Discover Burlington Ontario

What’s Inside? Doors Open Burlington

by Guest Writer

On Saturday, September 29, 2018, 12 sites across Burlington will open their doors and give you a ‘behind-the-scenes’ peek at what they do, free of charge. Curious about which sites are participating? Read on!

field archaelogy

  1. Archaeological Services Inc. (ASI) – 2321 Fairview Street, Unit 200, Burlington, Ontario, L7R 2E3

I’ll be honest; my understanding of what an archaeologist did came from watching “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I thought it was all about fedora hats and snakes. By working with ASI, I have learned what actual archaeologists do; and it’s more fascinating than I could have imagined.  ASI is the largest archaeological and heritage consultancy in Canada, with over 35 years experience in the business. Stop by the expanded Burlington office to meet the team of archaeologists and heritage specialists, see some artifacts and learn about local heritage! Their archaeology lab will be active and there will be activities for children.

Go here if: you know the theme song to “Indiana Jones” by heart

Art Gallery of Burlington

  1. Art Gallery of Burlington (AGB) – 1333 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario, L7S 1A9

Art; it has the power to affect our emotions in a way few other things can. Some of my favourite memories are from visiting an art gallery – nothing compares to being able to share the same space with a piece of art.  The Art Gallery of Burlington is home to the WORLD’S largest collection of Canadian contemporary ceramics and seven art and fine craft guilds. You can try creative art activities and watch some art and craft demonstrations. Did I mention AGB stages 20 region, national and international exhibitions a year?

Go here if: you like being creative with creative people

Burlington public library central branch

  1. Burlington Public Library – Central Branch – 2331 New St, Burlington, Ontario, L7R 1J4

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I have more books than I should. I’ve gone to the library many times, but I’ve never been able to see the book circulation area. How do books get sorted? How do they get shelved? What exactly is the Dewey Decimal system? Now is my chance (and yours!) to find out!  Library services first started in Burlington in January 1872. The Central Branch was designed by Brook-Carruthers-Grierson-Shaw architects in 1970. One year later, they won a National Design Council Award of Excellence for its innovative use of concrete. Join the library on Doors Open to take a tour of the library, including their public makerspace and – you guessed it – the book circulation area. Tour times are at 11:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Fun Culture Days activities will also be taking place.

Go here if: you got the “Pride and Prejudice” reference in my first sentence

East Plains United Church

  1. East Plains United Church – 375 Plains Road East, Burlington, Ontario, L7T 2C7

I have always appreciated the architecture of churches. Their simple, yet elegant, designs are eye-catching, striking and beautiful. East Plains United Church is no exception.  Built in 1843, the East Plains United Church started as a simple frame building where citizens would gather for meetings. Over 175 years, the Church added a brick façade and cornerstones, survived a fire, merged with the United Church and installed a historic plaque commemorating the Indigenous farm workers of Aldershot. Discover the Church’s fascinating history, the story of the Indigenous farm workers of Aldershot and the 130-year-old cemetery. Finish your visit by speaking with the Métis Women’s Circle about their work and dedication to Métis culture.

Go here if: you are a life-long learner

Freeman Station

  1. Freeman Station – 1285 Fairview Street Burlington, Ontario, L7S 1Y3

There’s something about train stations which capture the imagination. For me, it’s thinking about the people who have used them in the past. Where were they going? Why? Freeman Station has gone by other names; the Burlington West Station and Burlington Junction. Built in 1906 for the Grand Trunk Railway as a combination passenger and baggage depot, Freeman Station exhibits many stylistic features and characteristic of stations constructed in that decade. Entirely managed by volunteers, Freeman Station is a must-see on your Doors Open excursion – especially because of their working model railway system!

Go here if: you’ve always wanted to know more about this fascinating form of transportation

Halton mosque

  1. Halton Mosque – 4310 Fairview Street, Burlington, Ontario, L7L 4Y8

I received the warmest welcome from Halton Mosque congregants. The interior of the building exudes a sense of peacefulness, which I greatly appreciated. Not being Muslim myself, I learned a lot about the Islamic faith, including the Five Pillars of Islam: Faith, Prayer, Charity, Fasting and Pilgrimage to Mecca.  Built in the early 1990s, Halton Mosque is the only masjid (Muslim place of worship) in the City of Burlington. It is the primary centre for Prayer, Learning and Recreation for the Burlington Muslim Community. Take this opportunity to explore a place of worship!

