Bronte is a former fishing village which became annexed in 1962 with the former Township of Trafalgar, forming the Town of Oakville, along with the other formerly autonomous communities, including Sheridan.
The urban area of Bronte is to the north, east and the southwest. The north-central part is industrialized while the west is mixed with some farmland, a former Petro-Canada refinery (which has closed and will be dismantled by 2007) and forests cover the northwest and includes Bronte Creek Provincial Park which cuts off Upper Middle Road. The park area is also used for trailers and tents. Farmland used to cover most of Bronte (except for the northwest) before suburban housing came in the 1960s and the 1970s. Lakeshore houses are situated along the shore of Lake Ontario. The narrow creek valley of Twelve Mile Creek (informally know as Bronte Creek) is undeveloped, except at the mouth which serves as a boat harbour.
Some of Bronte's original settlers were United Empire Loyalists and any of the streets were named for these founding fathers: Sovereign, Hixon, Nelson and Belyea.
Bronte's first harbour was completed in 1856.
In the 1920s, Middle Road was built with 3 interchanges including Service Road. Middle Road became part of the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) in 1939.
In the mid-20th century, Cities Service built a refinery just south of the Queen Elizabeth Way, west of Bronte Road. The refinery was later acquired by British Petroleum and subsequently, Petro-Canada. Another refinery to the west was built by Shell with its entrance off Rebecca Street. The Shell Refinery ceased operations in 198_. The Petro-Canada refinery was decommissioned in 200_ and now is a bulk storage facility.
Streets in Bronte are numbered from east to west and lettered from A to L (or N?) from north to south. A housing boom started in the 1960s south of the QEW. Starting in the late-1980s, housing developments began north of the QEW and westward towards Burlington.
In the 1970s, a highway linking north to Milton (Highway 25) moved from Guelph Line to Bronte Road. Later in the 1980s, an interchange for Burloak was added. This major arterial route is now not legally a highway, but a "regional road" but is, in fact, called "The Veterans Highway."
In the 2000s, a new two-lane bridge was built to connect New Street at Mississaga Street and Rebecca Street at Bronte Road.
A community called Lakeshore Woods was built where the former Shell refinery was located. Construction began in the 2000s and is planned for completion by 2010.
In early March 2006, Stoneboats restaurant, which was located in one of Bronte's most historical buildings (built 1840), suffered heavy fire damage but is being rebuilt. A large portion of the historical part of the building was destroyed.