Why we love Woodstock and Oxford County…
Did you know that Oxford County is technically a regional municipality despite the word “county” being in its name? It includes the City of Woodstock as well as the townships of Tillsonburg, Norwich, Tavistock and Ingersoll! Oxford County is a popular tourist attraction, conveniently located where two major highways meet.
History buffs can pay a visit to Woodstock, Oxford County’s largest city to see the Historic Museum Square. The square is home to Theatre Woodstock and The Woodstock Museum, which was once the Woodstock Town Hall (circa 1851) and a National Historic Site. Their old jail, built in 1854 is still used today.
The history of Oxford county goes all the way back to 1792 when Sir John Graves Simcoe began to lay plans for the development of interior Upper Canada. The Township of Burford was formed in 1792 and a year later Oxford-on-the-Thames and Blenheim were formed. These townships are what formed the County of Oxford in 1800. Woodstock was settled in that same year.
In 1826, the boundaries of Oxford County expanded to include the townships of Blandford, Blenheim, Oxford, Nissouri, Zorra, Dereham, Norwich, Burford and Oakland. Ten years of steady settlement later, there were 200 people living in Woodstock and by 1844, the town had a population of 940 with over 160 homes.
By 1902, Woodstock’s population had grown to 8,833, which was enough to petition the provincial government and become a city. On July 1st, 1901 Woodstock, The Industrial City, was born. At that time their motto was “Onward and Upward.”
Now, Oxford County is known for its dairy. Tourists and locals alike enjoy the work of artisan cheese makers, a visit to the dairy history museum and a day strolling farmers markets! Residents and visitors enjoy Woodstock’s Cowapolooza and Dairy Capital Cheese Fest every year. Woodstock also has Oxford County’s first brewery, Upper Thames Brewing Company and art lovers can enjoy Woodstock Art Gallery Oxford County, as well as the many theatres through the area. People who love the outdoors can look no further as Oxford County has beautiful cycling routes, two conservation areas, and more than 100 kilometers of trails.
Fun fact: Green Tourism Canada has awarded gold level certification to Tourism Oxford for their environmental practices and efforts to encourage green travel in the region.