Burlington, Ontario

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City of Burlington
Brant Street in Downtown Burlington, Ontario.jpg
Brant Street in Downtown Burlington
Burlington logo.svg
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Canada Southern Ontario location map 2.png
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Coordinates: 43°19′N79°48′W / 43.317°N 79.800°W / 43.317; -79.800 Coordinates: 43°19′N79°48′W / 43.317°N 79.800°W / 43.317; -79.800
Province Ontario
Region Halton
City status1974
  Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
  Governing Body Burlington City Council
   MPs Karina Gould (Lib), Pam Damoff (Lib), Adam van Koeverden (Lib)
   MPPs Jane McKenna (PC), Parm Gill (PC), Effie Triantafilopoulos (PC)
  Total185.66 km2 (71.68 sq mi)
74 m (243 ft)
 (2016) [1]
  Total183,314 (Ranked 28th)
  Density946.8/km2 (2,452/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Burlingtonian, Burlingtonite
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Forward sortation area
Area code(s) 905, 289, 365
Highways Ontario QEW crown.svg  Queen Elizabeth Way
Ontario 403 crown.svg  Highway 403
Ontario 407 crown.svg  Highway 407
FormerOntario 2 crown.svg  Highway 2 FormerOntario 5 crown.svg  Highway 5
Website www.burlington.ca
Burlington in the Regional Municipality of Halton Burlington, Ontario Location.png
Burlington in the Regional Municipality of Halton

Burlington is a city in the Regional Municipality of Halton at the northwestern end of Lake Ontario in Ontario, Canada. Along with Milton to the north, Burlington forms the western end of the Greater Toronto Area and is also part of the Hamilton metropolitan census area.



The Brant Hotel in 1902. Located on the shore of Lake Ontario in Burlington, the hotel was erected on the former homestead of Joseph Brant, and was the largest resort in Canada. The hotel was expropriated and used as a military hospital in 1917, demolished and rebuilt in the 1930s, and then demolished in 1964. Brant Hotel - Burlington, Ontario (1902).jpg
The Brant Hotel in 1902. Located on the shore of Lake Ontario in Burlington, the hotel was erected on the former homestead of Joseph Brant, and was the largest resort in Canada. The hotel was expropriated and used as a military hospital in 1917, demolished and rebuilt in the 1930s, and then demolished in 1964.

Before pioneer settlement in the 19th century, the area was covered by the primeval forest that stretched between the provincial capital of York and the town of Hamilton, and was home to various First Nations peoples. In 1792, John Graves Simcoe, the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, named the western end of Lake Ontario "Burlington Bay" after the town of Bridlington in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. [3]

The British purchased the land on which Burlington now stands from the Mississaugas in Treaties 3, 8, 14, and 19 signed in 1792, 1797, 1806, and 1818 respectively. Treaty 8 concerned the purchase of the Brant Tract, 3,450 acres (1,400 ha) on Burlington Bay which the British granted to Mohawk chief Joseph Brant for his service in the American Revolutionary War. [4] [5] Subsequent disputes between the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the Canadian government over payment for the Brant Tract and the Toronto Purchase were settled in 2010 for the sum of $145 million (CAD). [5] [6]

By the turn of the 19th century, the name "Burlington" was already in common use. With the completion of the local survey after the War of 1812, the land was opened for settlement. Early farmers prospered in the Burlington area because the area had fertile soil and moderate temperatures. Produce from the farms was shipped out via the bustling docks of the lakeside villages of Port Nelson and Wellington Square, as well as Brown's Wharf in the nearby village of Port Flamborough (which was to become Aldershot). Lumber taken from the surrounding forests also competed for space on the busy docks. However, in the latter half of the 19th century, increased wheat production from Western Canada convinced local farmers to switch to fruit and vegetable production.

In 1874, Wellington Square and Port Nelson were incorporated into the Village of Burlington. However, the arrival of large steamships on the Great Lakes made the small docks of the local ports obsolete, and the increased use of railway to ship goods marked the end of the commercial wharves.

