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Burlington (Ontario)

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"Burlington Beach at Night" Photo Credit: Will Schwenger
One of the many sights at Royal Botanical Gardens in early August

Burlington is a city in Ontario, Canada. It lies across Burlington Bay from Hamilton and is located a 45-minute drive from Toronto and Niagara. It is listed among the best cities to live in Canada. Nestled on the shore of beautiful Lake Ontario in the shadow of the Niagara Escarpment, Burlington offers everything for that perfect get-away. The beautiful waterfront features dining, water play, skating and model boating. Downtown, next to the lake, are many homes owned by middle to upper-class families, as well as many expensive homes from millionaires living in Burlington. Enjoy unique shopping, exquisite dining, the world-renowned Royal Botanical Gardens, museums, art galleries, golf courses, scenic hiking and biking trails and lively festivals such as Sound of Music and Canada’s Largest Ribfest.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • The Hamilton International Airport [1] is the local airport which is just 30 minutes from Burlington.
  • Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport is conveniently located within a short driving distance from Burlington, around 45 or more minutes.
  • Niagara Falls NY and Buffalo NY International Airports are located about an hour's drive away.

By car[edit]

  • Burlington is easily accessible by highways 403, 407, and QEW.

By train[edit]

  • GO Transit [2] operates regular train service to and from Toronto.

Get around[edit]

The best way to get around Burlington is by car. Arterial roads are spaced about 2 kilometres (1.25 miles) apart, and generally run on a 45 degree angle to the compass points. Main roads running northeast to southwest are (from southernmost to northernmost) Lakeshore Road (former Highway 2), New Street, Plains Road/Fairview Street, the Queen Elizabeth Way/Highway 403 (a controlled-access highway), Upper Middle Road, and Dundas Street (former Highway 5). Main roads running northwest to southeast are (from easternmost to westernmost) Burloak Drive, Appleby Line, Walkers Line, Guelph Line, Brant Street, King Road, and Waterdown Road.

Burlington is a pedestrian- and cycling-friendly city, although, as the city is somewhat sprawling, walking or cycling is sometimes impractical. There are several long-distance walking and cycling trails in Burlington, including the Waterfront Trail, a 23-kilometre-long paved trail that offers beautiful views of Burlington's waterfront. In Burlington, you may ride your bicycle on sidewalks, except in the downtown core. Burlington Transit[4] is the transit authority for the city. Bus service is reasonable for a city of Burlington's size, although not as good as other neighbouring GTA municipalities due to lower population density and higher levels of car ownership. Most buses run on a 30-minute schedule, although some routes run more frequently during rush hour and/or less frequently on weekends or evenings. A variety of discount tickets and passes are available.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Burlington Art Centre [5]
  • Joseph Brant Museum [6]
  • Ireland House [7]
  • Royal Botanical Gardens [8], Canada’s largest botanical garden. It is comprised of several gardens and natural areas, spread out over 900 hectares, accessible by foot, car, and a RBG run shuttle bus.
  • In the winter time during December, you can walk through an extensive Christmas lights display downtown at Spencer Smith Park. Showing the Eiffel Tower and various large displays of lights, this is the time when you can enjoy the beauty of Christmas.
  • On July 1st, you can celebrate Canada Day in Spencer Smith Park and gather with dozens of others to wave the Canadian flag with pride and music.

Parks[edit]

There are 115 parks and 325 ha of parkland within the city. A complete list of parks can be found here

Do[edit][add listing]

A great time to visit Burlington is in the summer, when there are numerous free festivals are held.

  • Discovery Landing [9] is a 14,200 square foot landmark building that faces out to the lake and offers prime storm and weather watching views. Designed by Baird Sampson Nuert it has given residents and visitors a unique place to discover, celebrate, play, and relax by our lake. Discovery Landing is open all day, daily and features The Observatory, Spencer's on the Waterfront, the Bite Café, and an information area to provide information on the park. Discovery Landing overlooks the Rotary Centennial Pond, a 10,000 square-foot year-round water feature. In the spring, summer and fall it is a reflective pool ideal for model sail boating and in winter it will have free ice-skating on an artificial ice surface.
  • Surrounding features include the Joseph Brant Museum, the Ireland House the Burlington Art Centre, and Tourism Burlington.
  • Hike the Bruce Trail, [10]. A portion of the Bruce Trail, the hiking trail that runs along the Niagara Escarpment from Niagara to Tobermory runs through Burlington. The Burlington portion of the trail starts near the intersection of Highway 6 and Mountain Brow Rd., skirts the escarpment before reaching Snake Rd., and then takes a winding path that isn't always easy to follow (if you find yourself in a cemetery near a convent, you've gone the wrong way), but leads to a few beautiful waterfalls just before entering Waterdown. East of Waterdown, the trail then runs through Kerncliff Park, crosses Dundas St., then runs for several miles through rural Burlington before entering Milton.  edit


Festivals[edit]

For a detailed guide check the Burlington Events Calendar.

Presented by the Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore. Come on out to “Canada’s Largest Ribfest” this Labour Day Weekend at the beautiful Spencer Smith Park by the lake in Burlington, Ontario. Enjoy great music, crafts, and most importantly, some of the best rib makers in North America!

