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Burlington, Ontario: A Treasure Trove of Activities, Things to Do and See

Burlington, Ontario, is a picturesque city nestled between the Niagara Escarpment and the shores of Lake Ontario. Known for its stunning landscapes, vibrant community, and a wide range of recreational activities, Burlington is a place where adventure and relaxation go hand in hand.


Let's dive into the activities and things to do in this charming city.


1. Embrace Nature at the Royal Botanical Gardens


Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, Ontario
Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, Ontario

The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is a must-see attraction in Burlington. As the largest botanical garden in Canada, it offers a mesmerizing blend of cultivated gardens and natural spaces.



What to Expect:


  • Laking Garden: Admire the beauty of the iris and peony collections and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the reflective pools.

  • Rock Garden: A recently renovated space that epitomizes contemporary garden design, incorporating water features, and sustainable practices.

  • Hendrie Park: Home to a diverse range of plants, this park transforms throughout the seasons, offering a new experience each time you visit.

  • Nature Trails: Over 27 km of nature trails weave through the RBG's 1,100 hectares of nature sanctuaries, featuring wetlands, fields, and forests.


Planning Your Visit:


The RBG hosts various events throughout the year, including educational programs, plant sales, and art exhibitions. Check the RBG website for the latest events and bloom times to plan your visit accordingly.



2. Discover Art and Culture at the Art Gallery of Burlington


The Art Gallery of Burlington (AGB) is the seventh-largest public gallery in Ontario and is renowned for its collection of Canadian contemporary ceramics.



What to Expect:


  • Exhibitions: The AGB showcases a variety of exhibitions ranging from traditional to cutting-edge contemporary art.

  • Permanent Collection: Explore the impressive collection of contemporary Canadian ceramics, which is one of the largest in the world.

  • Community Events: The gallery also hosts a variety of community events, classes, and workshops for all ages.


Planning Your Visit:


Admission to the AGB is typically free, making it an accessible cultural hub for visitors. Check their website for current exhibitions and events during your visit.


3. Stroll Along the Burlington Waterfront


Brant Street Pier, Burlington, Ontario
Brant Street Pier, Burlington, Ontario

The Waterfront at Downtown Burlington is a focal point of the city, offering breathtaking views and a variety of recreational activities.


What to Expect:


  • Spencer Smith Park: This expansive park features a large promenade, perfect for walking, cycling, or rollerblading while enjoying the view of Lake Ontario.

  • Brant Street Pier: Extend your walk to the Brant Street Pier to catch a panoramic view of the lake and the Burlington skyline.

  • Beachway Park: For those who enjoy the sand between their toes, Beachway Park provides a sandy beach and a pavilion with facilities.


Planning Your Visit:


The waterfront area is home to several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Burlington Sound of Music Festival and Canada Day celebrations. It's a good idea to check the city's event calendar when planning your trip.


4. Experience the Thrill at Conservation Halton Parks


Kelso, Burlington, Ontario
Kelso, Burlington, Ontario

For the outdoor enthusiasts, Conservation Halton Parks offer a wealth of activities set within natural landscapes that will excite anyone looking to connect with nature.



What to Expect:


  • Hiking and Biking Trails: With extensive trails of varying difficulties, visitors can hike or bike while enjoying the scenery of the Escarpment.

  • Crawford Lake: Step back in time at the reconstructed Iroquoian village and learn about the local Indigenous history.

  • Rattlesnake Point: Offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Escarpment, especially during sunset.


Planning Your Visit:


Conservation Halton Parks are open year-round, but certain activities may be seasonal. Check the parks' websites for trail conditions, guided tours, and other seasonal activities before your visit.


 

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5. Step Back in Time at the Museums of Burlington


Burlington's rich history is preserved and presented in its fascinating museums, where visitors can learn about the local heritage and how it shaped the city.



What to Expect:


  • Ireland House at Oakridge Farm: Experience life in the 19th century by exploring the historic Ireland family home, restored to reflect life from the 1830s to the 1920s.

  • Joseph Brant Museum: Named after the renowned Mohawk leader, this museum offers exhibits on the history of Burlington, the Eileen Collard Costume Collection, and various traveling exhibitions.


Planning Your Visit:


Check the Museums of Burlington website for current exhibits, special events, and educational programs. They often host family-friendly activities that allow for a hands-on approach to history.


6. Indulge in Burlington's Culinary Scene


Outdoor Eating, Burlington, Ontario
Outdoor Eating, Burlington, Ontario

Burlington's dining scene serves up a diverse palette of flavors, from cozy cafes to upscale restaurants. The city takes pride in its farm-to-table offerings and local specialties.


What to Expect:


  • Local Eateries: Discover the flavors of Burlington at eateries that highlight locally-sourced ingredients and offer a true taste of the region.

  • Waterfront Dining: For a meal with a view, the waterfront district has several restaurants where you can dine al fresco with the picturesque backdrop of Lake Ontario.

  • Food Festivals: Burlington hosts culinary events such as the Taste of Burlington, which showcases the best of the city's cuisine with prix fixe dining options.


Planning Your Visit:


Explore online reviews and local food blogs to find the latest culinary hotspots, and make reservations in advance, especially if you plan to visit during a food festival or event.


 

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7. Shop 'Til You Drop


Burlington combines big-city shopping conveniences with small-town boutique charm, offering a diverse shopping experience for every kind of shopper.


What to Expect:


  • Mapleview Shopping Centre: Home to over 150 premium brands, this mall is perfect for those looking for a one-stop-shop for fashion, electronics, and more.

  • Burlington Mall: Another shopping hub with a variety of stores, plus a farmers' market that runs from May to October, offering fresh local produce.

  • Village Square: A quaint, historic area where you can browse unique boutiques and artisan shops in a beautiful setting reminiscent of Old Europe.


Planning Your Visit:


If you're looking for local events like sidewalk sales or seasonal markets, check the Burlington Downtown and Tourism Burlington websites for the latest information.


8. Celebrate with Burlington's Festivals and Events


Festivals in Burlington, Ontario
Festivals in Burlington, Ontario

Burlington is a city that loves to celebrate. Throughout the year, numerous festivals and events reflect the city's vibrant community spirit and cultural diversity.


What to Expect:


  • Canada Day Celebrations: Burlington hosts one of the largest Canada Day events in the region, complete with fireworks, live music, and family-friendly activities.

  • Burlington Performing Arts Centre: Check the schedule to catch a live performance ranging from music and dance to comedy and theatre.

  • Seasonal Festivals: Enjoy events like the Burlington Winter Beer Festival in January or the Appleby Line Street Festival in September, celebrating the local community and the changing seasons.


Planning Your Visit:


For the latest information on festivals and events during your visit, the Tourism Burlington website is an excellent resource.


Burlington, Ontario, seamlessly blends history, culture, and modern amenities, offering an array of experiences that can satisfy any traveler's wishlist. From its thought-provoking museums and rich culinary landscape to its diverse shopping districts and lively festivals, Burlington is a city that invites exploration and creates lasting memories. Whether you're a culture seeker, a foodie, or a shopaholic, you'll find your niche in this dynamic city. Come and discover all that Burlington has to offer!


 

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