Go here if: you want to connect with a community 

Holy Cross stain glass

  1. Holy Cross Lutheran Church – 3455 Lakeshore Rd, Burlington, Ontario, L7N 1B5

As an art form, I am partial to stained glass. There’s nothing like seeing the sun shine in through a stained glass window; stunning! Holy Cross Lutheran Church celebrated their Jubilee on Sunday, June 6, 2010. They are a community of people from diverse backgrounds with a rich assortment of skills and talents, who worship and work together. Their stain glass panels were designed by Russell C. Goodman, whose art can be found in many churches across Canada and in the House of Commons. Their stain glass is comprised of fifteen separate panels, each symbolizing different themes.

Go here if: you want to explore a beautiful indoor space

Holy sepulchre

  1. Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery – 600 Spring Gardens Road, Burlington, Ontario, L7T 1J1

‘Sepulchre’ was not a word I was familiar with, before I’d heard about Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery. Now, I know it means “a place of burial” or “a receptacle for religious relics.”  Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery is the Diocese of Hamilton’s best-known cemetery. Opened in 1875, it is the resting place of many of the Diocese’s bishops, priests and religious sisters. In 1889, the beautiful Holy Sepulchre Chapel was consecrated by Bishop Dowling. The Chapel is situated in one of the most historical areas of the cemetery, overlooking the shores of Lake Ontario.

Go here if: you want to explore the outdoors in a historic area

Ireland House Museum

  1. Ireland House Museum – 2168 Guelph Line Burlington, Ontario, L7P 5A8

When I first saw the inside of Ireland House, my jaw honestly dropped. As soon as I was greeted by beautiful replica wallpaper, intricately woven floor coverings and artifacts which actually belonged to the Ireland family, I was hooked. For Doors Open, you can visit this beautiful home, free of charge! Built in 1837, Ireland House was the home of Joseph Ireland, one of Burlington’s earliest settlers. Joseph and his descendants occupied Ireland House until 1985. The museum is a local treasure that consists of 4 acres of woodland, the original family home and picnic areas. Drop-in guided tours are available from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Come and see some of the historical demonstrations too, including baking on an 1830s Rumford hearth!

Go here if: you want to know if the Irelands were from Ireland

Nickel Brook Beer

  1. Nickel Brook Brewing Co. – 864 Drury Lane, Burlington, Ontario, L7R 2Y4

Do you like craft beer? Have you visited Burlington’s only craft brewery? Doors Open is your chance to get up close and personal with Nickel Brook Brewing Company!  Founded in 2005, Nickel Brook has grown to be one of the leading players in the Ontario craft beer industry. With a huge range of flavours, from hoppy IPAs to fruity sours to rich stouts, Nickel Brook has something for everyone! Offering guided tours, their brewery will be fully open to the public, allowing visitors to learn all aspects of beer making in their own neighbourhood. They will also have samples available for guests to try, and a Beer 101 class. What are you waiting for? ‘Hop’ to it!

Go here if: your favourite part of grocery shopping is the free samples

Iron Duke


  1. Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Iron Duke – 451 Elizabeth Street, Burlington, Ontario, L7R 2L8

I’m all tied up in knots over this next Doors Open site! I had no idea such an interesting building was located in the heart of downtown Burlington!  Originally built in 1858 as a Methodist Church, this structure became the home of the R.C.S.C.C. Iron Duke in 1949. The Sea Cadets is a free program which teaches leadership and seamanship skills to youth. See the Gothic Revival architecture and hear about the fire of 1980! Try your hand at heaving line toss and take a knot tying lesson!

Go here if: you’ve ever wondered what a Sea Cadet does

Wastewater treatment plant

  1. Skyway Wastewater Treatment Plant – 1135 Lakeshore Road, Burlington ON L7S 1A8

Where does our wastewater go, and what happens when it gets there? Lucky for us, you can learn all about the cleaning process by taking a tour of the Skyway Wastewater Treatment Plant! I took a tour and was absolutely astonished by the amount of work the folks at Skyway do for Burlington, Ontario and Canada.   The Plant provides the final cleaning process/treatment of wastewater for the City of Burlington. Through a series of filtration processes, the facility has the capacity to treat and discharge the equivalent of over 56 Olympic pools of clean water into Hamilton Harbour, Lake Ontario every day.  Pre-registration is required for this Doors Open site. Book a tour time by clicking above. Recommended for ages 12+. Casual clothes and comfortable shoes/boots are also recommended for tour participants.

Go here if: you’ve ever flushed a toilet

By Guest Writer – Megan Crawford

Megan Crawford is the Manager of Community and School Programming with the Museums of Burlington. She oversees the public programs and special events run by Ireland House Museum and Joseph Brant Museum, reopening July 2019. Doors Open Burlington is one of the exciting events Megan helps to coordinate. She is passionate about museums, Canadian history, experiential education and, as you might have guessed, bad puns.

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