The Hard Oil Town

Petrolia's Victoria Hall. Built in 1889, the building houses the town's municipal offices, council chambers, and Victoria Playhouse Petrolia.

Historical Sketches of Canada's Victorian Oil Town

Welcome to Petrolia, Ontario

The development of this website is a humble attempt on my behalf to celebrate and bring awareness to the unique history and heritage of Canada's Victorian Oil Town-- Petrolia, Ontario. 

Over the next few months I hope to provide a few vintage photos, stories, and anecdotes about some of the more interesting personalities to stand out among the passing parade of talented and exceptional individuals who have, at one time or another, called Petrolia home.

While Petrolia could be considered the birthplace of the modern petrochemical industry, it is not my intention to direct any particular focus on the oil barrons of the area, of which there were many, and of whom, much has been written.

Rather, I am attempting a closer examination of the rich and intriguing lives and contributions of the many merchants and business people, artisans, politicians, and just plain working folk, who over the years, have collectively made Petrolia what it is today--one of the most beautiful and interesting small towns in Canada.

This is a work in progress and I will try to add something new each week. So be sure to visit often and please leave a message in my guest book.  I would be more than happy to hear from anyone who has information to add or would like to correct any of the assumptions presented.  I am in no way averse to any criticism that would make these stories more complete and accurate.

Hope you enjoy.

John J. Phair
Petrolia, Ontario N0N 1R0
Phone (519) 381-7000

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Joyce Howes | Reply 06.05.2017 20.36

Great idea it!!

deepaksingh 05.06.2017 03.34


Kathleen Mogk | Reply 06.05.2017 15.29

What a great idea John. Can't to see this idea grow, as I am sure it will,

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Latest comments

17.08 | 00:02

My name is Patricia Mcilwain , Kate Newton was a second cousin,. My mothers first cousin, Florence( Chambers) Young. Interesting story.

22.01 | 13:44

William Hay, my uncle, served on Petrolia as cook. My picture dressed in a navel uniform with an H.M.C.S. hat band, I was told was the " JACK" (Mascot)

19.08 | 12:32

I was Raised to the sublime Degree of a Master Mason on September 6, 1975 in a Masonic ??? Lodge #503 Ontario Canada.
My lodge Ira A. Beck #503 Battle Creek MI

05.06 | 03:34


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