When most people hear the name Oakville, they immediately think of the large Ontario city of that name. However, my Oakville is actually located halfway between Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, just three kilometers south of the number one highway. Although many people have never heard of Oakville, it is home to several people of note. Take for instance, Janet Marie Salway, who was inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame; Joan Ingram, who is recognized in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Manitoba Softball Hall of Fame; also Rick Blight, former NHL star and curling legend. Many travelers may view Oakville as a mere rest stop on the way to a greater destination, but to the people that live here, it is a little something more. My video, Prairie Monuments, is the story of Oakville.
Sometime before European settlers arrived, an Aboriginal tribe set up camp near the area that is now known as Oakville. There was little available drinking water, poor land, and little wood. The tribe abandoned their camp but they left behind the name, Kawende, which, in English, means no good. You might think that people would not want to live in a no good town so in 1890, the name was changed from Kawende to Oakville. This is said to be because of the great number of oak trees that once covered the region. However, in 1891, the name was changed once more, this time from Oakville, back to Kawende. This was apparently to avoid confusion with Oakville, Ontario. On 13 March 1939, the name was officially changed back from Kawende to Oakville.
Over a century has passed since the town of Oakville began. The town that once was, does not exist anymore. …