Farming still thrived though, and the resultant growth resulted in continued prosperity. By 1906, the town boasted its own newspaper—the Burlington Gazette—as well as a town library and a local rail line that connected Burlington to nearby Hamilton. During the First World War, 300 local men volunteered for duty in the Canadian Expeditionary Force—38 did not return. In 1915, Burlington was incorporated into a town.

As more settlers arrived and cleared the land, cash crops replaced subsistence farming. Gradually, mixed farming and market gardens became the dominant form of agriculture, and in the early 20th century the area was declared the Garden of Canada. The first peaches grown in Canada were cultivated in the Grindstone Creek watershed in the city's south-west part. The farming tradition has passed down through the generations. Today over forty percent of the Grindstone Creek watershed is still devoted to farms, orchards and nurseries. [7]

Following the Second World War, cheap electricity from nearby Niagara Falls and better transportation access due to the new (1939) Queen Elizabeth Way encouraged both light industry and families to move to Burlington. The population skyrocketed as new homes were built, encouraging developers to build even more new homes. On 1 January 1958, Burlington officially annexed most of the Township of Nelson, as well as Aldershot, formerly a part of East Flamborough Township. By 1967, the last cash crop farm within the city had been replaced by the Burlington Centre. [8]

Burlington was the site of the Brant Inn built by the lake in 1917, which became famous during the ’40s and ’50s for showing big-band performers.

By 1974, with a population exceeding 100,000, Burlington was incorporated as a city. The extremely high rate of growth continued, and between 2001 and 2006, the population of Burlington grew by 9%, compared to Canada's overall growth rate of 5.4%. By 2006, the population topped 160,000.

Geography and climate

Burlington is at the southwestern end of Lake Ontario, just to the north east of Hamilton and the Niagara Peninsula, roughly in the geographic centre of the urban corridor known as the Golden Horseshoe. Burlington has a land area of 187 km2 (72 sq mi). The main urban area is south of the Parkway Belt and Hwy. 407. The land north of this, and north Aldershot is used primarily for agriculture, rural residential and conservation purposes. The Niagara Escarpment, Lake Ontario and the sloping plain between the escarpment and the lake make up the land area of Burlington. The city is no longer a port; sailing vessels in the area are used for recreational purposes and moor at a 215 slip marina in LaSalle Park.

Burlington's climate is humid continental (Köppen climate classification Dfa) with warm, humid summers and cold, somewhat drier winters. The climate is moderated by its proximity to Lake Ontario. Monthly mean temperatures range from 22.5 °C (72.5 °F) in July to −4.4 °C (24.1 °F) in January. The average annual precipitation is 763 millimetres (30.0 in) of rain and 99 centimetres (39 in) of snow.

Although it shares the temperate climate found in Southern Ontario, its proximity to Lake Ontario moderates winter temperatures and it also benefits from a sheltering effect of the Niagara Escarpment, allowing the most northerly tracts of Carolinian forest to thrive on the Escarpment that runs through western sections of city. Several species of flora and fauna usually found only in more southern climes are present in Burlington, including paw-paw, green dragon ( Arisaema dracontium ), tuckahoe ( Peltandra virginica ), American columbo ( Frasera caroliniensis ), wall-rue ( Asplenium ruta-muraria ), plus the Louisiana waterthrush, the hooded warbler, the southern flying squirrel and the rare eastern pipistrelle. Near the visible promontory of Mount Nemo that rises some 200 m (650 ft) above the lake level, a "vertical forest" of white cedar clinging to the Escarpment face includes many small trees that are more than a thousand years old. [9]

Hamilton Harbour, the western end of Lake Ontario, is bounded on its western shore by a large sandbar, now called the Beach strip, that was deposited during the last ice age. A canal bisecting the sandbar allows ships access to the harbour. The Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway (part of the Queen Elizabeth Way), and the Canal Lift Bridge allow access over the canal.

