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Preserving a piece of ag history

Preserving a piece of ag history

A manufacturing site has been designated a heritage property

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The City of Oshawa has designated a building once used for manufacturing farm equipment in the 1800s as a heritage property.

The Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority building at 100 Whiting Ave. near Wentworth and Simcoe Streets is near-original condition. Yhe property has multiple historical connections to the city’s industrial and economic development.

One connection to agriculture is that, in 1852, Algernon Sidney Whiting and other stockholders formed the Oshawa Manufacturing Co.

 “The company manufactured agricultural implements such as farming hand tools, scythes and forks,” Jennifer Weymark, the archivist at the Oshawa Museum, told

Farmers could buy a set of one dozen tools for anywhere between CAD$9.00 and CAD$17.75. When adjusted for inflation in 2019, those numbers balloon to between CAD$393 (US$296) and CAD$775 (US$583) per dozen hand tools.

The company produced hand tools in the Whiting Ave. building until the business closed around 1858.

Between 1858 and 1898, either other companies occupied the building or it sat vacant.

In December 1898, James Robson, who owned the South Oshawa Tannery on Cedar Dale Creek, bought the building with expansion in mind. He moved tanning operations to Whiting Ave. after a fire destroyed his first property.

The tannery manufactured multiple varieties of leather used for shoes. During the Second World War, it supplied the Canadian army with boot leather.

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