Oshawa Dairy

1908-1967

Oshawa Dairy Ltd. (also known as Hart Dairy) was founded by Earnest George Hart. His first dairy was located on Mackie’s Farm, near the Oshawa town limits to the east, in 1908.  In 1912, the family moved to the Phair Farm, located south of Prestonvale. In 1914, Hart built his home with dairy and stables in the rear on top of Hart’s Hill.  In the following years, the dairy became a plant, and Hart moved the business to 434 Simcoe Street South; he also bought out several small milk delivery businesses, including Harmony, Cameron, Landers, Henderson’s, and others, which caused the Hart business to outgrow the plant. A new plant was built in 1927, located across the street at 431 Simcoe Street South; it was reported to be “…the most modern between Toronto and Montreal” (reflected on in “Jo’s Journal,” Oshawa Times, September 23, 1967).

George Hart and Sons were pioneers in pasteurizing milk in this area – the dairy started bottling as early as 1912 and was pasteurizing milk in 1919.  In 1935, Oshawa Dairy was the first to use another very important treatment of raw milk called clarifying.  This screened the raw milk to remove any impurities that may have entered from the time the milk left the cow and was delivered to the plant.  This machinery was installed in their new plant.  Mr. Hart operated with only one employee, Harry Ashton.  Ashton was the dairy’s first employee and worked for George Hart for 30 years.  All of the family was involved with the business.  His son Harold joined him in 1914, Maurice in 1915, Ernest came into the firm in 1922, and William (Bill), in 1935; all remained there until their deaths.

Oshawa Dairy offered delivery five days per week and continued to use horse and buggies until 1955, when they bought 11 GMC and Chevrolet delivery trucks. At one point, the Oshawa Dairy had 35 horses. The dairy continued to expand in the later decades with the acquisition of the Whitby Dairy in 1952, Hillcrest Dairy (Whitby) in 1962, and Beatons Dairy Products in 1963.

They continued to deliver door to door into the 1960s, using milk bottles up to that time; cardboard cartons were used in stores only.

Maurice was the President and General Manager when his father passed away in 1953.  Mr. Edward Henderson, whose father ran the Henderson Dairy in Cedardale was Secretary Treasurer.  Mr. Henderson started with the company as a route salesman and was familiar with all aspects of the dairy. At the time of the sale of Oshawa Dairy to Ideal Dairy, Maurice Hart (semi retired) was President, Bill Hart was General Manager and Vice-President, grandson Doug Hart was Plant Supervisor, and grandson Grant Hart was Sales Manager.

In 1967, Ideal Dairy took the Oshawa Dairy. The purchase included all Oshawa Dairy acquisitions but not the property, which ceased to operate.  This purchase made Ideal Dairy the largest and only local dairy left in Oshawa.


This article has been updated with additions and corrections, suggested by members of the Hart family. Thank you for helping us tell stories that made our community.

6 reviews

  1. Edits and Corrections

    Please add or correct:

    1) The plant at 431 Simcoe opened in 1927. The quote on it being the best dairy between Toronto and Montreal was in 1927 not 1967.

    2) Harry Aston, the dairy’s first employee, was hired in 1914 and worked for George Hart for 30 years. He was a guest of honor in 1961 at the opening of the dairy’s major upgrade and pushed the button to start up the plant.

    3) George Hart’s youngest son, William (Bill) joined the dairy in 1935 and continued on as Sales Manager after serving in WWII.

    4) Home delivery continued until the business was sold in 1967.

    5) At the time of the sale of Oshawa Dairy to Ideal Dairy, Maurice Hart (semi retired) was President, Bill Hart was General Manager and Vice-President. Grandson Doug Hart was Plant Supervisor and grandson Grant Hart was Sales Manager.

    6) The Dairy at the time of its sale was own by Harcrest Foods in which all of George Hart’s children (or widowed spouses) and some long time employees were shareholders.

    7) Ideal Dairy purchased the business and the trucks from Oshawa Dairy.
    Mr. W.J. English purchased the bulk haulage side of the business.

    Anyone particularly interested in dairy history can purchase ‘The Dairy that Satisfies’ at www. blurb.com/bookstore or hopefully locate the copy I donated to the Oshawa Public Library.

    These edits are suggested by Dallas Hart, granddaughter of George Hart, and author of ‘The Dairy that Satisfies – The Story of George Hart and Oshawa Dairy’.

    1. Thanks for the comment – any errors or omissions were not intentional. We appreciate the feedback.

  2. loved the picture of the one driver , not sure who that is, wish I knew

    i have some of these Pictures My Mom Ida , father Maurice Hart , pronounce Morris , I Grandpa used to drive the horses, he went to work young at 12 or 13 not sure , he used to tell me about he one blind mare and her son and the one horse who liked to lie down on route, then he told me you had to outsmart a horse, I ride horses sometimes Grandpa , but they can outsmart you , I miss him very much , he was always interested in my Riding days with my first horse, he was a good man

    1. Thanks for reading!

  3. A nice tribute but contains several major errors...

    I am a grandaughter of George Hart and trust that you will soon incorporate the necessary corrections to this article that my sister, Dallas Hart, sent you. There are some major errors and omissions in this piece.

    1. Thanks for the comment – any errors or omissions were not intentional. We appreciate the feedback.

Rate and write a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Simcoe Street South 431
Oshawa L1H 4J6 ON CA
Get directions