Climate data for Burlington (1981–2010)
Record high °C (°F)15.0
Average high °C (°F)−0.6
Daily mean °C (°F)−4.4
Average low °C (°F)−8.1
Record low °C (°F)−29.4
Average precipitation mm (inches)66.0
Average rainfall mm (inches)31.8
Average snowfall cm (inches)34.2
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)12.49.611.012.511.810.910.110.210.910.713.911.9135.8
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm)
Source: Environment Canada [10]


1996 136,976+5.7%
2001 150,836+10.1%
2006 164,415+9.0%
2011 175,779+6.9%
2016 183,314+4.3%
[11] [1]


According to the 2011 census, Burlington's population was 175,779. As of the 2006 census, 48% of residents were male and 52% female. Minors (individuals under the age of 18) made up 24.5% of the population (almost identical to the national average of 24.4%), and pensioners (age 65+) numbered 15.4% (significantly higher than the national average 13.7%). This older population was also reflected in Burlington's average age of 40.3, which was higher than the Canadian average of 39.5. [12]

Ethnic origins

Ethnic origin [1] PopulationPercent
English 59,33036.51%
Scottish 39,60524.37%
Irish 33,85520.83%
German 16,64010.24%
French 15,9809.83%
Italian 11,4307.03%
Dutch 8,5755.27%
Polish 8,1205.00%

The 2016 census records a visible minority of 16%. [13]

The top eight ethnic origins from the 2006 census are listed in the accompanying table. Percentages add up to more than 100% because respondents were able to choose more than one ethnicity.


According to the 2011 Census, [14] English is the mother tongue for 80.7% of the residents of Burlington, followed by French (1.8%), Polish (1.3%), Spanish (1.2%), German (1.1%) and Italian (1.1%). However, Statistics Canada warned that "data users are advised to exercise caution when evaluating trends related to mother tongue and home language that compare 2011 census data to those of previous censuses," due to the discontinuation of the mandatory long census form by the federal government. [15]


In the 2001 Canadian census, 78% of Burlington residents identified themselves as Christian. Of these, approximately 41% claimed adherence to one of the mainstream Protestant churches or were Anglican, 32% were Roman Catholic, and the remaining 27% belonged to other denominations such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and various Orthodox denominations. [16] [ failed verification ] Of the remaining 22% of the population that did not identify themselves as Christian, 16.6% identified themselves as following no religion, 1.0% were Muslim, 0.7% Sikh, 0.5% Hindu, 0.4% Jewish, 0.3% Buddhist, and 0.1% Pagan. [16]


Burlington's economic strength is the diversity of its economic base, mainly achieved because of its geography, proximity to large industries in southern Ontario (Canada's largest consumer market), its location within the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and proximity to Hamilton, and its transportation infrastructure including the Port of Hamilton on Burlington Bay. This diversity has allowed for sustained growth with regards to the economy. [17] The city has a robust economy with potential for growth – it is at the hub of the Golden Horseshoe, is largely driven by both the automotive and manufacturing sectors.

No single employer or job sector dominates Burlington's economy. The leading industrial sectors, in terms of employment, are food processing, packaging, electronics, motor vehicle/transportation, business services, chemical/pharmaceutical and environmental. The top five private sector employers in Burlington are Fearmans Pork Inc, Cogeco Cable, Evertz Microsystems, Boehringer Ingelheim and EMC2. Other notable business include The EBF Group, ARGO Land Development, and The Sunshine Doughnut Company. [18] [19] The largest public sector employers in the city are the City of Burlington, the Halton District School Board, the Halton Catholic District School Board and Joseph Brant Hospital.

Burlington Centre and Mapleview Centre are popular malls within the city. The many summer festivals in the city, include Canada's Largest Ribfest, and the Burlington Sound of Music Festival which also attract many visitors.

Media and journalism

Television stations

Burlington is primarily served by media based in Toronto (other than those noted below), as it is geographically in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).


