Our History

Louis Leousis (Big Lou) founder of the Oasis Driver-In.

Big Lou, the founder (1956)

The Oasis Drive-In is Ontario's oldest Drive-In and one of Caledonia's oldest family run businesses.

Haldimand House 1890's

Haldimand House 1890's

Originally built has a Stage Coach Inn & Tavern 1842.

The Oasis Drive-In

Oasis Drive-In

Cone Cottage opened in 1927 & renamed the Oasis Drive-In 1950.

Haldimand House was originally built as a Stage Coach Inn & Tavern starting in 1836.

The Early Years

It started with Randald McKinnon

In 1834,  Ranald McKinnon was hired by the Grand River Navigation Company to construct Caledonia Dam and Lock number 3 at Caledonia. Caledonia was a vast wilderness. McKinnon started  industry in Caledonia with the construction of three water-powered mills. One for flour, one for textiles, and a saw  mill.

James Little (an Irish immigrant) heard of the Hamilton-Port Dover Plank Road crossing the Grand River in Caledonia. In 1836 he started construction on his first Caledonia business venture, a stagecoach inn, which he would name Haldimand House after Sir Frederick Haldimand: Governor of Upper Canada at the time.

On the Stagecoach Route
The business boomed early on as one of the main stops on the stagecoach route between Hamilton and Port Dover. The hotel quickly built up a reputation for famous ciders. Later that year Little sold Haldimand House to Bridget Britton.

During  Britton's control of the building, a portion was used for the campaign office of William Lyon McKenzie in his campaign for the Haldimand bi-election of 1851. McKenzie won this election and a party was held in Haldimand House to celebrate. Britton sold Haldimand  House to the Sutherland family in the late 1860s. They owned it until  1870 when it was sold to James Hayes.

Hayes continued to operate Haldimand House like it had been run for almost 50 years before as a hotel and bar. He died in 1900 and his daughter, Miss Maggie Hayes, sold it to Mr. Matthew Richardson and family.

The Richardson Family

The Richardson's continued to operate Haldimand House as a hotel and bar.

During the decades Canada was at War, Haldimand House served as a boarding house for soldiers before they were shipped overseas to Europe. Mrs. Richardson ran a strict household and was frequently upset by muddy sheets and messes created by her military guests.

In the 1920's prohibition struck Ontario and the bar was closed in Haldimand House. In 1927 Matthew's son, Walter Richardson took over the management of Haldimand House.
Walter opened a billiard hall in the old bar and constructed the Cone Cottage Refreshment stand which would later become The Oasis Drive-In in the 1950's. In the early 50's after Walter's death, Haldimand House was split into five apartments.

Restoration Years  (Leousis Family)
Haldimand House was sold to the  Leousis family which have owned the Oasis Drive-In since 1950 and Caledonia Candy Co. since 1936.

In  the early 1990's the first floor apartments were removed uncovering the original plank flooring and tin ceilings returning the historic building to its original hotel days.

In 1992 Haldimand House was opened as a Gift and Antique store. and so it moved on!

The Caledonia Candy Company was  revived manufacturing peanut brittle, brickle, almond bark, and a variety of chocolates and treats.

Today, Haldimand House features Haldimand County's best selection of Antique furniture, original Art  and Accessories; various  Boutiques, showcasing Ladies fashions, Candles, relaxing Spa/Holistic  soaps, Home/Garden Decor and more!

Haldimand House Today!

Today, Haldimand House is a retail store featuring Antiques, a large selection of Home & Garden Decor as well as various Boutiques!

We are also home to the Caledonia Candy Co. (est. 1936).

We offer an old world charm atmosphere that makes for an enjoyable shopping experience!