A view of Burlington taken from the Niagara Escarpment, Mt. Nemo.
I have to admit that for many years, Burlington was a place I simply drove through. I really didn't pay much attention to it as I drove along the QEW, off to visit my mother in Niagara.
Then, I met my in-laws and they lived in the shadow of the Niagara Escarpment. I became amazed at all the city had to offer quite quickly. Now, it’s no surprise to me that Burlington ranks as Canada’s best mid-sized city to live in.
For one, it champions a very green and active mayor, Rick Goldring. Mayor Goldring is an advocate of the local environment, having shown great leadership in issues around the Niagara Escarpment. We're happy to say, he is a huge supporter and a great friend of Ontario's Greenbelt.
You might also remember Burlington as the site of a recent aggregate battle, where community members rallied together, including Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer and her family, to successfully fight off a quarry expansion on Mount Nemo. It is an environmental success in the Greenbelt we don't forget.
Unveiling "La Salle at the Head of the Lake" Historical Plaque, 20 September 1970. Courtesy of Burlington Historical Society.
Secondly, it is city full of history! And that history's highlighted in several of its most prominent places. In 1669, French explorer Rene Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle (aka Robert de La Salle) landed where, appropriately, La Salle Park is now located. In 1784, the British granted a large land tract to Mohawk leader, Captain Joseph Brant, in recognition of his support of the British during the US War of Independence. Brant later sold the lots, marking the beginning of the area that evolved into Burlington. Two structures near the site of Brant's home, the Joseph Brant Museum and the Joseph Brant Hospital, are just two memorials to his name, as well as Brant Street, a main thoroughfare in the city. More of city's history is well documented by its Historical Society.
If you're keen for more history and culture, you'll be astounded at Burlington's offerings when it comes to museums! Burlington boasts several museums showcasing the breadth of its roots. I highly recommend the Spruce Lane Farm House, a living history museum located in Bronte Creek Provincial Park. Every March, the park hosts its annual Maple Syrup Festival, where visitors can join park staff in recreating syrup making from the 1900s and taste a classic syrup taffy.
And not to mention it is a stone's throw from the Niagara Escarpment, home to some of the Greenbelt's most breath-taking views. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely day at any one of Conservation Halton's conservation areas, which offer a wide-range of activities from family fun at Kelso to a plethora of natural sights and hiking at Hilton Falls.
Lastly, I ought to mention some of faces of fame that Burlington has incubated in the past:
- Linwood Barclay – Author and a past humour columnist in the Toronto Star
- Robert Bateman – Canadian naturalist and painter
- Jim Carrey – Actor, comedian, and producer who lived in Burlington for eight years
- Ryan Gosling – Actor, who attended Lester B. Pearson High School.
- The Spoons – 1980s New Wave Band that formed in Burlington in 1979
- Dr. Frank Hayden – Founder of the Special Olympics
- Steve Paikin – TVO host and journalist
Burlington is one great city to visit, and one of the best to live in.
-- Burkhard Mausberg
CEO, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation