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The automobile industry, specifically the Canadian division of General Motors Company, known as General Motors Canada, has always been at the forefront of Oshawa's economy. Founded in 1876 as the McLaughlin Carriage Company, General Motors of Canada's headquarters and major assembly plants are located in the city. The lavish home of the carriage company's founder, Parkwood Estate, is a National Historic Site, and a backdrop favoured by numerous film crews, and has been featured in many movies including Studio 54, Chicago, and X-Men.
Oshawa was also home to Windfields Farm, a thoroughbred horse breeding operation and birthplace of Canada's most famous racehorse, Northern Dancer.
Once very much a distinct community - physically, economically, and culturally - Oshawa has been increasingly subsumed into the Greater Toronto Area.