What better way to write about Burlington than to write about its historical society. The group has been active since it restarted in 1960 and is an affiliation of the Ontario Historical Society. The Society founded with 5 objectives; hold a monthly meeting; to compile, and keep historical archives; share and work with group interested in historical values and lastly, create awareness, outreach opportunity and public interest in the local history.
I am new to the historical society. As a matter of fact, I just signed up as a member last Monday. You may ask why would I be interested in Burlington’s history? Well, the answer is very simple. I think Burlington has a lot of historical value being one of the site by the lake that provided a landscape in Burlington’s first and distinguished settler, Mohawk descent Joseph Brant. He received a grant of over 3, 400 acres of land on the Burlington Bay in 1798.
Listen to the opening speech by Dr. David Galbraith, speaking about the formation of Royal Botanical Gardens.
The meeting that I attended invited a guest speaker, Dr. David A. Galbraith, Head of Science from Royal Botanical Gardens. He joked about not having a background in history or horticultural but despite that, he gave an astounding historical account of the formation of Royal Botanical Gardens. Dr. Galbraith spoke about Cootes Paradise, Captain Thomas Coote, the Desjardin Canal sitting in the sediments of Cootes Paradise, the Rock Garden, the design competition to re-design the Rock garden, Thomas McQueesten, an advocate of the parks in early Hamilton, the lost landscape of the sunken garden and Matt Broman, the architect who played a major influence in the creation of Royal Botanical Garden.
As I am sitting in a room full of Boomers generation, I feel out of place. There are a few younger people I convinced myself. But the biggest question, I asked myself was, can you believe that Royal Botanical Garden was once part of a canal?
One of the goals of the society is that it houses a large collection of family photographs and albums from Burlington families. Over 4,000 historical images and records are preserved in the History Room at Burlington Central Library. They are always on the lookout to preserve more so if you have old photographs, documents, the society is more than happy to archive them. You can access the images at http://images.burlington.halinet.on.ca/search.
The society also invites you to be part of Canada 150 project to be launched in time for the Canada Day 150 years celebration in July 2017. The society is also planning a book about Burlington Waterfront, stretching from the Pig and Whistle to the Beach Strip. The book will highlight the places and happenings of the past along the shoreline. If you can lend a hand at content writing or editing, archives, and planning events, grant writing and fundraising, email firstname.lastname@example.org. I know I am excited about this project!
If you are interested in becoming a member, join us.
PO Box 93164
1450 Headon Rd
Burlington, ON L7M 4A3
The next meeting is on Monday, April 11, 2016, 7:00 p.m. at the Centennial Room at Burlington Central Library on New Street and the meetings are held every second Mondays of the month January to May and September through to November.
So, why am I interested in Burlington Historical Society? To quote Dr. David Galbraith, “…we see this as a cultural landscape, a place where people are intrinsically part and not just of moving around the surface but actually reshaping the landscape ourselves.”
And that is the main reason I decided to join the Burlington Historical Society. The historical account of our past gives us a holistic view of what it was back then. We should learn from the past and with this knowledge, influence the direction of our future for the better, for our sake and the generation to come.