Four Fabulous Days of Music! A Free Four Day music extravaganza! The Festival features, on several stages, jazz, folk, rock, pop, country, blues, latin, celtic, and more, a parade, carnival and marketplace, Family Zone and Downtown Streetfest. Father’s Day weekend, Burlington Downtown and Waterfront.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Many stores and malls are located in the city. Of them , Mapleview Centre, at 900 Maple Avenue, has more than 150 shopping. You can also shop at the Burlington Mall , at 777 Guelph Line.
  • If you are interested in small shops, then the downtown core, on Brant Street, is the right place for you. Stores are in an old town setting with many restaurants, cafés, and boutiques nearby.
  • For the Sports enthusiast, Mountian Equipment Co-op is located on Brant Street before Highway 403
  • One of Ontario’s only Ikea’s is located in Burlington on Plains Road.

Eat[edit][add listing]

There are many great dining establishments in Burlington. The restaurants below are just a few of over 200 establishments.

Budget[edit]

  • Easterbrooks, 694 Spring Gardens Rd. (near Royal Botanical Gardens), 905-527-9679. 10 AM–10 PM (Summer), 10 AM–8 PM (winter). Well-known for its footlong hotdogs (note that a "regular" hotdog here is a footlong) its ice cream and milkshakes are also good. The restaurant has been located at this location since 1930 and features a retro atmosphere. A second location is located at; 2422 New Street. 905-632-7490  edit

Mid-range[edit]

  • Kelsey's Restaurant, 777 Guelph Line., (905) 633-9323. Beside the Burlington Mall.
  • East Side Marios, 900 Maple Avenue.,(905) 681-8888, [11], American-Italian food, in the Mapleview Centre.
  • West Plains Bistro, 133 Plains Road, (905) 333 9449. [12]
  • Beaver and Bulldog, 2020 Lakeshore Road.,(289) 337 9119. [13]
  • Le Chinois Chinese Burlington, 1250 Brant Street., (905) 331 0033.
  • Mandarin Chinese Food, 1881 Fairview Street., (905) 632 6000.

Splurge[edit]

  • Earl's Kitchen and Bar, 900 Maple Avenue., (905) 631 1212.
  • Turtle Jack's Muskoka Grill, 900 Maple Avenue (across from Earl's at the Mapleview Mall., (289) 288 0484. Open from 11:00am until 2:00am. There is also an another location at 4155 Fairview Street.
  • 50/50s Restaurant, 1445 Elgin st.,(905) 333-5050. [14]
  • The Carriage House, 2101 Old Lakeshore Road.,(905) 634-7723. [15]
  • Charles Dickens Pub, 423 Elizabeth St.,(905) 333 4991. [16]
  • Honey West, 399 Elizabeth St.,(905) 634 7999. [17]
  • Ivanka’s Downtown Bistro, 441 Elizabeth St., (905) 639 7577. [18]
  • La Costa Nuova, 421 Brant St.,(905) 634 7421. [19]
  • Latitude Restaurant, 390 Brant St., (905) 333 3309. [20]
  • Lezley’s Chaps, 355 Plains Road East, (905) 333 4431. [21]
  • Martini House, 437 Elizabeth Street, (905) 333 9553. [22]
  • Paradiso Restaurant, 2041 Pine Street,(905) 639 1176. [23]
  • Pepperwood Bistro, 1455 Lakeshore Road,(905) 333 6999. [24]
  • Red Canoe Bistro, 398 John St, (905) 637 6137. [25]
  • Rude Native, 370 Brant Street,(905) 632 6687. [26]
  • SB Prime, 380 Brant Street, (905) 634 6275. [27]
  • Siam Dish, 1477 Lakeshore Road, (905) 632 2525. [28]
  • Walker Fish Market, 4045 Harvester Rd, (905) 633 9929. [29]
  • Water St. Cooker, 2084 Old Lakeshore Road, (905) 634 2084. [30]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Please note that not all hotels are listed.


  • Stinson Bar & Lounge, 416 Elizabeth street, 905-333-8388. Patio/Restaurant/Lounge with Bottle Service  edit

Budget[edit]

  • Comfort Inn, 3290 South Service Rd, (905) 639-1700, [31]
  • Best Western, 2412 Queensway Drive., (905) 639-2700, [32], convenient location, right beside Hamilton, Niagara, and Toronto highways.

Mid-Range[edit]

  • Hilton Garden Inn, 985 Syscon Road East., (905) 631-7000, [33].
  • Homewood Suites, 975 Syscon Road, (905) 631-8300, [34]
  • Quality Hotel, 950 Walkers Line, (905) 639-9290, [35]
  • Holiday Inn, 3063 South Service Road., (905) 639-4443, [36].
  • Creekside Bed and Breakfast, 3158 Pinemeadow Drive, (Guelph Line near Upper Middle)(905) 336-5382

Splurge[edit]

  • Travelodge, Burlington on the Lake, 2020 Lakeshore Road., (905) 681-0762, [37], right beside the beautiful waterfront.
  • The Waterfront Hotel Downtown, Formerly Travelodge, 2020 Lakeshore Road., (905) 681 5410

Get out[edit]

Being located in the Greater Toronto Area, Burlington is near several cities, including Toronto (approximately 50 kilometres to the east) and Hamilton. Check out Tourism Burlington for more details.


Routes through Burlington
Niagara FallsHamilton  W noframe E  OakvilleToronto




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