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Mayor’s Monday Mailbag – March 13, 2023 – It’s Burlington 150+: What is the Meaning Behind our City Crest?

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward Mailbag

Welcome to the Mayor’s Monday Mailbag, an initiative Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and the Mayor’s Office launched to share weekly answers to questions from the public we’ve received through our main email inbox at or the Mayor’s social media platforms.

At the end of the month, we publish a roundup of those most pressing questions we’ve received in the weeks prior.

Mayor’s Monday Mailbag – March 13, 2023


“What is the meaning behind the City of Burlington Crest?”


It is important when we talk about Burlington’s 150th anniversary this year that we recognize the land now known as the City of Burlington has an Indigenous history that goes beyond 150 years. We honour and recognize the diverse Indigenous Peoples that have lived in this area and we acknowledge that Burlington is on Treaty Lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Burlington was first incorporated as a village in 1873, as a town in 1915 and then a city in 1974.

In 1873, the villages of Wellington Square and Port Nelson merged to become the Village of Burlington. In 2023, 150 years later, the City of Burlington is 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.

Each piece of our City Crest has a specific meaning and represents different symbols reflective of certain pieces of Burlington’s history.

The peaks of the dividing line in the middle of the crest represent the major local headlands of the area that include Rattlesnake Point, Mount Nemo and Flamborough Head.

The lighthouse at the top and the ship in the top right corner of the crest are representative of Burlington’s early years serving as a lakeport.

The heifer (cow) and the apple, in the top left and lower right sections, respectively, represent the farming industry of the municipality and the importance of agricultural growth — something that we take great pride in protecting to this day.

There are some who believe the heifer 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 or 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 beehive in the lower left of the crest symbolizes the role industry has played and continues to play in our city’s development.

Finally, the motto “Stand By” at the bottom of the crest is an old nautical term meaning to be ready for everything and ready for service, as we have learned from our local veterans.

Today, these words are just as important and also reflect our community’s commitment to stand by one another, working together in collaboration to ensure every single Burlington resident feels respected, represented, safe and supported — not just now, but future generations as well.

•                    •                    •


This year marks Burlington’s 150th anniversary. The journey to Burlington’s sesquicentennial anniversary began in 1873 when the villages of Wellington Square and Port Nelson merged to become the Village of Burlington. The Village of Burlington became the Town of Burlington in 1914 and the City of Burlington in 1974.

Burlington 150 Identifier

To help mark the occasion, a graphic identifier has been designed to highlight events and opportunities for residents to celebrate Burlington’s anniversary. The identifier was designed to capture the complexity and beauty of the land and the people.

  • The plus symbol is in recognition of the Indigenous history of the land that goes beyond 150 years. We honour the diverse Indigenous peoples that have lived in this area and we acknowledge that Burlington is on Treaty Lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
  • The identifier uses four shapes and colours to represent Burlington:
    • Green represents nature and the land;
    • Yellow symbolizes unity and our multi-cultural community;
    • Light blue symbolizes freedom as we continue to live in peace and harmony; and
    • Orange represents commitment to Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation.

•                    •                    •


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A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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