Oil, oil, oil! That is what created the Best Town on Earth. Historic wealth is still evident in the homes, buildings, and parks. And yes…you can smell the oil. But our Heritage is much more than the black gold that continues to be drawn from creaking wells located just a short stroll from our thriving downtown. Oil may have enticed folks here, but Petrolia was created, nurtured, and sustained by hardworking visionaries, shopkeepers, builders, drillers, labourers, and leaders. Hard Oils and visitors have been and continue to be our greatest resource. Among them are William H. McGarvey (1843-1914), Petrolia shop owner, Mayor and future Petroleum King of Austria),and current resident George McPhee who manages our compost site with Wall Street precision and ensures our children’s safety as they cross Petrolia Line on their way to school. Our residents are a wonderfully diverse group who have left us with an abundance of architecture, theatre, industry, education, healthcare, and social institutions. Through photos, documents, newspapers and artifacts these people and their stories continue to play an integral part in our history. Our Heritage continues to evolve and we love to share our stories. We take great pride in our Pre – Confederation, VanTuyl and Fairbank Hardware store where they still thread pipe, cut steel, and sell gumboots. VanTuyl and Fairbank’s has the distinction of being the oldest independent hardware store in Ontario and possibly Canada. Victoria Hall, built in 1889, destroyed by fire in 1989, and restored in 1992, continues to provide professional theatre and enjoyable entertainment to this day. It is also been the home of our municipal government for more than 100 years.
This is our Heritage!
Come and be part of our history.
Victoria HallPetrolia is home to the Historic Victoria Hall. Built in 1889, this majestic building has been the centre of our town for over 120 years. Please CLICK HERE to learn more about Victoria Hall, Petrolia
The Petrolia Heritage CommitteeThe Town of Petrolia holds a place of distinction in the history of the global oil industry. The influence of Petrolia’s innovations, businesses and people has been felt the world over. The Petrolia Heritage Committee is a small, dedicated group of citizens, that advises Council on matters relating to the history and heritage of the town. Our rich legacy of architecture, industrialization, social and cultural activities and colourful characters provides a never ending story we love to share with residents and visitors. The Petrolia Heritage Committee is committed to preserving our heritage, promoting the positive, and educating the public about Petrolia’s past in order to encourage pride and add to the quality of life in our community. If you share our enthusiasm or have items and memories to contribute to the Petrolia story please contact us through the Town of Petrolia or our website. Check out our new HistoryPin project, an online historical tour of Petrolia, created in partnership with the Lambton County Archives! HERITAGE DESIGNATED PROPERTY REBATE FORMS AVAILABLE HERE!
Visitors to the Petrolia Discovery experience a fascinating, one-of-a-kind glimpse into the early days of the world’s oil boom. From the first, hand-dug wells of the 1850s, to the great refineries and machine shops which abounded at the turn of the century, Petrolia’s Oil Heritage runs old and deep as the wells themselves. Guests not only take in historical displays and informative movies, but get a chance to see an authentic 1860’s oilfield in action. Please visit The Petrolia Discovery Website for more information.