Burlington is part of the Hamilton radio market. One radio station, FM 107.9 CJXY, is licensed to Burlington and another, FM 94.7 CHKX, to "Hamilton/Burlington." Both presently broadcast from studios in Hamilton. Burlington listeners are also served by stations licensed to Toronto, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Buffalo, New York.

The following publications are either published in or around Burlington, or have Burlington as one of their main subjects:


M. M. Robinson High School MM Robinson High School.jpg
M. M. Robinson High School

Burlington's public elementary and secondary schools are part of the Halton District School Board. Burlington's Catholic elementary and secondary schools are part of the Halton Catholic District School Board. French public elementary and secondary schools are part of the Conseil scolaire Viamonde and French catholic elementary and secondary schools are part of the Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir. Several private schools are also available in the city.

Elementary schools

There are 29 public elementary schools and 14 Roman Catholic elementary schools in Burlington.

High schools

There are seven public high schools and three Catholic high schools in Burlington.




There are 11 private schools in Burlington.




A Burlington Transit bus Burlington Transit New Flyer Invero 7009-03.jpg
A Burlington Transit bus

Burlington Transit, the public transport provider in the city, provides service on a transportation grid centred on three commuter GO Train stations: Appleby, Burlington and Aldershot.

Major transportation corridors through the city include the Queen Elizabeth Way, Highway 403, Highway 407, and Dundas Street (former Highway 5). Commuter rail service is provided by GO Transit at the Appleby GO Station, Burlington GO Station and the Aldershot GO station. Intercity rail service is provided by Via Rail at Aldershot, which also serves Hamilton. Rail cargo transportation is provided by both Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific.

On 26 February 2012, a Via Rail train traveling from Niagara Falls to Toronto Union Station derailed in Burlington, with three fatalities. [22]

Burlington Airpark in the city's north end is a thriving general-aviation without regular commercial passenger flight service. Some charter operations are provided.

Emergency services

Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital, downtown Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital in Burlington, Ontario.jpg
Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital, downtown

Policing in Burlington is performed by the Halton Regional Police Service. [23]

Fire service is provided by the Burlington Fire Department with eight fire stations.

Paramedic Services in Burlington are provided by Halton Region Paramedic Services with four paramedic stations.


City Hall, on Brant Street Burlington, Ontario City Hall.jpg
City Hall, on Brant Street
The federal and provincial riding of Burlington, which covers a large portion of the city of Burlington. (The riding of Halton covers the northeast parts of the city.) Author: Elections Canada. Burlington (riding map).png
The federal and provincial riding of Burlington, which covers a large portion of the city of Burlington. (The riding of Halton covers the northeast parts of the city.) Author: Elections Canada.

Local government

The city is divided into six wards, each represented by a city councillor. The mayor, who chairs the city council, is Marianne Meed Ward.

Council elected for 2018–2022

  • Mayor: Marianne Meed Ward
  • Ward 1: Kelvin Galbraith
  • Ward 2: Lisa Kearns
  • Ward 3: Rory Nisan
  • Ward 4: Shawna Stolte
  • Ward 5: Paul Sharman
  • Ward 6: Angelo Bentivegna

Source: [24]


Federally, the city is represented by three MPs whose ridings cover parts of the city:


Provincially, the city is represented by three MPPs, whose ridings are geographically contiguous with their federal counterparts:

Recreation and sites of interest

Spencer Smith Park on Burlington's waterfront Spencer Smith Park in Burlington, Ontario.jpg
Spencer Smith Park on Burlington's waterfront

There are 115 parks and 580 hectares (1,400 acres) of parkland in the city.

Brant Street Pier Brant street pier 1.jpg
Brant Street Pier

On the shore of Lake Ontario, Spencer Smith Park features an expansive shoreline walking path. The park is newly renovated, with an observatory, outdoor pond, water jet play area and restaurant. Many annual free festivals take place in Spencer Smith Park, including Canada's Largest Ribfest and the Sound of Music Festival, Canada Day, Children's Festival and Lakeside Festival of Lights. There is also the semi-annual prix fixe Taste of Burlington dining event.

