pertaining to the subject, prompted David to write a book as a follow-up to the 2011 exhibit. A book to offer a comprehensive history and provide a visual representation of the amazing collection he patiently amassed over many years. David took great care in compiling his years of research to write the text of the book and carefully selected all of the associated images. It is appropriate that the publication was designed and written by someone who has such an earnest and passionate interest on the topic.
I believe David has succeeded in capturing an important aspect of Oakville’s past that has been virtually unrecorded until now. A forgotten piece of our history. Richly illustrated with colour photographs of bowling pin shaped bottles to sour cream containers produced decades later, this book traces a compelling history through introducing fascinating facts about local dairy owners, tools of the trade, processing and production, while offering personal reminiscences and so much more. This publication offers a wealth of knowledge, and being the first comprehensive account of the dairy industry in Oakville, it will be a valuable tool which will hold a special place in the Oakville Museum’s reference library. I trust the book’s images and informative text will enlighten and enthuse all readers.
Carolyn Cross, Curator of Collections, Oakville Museum