History & Museums

Close up of heritage homes on Nelson St. with gingerbread fretwork on front porches

The Burlington area is rich in history and activities that celebrate our past. The many natural advantages of this area attracted Indigenous peoples long before the arrival of the first settlers along the lakefront in the late 1700s.  In 1669, famous French explorer Rene Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle landed at the site where La Salle Park is currently located. Learn about Burlington’s history with our historical sites and museums.

Close up of heritage homes on Nelson St. with gingerbread fretwork on front porches

Historical Sites in Burlington

Several Museums and historic sites showcase local heritage including:

  • Joseph Brant Museum which has recently undergone a transformation and hosts travelling exhibits
  • Ireland House at Oakridge Farm paints a picture of farm life through 3 periods of history
  • Spruce Lane Farm located within Bronte Creek Provincial Park showcases the Victorian era
  • Freeman Station, a lovingly restored train station originally built in the early 1900s

You can also enjoy self-directed walking tours of the historic downtown and participate in several festivals which celebrate our past!

Ireland House at Oakridge Farm

Ireland House at Oakridge Farm located on Guelph Line was built by Joseph and Ruth Ireland between 1835-37 and was passed down through four generations of the Ireland family. Visitors to Ireland House enjoy tours of the house, exhibits, demonstrations, special events, and participatory activities in keeping with the character and history of the House.

Freeman Station

The Freeman Station is the only building in the city whose historical and architectural significance has been recognized not only locally, but also provincially by the Ontario Ministry of Culture, and nationally by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.  This is Burlington’s only surviving Grand Trunk Railway station built in 1906. Now familiarly called “the Freeman Station” after the hamlet in which it was built, it was formerly signed the “Burlington Junction” or “Burlington West” Station.  After moving the station to 1285 Fairview St. (next to the Central Fire Station) in 2013 the building is officially open.  Recently a mural depicting the station in years gone by was unveiled.  This mural adorns the exterior of the historic station and was created by local artist Claire Hall.

Freeman Station during Canada Day festivities

Researching Family Roots & Genealogy

Many visitors come to Burlington not just to see the sites but to learn more about their family ancestry and genealogy. A good first step is to research the local and provincial information available so you can plan your trip. Check these websites and enjoy your step back in time.

Family taking pics with art sculptures at RBG

Historic Tours and Resources

Stroll the historical streets of the downtown area to discover some of the first homes built in Burlington, dating back to the late 1800s. Find out more about the History of Burlington.  Check out the google map of Burlington Ontario historic plaques.

We have several books on the history of the Burlington area and historic postcards available at the Visitor Information Centre for history buffs.

History & Museums Partners

History & Museums Partners

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