The Brant Street Pier opened in Spencer Smith Park during the Sound of Music Festival on Father's Day weekend 2013. [25] Thousands of people from Burlington and beyond flocked to the pier to enjoy sunshine and scenic views. The pier extends 137 metres over Lake Ontario and provides views of the lake and Burlington's shoreline.

The Art Gallery of Burlington is adjacent to Spencer Smith Park, and contains diverse permanent and changing exhibits. The Gallery houses a prominent collection of Canadian ceramics. The Gallery's exhibition spaces, which feature new exhibitions every eight to ten weeks, are fully accessible and are free to visitors. [26]

"Royal Canadian Naval Association Naval Memorial" (1995) by Andre Gauthier, Spencer Smith Park WWII Navy Memorial in Spencer Smith Park in Burlington, Ontario.jpg
"Royal Canadian Naval Association Naval Memorial" (1995) by André Gauthier, Spencer Smith Park

"Royal Canadian Naval Association Naval Memorial (1995)" by André Gauthier is a 1.93-metre (6 ft 4 in) high cast bronze statue of a World War II Canadian sailor in the position of attention saluting his lost shipmates, which was erected in Spencer Smith Park. The model for the statue was a local Sea Cadet wearing Mike Vencel's naval service uniform. [27] On the black granite base, the names of Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Merchant Navy ships sunk during World War II are engraved. On the granite wall, the names of all Royal Canadian Navy ships and Canadian Merchant Marine vessels which saw service in World War II are engraved. [28] Atop the wall is the ship's bell from HMCS Burlington. A monument commemorating the Korean War was erected in the summer of 2014 to mark the 61st anniversary of the armistice to end the war. [29]

Burlington is home to the Royal Botanical Gardens, which has the world's largest lilac collection. Ontario's botanical garden and National Historic Site of Canada features over 2,700 acres (11 km2) of gardens and nature sanctuaries, including four outdoor display gardens, the Mediterranean Garden under glass, three on-site restaurants, the Gardens' Gift Shop, and festivals.

Lasalle Park, in the Burlington neighbourhood of Aldershot, is owned by the city of Hamilton but is leased by Burlington, which also assumes responsibility for maintenance.

Several conservation areas are minutes away and feature year round activities. Mount Nemo Conservation Area is the only area in Burlington that is operated by Conservation Halton. Bronte Creek Provincial Park, along the city's eastern boundary, features a campground and recreational activities and events year-round.

The local sections of the Bruce Trail and the Niagara Escarpment, which is a UNESCO designated World Biosphere Reserve, provide excellent hiking opportunities. Kerncliff Park, in an abandoned quarry on the boundary with Waterdown, is a naturalized area on the lip of the Niagara Escarpment. The Bruce Trail runs through the park, at many points running along the edge of the cliffs, providing a clear overlook of Burlington, the Burlington Skyway Bridge, Hamilton, and Oakville. On a clear day, one can see the CN Tower in Toronto, approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) from the park.

The Joseph Brant Museum and Ireland House are also popular attractions. Joseph Brant Museum has ongoing exhibits on the history of Burlington, the Eileen Collard Costume Collection, Captain Joseph Brant and the visible storage gallery. Ireland House at Oakridge Farm is a history museum depicting family life from the 1850s to the 1920s. In 2017 the Freeman Railway Station, originally built 1906 for the Grand Trunk Railway was reopened as an interpretive center.

Burlington offers four indoor and two outdoor pools, four splash pads, nine ice pads, four community centres and nine golf courses. The Appleby Ice Centre is a 4-pad arena, used year-round for skating and ice hockey. [30]

The Burlington Performing Arts Centre opened in 2011. This 940-seat facility is on Locust Street in the downtown core. It contains two theatres for theatrical and musical performances. [31]

Malls and shopping


The Burlington Teen Tour Band has operated in the city since 1947, including members between the ages of 13 and 21. The marching band, nicknamed The Redcoats due to the colour of its uniforms, are regular participants in major international parades. They are also referred to as "Canada's Musical Ambassadors" and have represented Canada all over the world. [32] One such occasion was during the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade, where the band represented Canada for the fifth time in the band's history. [33] The band is led by Rob Bennett, managing director. [34]

The Junior Redcoats are the younger version of the Teen Tour Band. The band includes children between the ages of 9 to 12. The Junior Redcoats' major performances are most commonly at the Burlington Santa Claus Parade, the Waterdown Santa Claus Parade, the Burlington Performing Arts Centre (along with the Teen Tour Band) and the Sound of Music Parade. They are directed by Caroline Singh. [35]

The Burlington Concert Band has been in operation since 1908. The band, composed of local volunteer musicians, plays a wide variety of musical styles and repertoire. It primarily performs to raise money for charitable causes. The Burlington Concert Band is a participating member of Performing Arts Burlington as well as the Canadian Band Association. The band maintains an open membership policy, allowing anyone who feels they can handle the music competently to join without an audition. Its primary venue has been the Burlington Performing Arts Center since it opened in 2011. Zoltan Kalman directs the Burlington Concert Band that is led by an elected board headed by Steven Hewis. [36]

The current Burlington Area Scouts came into existence in 1958 as "Burlington District" with amalgamation of several groups from Burlington and surrounding area. There are 17 active groups within the Area, providing Scouting to over 700 members. The Area stretches outside the city limits of Burlington and encompasses the additional communities of Waterdown, Kilbride, and Carlisle. [37]


Burlington Cougars Ice Hockey Ontario Junior Hockey League Appleby Ice Centre
Burlington Chiefs Box Lacrosse Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League Central Arena
Burlington Jr. Barracudas Ice Hockey Provincial Women's Hockey League Mainway Ice Centre
Halton United Soccer Canadian Soccer League Norton Park

Local teams

The following are the names associated with Burlington sport teams:

NEXXICE is a synchronized skating team associated with the Burlington Skating Club (and the Kitchener Waterloo Skating Club). They are the reigning Canadian Senior champions, and were the first (and only) Canadian team to win a world championship.

There was an ill-fated proposal to move the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to Burlington as part of a stadium construction plan in conjunction with a bid for the 2015 Pan Am Games. [38]

International competition

Burlington, Ontario, founded the Burlington International Games (B.I.G.). The games were first held in 1969 "to offer an athletic and cultural exchange experience for the youth of Burlington." Until recently, the games took place between Burlington, Ontario, and Burlington, Vermont, United States. But, other cities from places such as Quebec, Japan, the Netherlands, and the U.S. have all had athletes compete since 1998. [39] The games celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2009 and the competition ceased in 2010 due to limited participation in recent years.

A view of Burlington at night

Notable people

Artists and writers



TV, film, and stage


Twin cities

Burlington has twin-city relationships with the following cities: [40]

Past City Relationships:

See also

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Grindstone Creek is a stream in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Ontario, Canada. It is in the Great Lakes Basin and is a tributary of Lake Ontario at the western end of the lake.

Lakeshore Road

Lakeshore Road is a historic roadway in the Canadian province of Ontario, running through the city of Burlington and the town of Oakville in Halton Region, as well as the city of Mississauga in Peel Region. As its name implies, the road closely follows the shoreline of Lake Ontario, although the lake itself is not visible from the road in most areas. Lakeshore Road was once a key section of the historic Highway 2, which traversed the province, but has since been downloaded to local municipalities. Despite this historical role as a major route, however, most of the road is a lower-capacity picturesque residential and historic commercial street with only two through lanes until it becomes a four-lane, higher-volume artery after it enters Mississauga and jogs to the north.


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