Our History

July 1, 1867

The Oakville Wind Orchestra is Canada's oldest continuously-operating community concert band. It was formed by Captain R.B. Albertson in 1866 who trained it for the 20th Halton Infantry which was the predecessor to the Lorne Scots. Sponsorship of the band was assumed by the Town of Oakville in 1881, and has continued to this day.

Concert band music is currently experiencing a revival in North America. This popularity has manifested itself in large numbers of new repertoire of all styles of music arranged by leading composers. The OWO, formerly known as the Oakville Concert Band, has tapped into this pool of talent and is currently experiencing a revival of its own. Recently OWO membership has increased and many of our audiences have enthusiastically supported this growth.

Message from the Musical Director


I always stop in my tracks when I see this photograph.

According to the research of Oakville historian, Hazel C. Matthews, the picture was taken on July 1, 1867.

This date characterizes the spirit of our proud nation, and it has special meaning for every citizen of Oakville. July 1, 1867 also holds a special place in the hearts and minds of every musician who has played for the OWO over the past 140+ years.

Putting Canada together must have been quite a job. What a daunting task it must have been to pit the limitations of technology against the obstacles of distance, culture, language, and ideals! Canada’s spirit is constantly tested and redefined by her willingness to rise to this never-ending challenge with the same vigor that she had on Dominion Day.

On that day, at 10 am, Oakville launched the White Oak, the newest 200-ton schooner built by Duncan Chisolm. The ship was given the nickname of Oakville’s founder, William Chisolm, and more than 2,000 citizens stood in the blistering heat to watch the launch from the shipyards on the Sixteen.

The same pride we felt on that day echoes throughout our Oakville even now.

History also recalls that Dominion Day heard the first performance of the group that evolved into today’s Oakville Wind Orchestra.

Captain R.B. Albertson formed the regimental band in the previous September, and by all accounts, he was tireless in his efforts. He quickly set about the acquisition of instruments and rehearsal space so that his charges would be ready and able to bring music to the celebrations on a day that would prove to be so important to every man, woman, and child in Oakville.

When I look at these musicians, I am struck by the fact that everything changes while it still remains the same. I guess I stop in my tracks because I know that we all feel, in some eerie way, that we had better not let them down. It always takes me a few seconds to remember that the responsibility is truly exhilarating. 

-Chris Arthurs