This year marks Burlington’s 150+ anniversary and while we’ve been celebrating our growth into a city over the past 150 years, we also recognize the land we now know as Burlington has an Indigenous history that goes beyond those 150 years. We honour and recognize the diverse Indigenous Peoples who have lived in this area and acknowledge Burlington is on Treaty Lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
To help acknowledge this, you may have seen a special “Burlington 150+” identifier around the city to help symbolize the history of Burlington and what’s important to us. The identifier uses four shapes and colours with:
- green representing nature and the land;
- yellow symbolizing unity and our multi-cultural community;
- light blue symbolizing freedom while living in peace and harmony; and
- orange representing our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.
Burlington’s journey to becoming a municipality started on Sept. 9, 1873 when the villages of Wellington Square and Port Nelson merged to become the Village of Burlington.
That’s why we’re inviting the public to attend a small celebration on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023 from 10-11 a.m. at Burlington City Hall and Civic Square.
Join us for a flag-raising of special Burlington 150+ and Burlington Coat of Arms flags, as well as a special proclamation to be read by Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. There will also be an opportunity to see the recent renovations to the first floor at Burlington City Hall.
Learn more about Burlington’s history in becoming the city we now know today, below.
BURLINGTON’S JOURNEY TO A MUNICIPALITY
The British purchased the land that we now know as Burlington from the original stewards of the land, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation through several treaties starting in 1792. Treaty 8 included the purchase of the Brant Tract — 14 square kilometres on Burlington Bay that the British granted to Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant Thayendanegea for his service in the American Revolutionary War.
Burlington’s journey to becoming a municipality started in 1873 when the villages of Wellington Square and Port Nelson merged to become the Village of Burlington – with a population of little more than 750 people.
In 1914, with its newly-elected first mayor Maxwell Charles Smith, the village grew to 2,100 people. Today, it’s estimated more than 198,000 people now live in Burlington — a diverse and inclusive community that celebrates its history while embracing its present as a multicultural, metropolitan gem where people, nature, and businesses thrive. We’re also a community that takes pride in protecting our beautiful natural environments, wide-ranging leisure, arts and cultural opportunities, and enhancing our economic sustainability.
Our City Crest also carries a lot of our municipality’s story with the symbols included in it:
- The peaks of the dividing line represent our major headlands: Rattlesnake Point, Mount Nemo and Flamborough Head;
- The lighthouse and ship are representative of Burlington’s years serving as a lakeport;
- The cow and apple represent our local farming industry and the importance of agricultural growth — something we continue to take great pride in protecting today; and
- The beehive symbolizes the role industry has played and continues to play in our city’s development.
There are some who believe the heifer (cow) may be the origins of Burlington’s name — in the Lincolnshire dialect of Old English, the word “burl” was a term used for a heifer/cow. Others also believe the collar on the cow resembles a bridle, leaning to Burlington being derived from Bridlington, a town in Yorkshire, England.
The motto ‘Stand By’ on our crest is also significant — I’ve learned from our local veterans that it’s an old nautical term that means stand with and together to help one another, and to also stand ready for action.
Our city and our residents have demonstrated all these aspects of our City Crest all these past decades and continue to do so today — being committed to serving each other and our community.
The City of Burlington has been built by generations.
- Burlington marks 150+ Anniversary in a special way at Canada Day Celebrations
- Mayor’s Monday Mailbag – March 13, 2023 – It’s Burlington 150+: What is the Meaning Behind our City Crest?
- Branded Caps, T-Shirts & Pins with Burlington 150+ Identifier Now Available Through Tourism Burlington
- Mayor’s Office Launches Burlington 150+ Time Capsule Project
- Burlington Celebrating 150+ Anniversary in 2023