Burford, Ontario

Burford is a rural community and is part of the County of Brant, in central southwestern Ontario. It has 1,615 residents (2016 Census). It is located eight kilometers west of the City of Brantford along Highway 53, and seventy kilometres east of London, Ontario. It is approximately 100 km southwest of Toronto.

Administrative offices for the County of Brant are located in Burford, making it one of three service hubs for the county (the others being Paris and St. George). Amongst designated heritage properties in the area is the former Burford Armoury, built in 1906, which was important for military training in earlier days when Canada had an active militia force in each county (the role now served by the Canadian Forces Reserves).

Burford is home to the Burford Bulldogs, a junior hockey team that plays in the Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Burford has a local golf course, Burford Golf Links, which was founded in 1980. It has gone through a number of different owners and is now part of the GolfNorth group of golf courses.

Burford also hosts the Burford Fall Fair every year. The fair was established in 1858 and after being hosted in Harley as the World's Fair, was relocated to Burford, when the Burford fair grounds were purchased in 1893. Over the years the Burford fair has grown from a one-day fair in 1893 to its current three days, hosted every Thanksgiving weekend. The fair attracts tourists and visitors from the surrounding towns as well as larger county of Brant and beyond.

Canada Post Office in Burford's downtown
Canada Post Office in Burford's downtown
Burford is located in Ontario
Location of Burford
Coordinates: 43°6′7.92″N 80°25′44.4″W / 43.1022000°N 80.429000°W
 • Total7.76 km2 (3.00 sq mi)
Elevation251 m (823 ft)
 • Total1,615
 • Density208.2/km2 (539/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
Postal code
N0E 1A0
Area code(s)519 and 226


Burford, at one time known as Claremont[3], was the largest community in the former Burford Township (land area 71,122 acres (287.82 km2), population (1996) 5858), which included Cathcart, Harley, Princeton and other smaller communities. Burford Township was part of the County of Oxford before the formation of Brant County in 1851, and due to its location on the primary roadway leading into Oxford, built upon the ancient footpath leading from Burlington Bay through Brant's Ford to the Thames River known as the Detroit Trail, Burford was Oxford's gateway community. In the days before automobiles it served a great many travellers, but now is hardly noticed by motorists with distant destinations. Burford's 'downtown', the intersection of Maple Avenue and King Street (Highway 53), now includes only a stop light, several small businesses and a post office.

Upper Canada 1800
circa 1800 map of townships following creation of Oxford County
Claremont 1857
1858 map showing Claremont (Burford) landholders

The community was founded by the family of Abraham Dayton, who was granted authority in 1793 to settle Burford Township with a religious congregation led by Jemima Wilkinson, which Governor Simcoe believed to be Quakers. According to Burford historian Robert Muir, "Wilkinson had drawn together a considerable body of free thinkers, undecided characters, and disgruntled members of other Christian bodies. These followers... were looked upon by the inhabitants who surrounded them, as a set of religious fanatics" who "decided at last, like the followers of Joseph Smith at a later date, to seek out a "New Canaan"" and appointed Dayton as their emissary to seek land in Upper Canada. "Abraham Dayton was an intelligent and estimable citizen, and his connection with the peculiar religious society, the infliction of whose presence Burford narrowly escaped, which first brought him to Burford, was doubtless brought about by force of circumstances and the nature of his local surroundings."[4]

Dayton fell ill and became bedridden shortly after moving his family into Burford, so continuation of work to bring settlers into the township fell to his son-in-law, Benajah Mallory. Dayton died in 1797 and his family's control of the township was rescinded by the government the same year. Benajah Mallory inherited the land which had been claimed by Dayton (including 600 acres at the western end of what became Burford Village) and he remained the flamboyant, but disgruntled leader of the settlement, and was elected as the member in the provincial assembly in 1804 and again in 1808 for Oxford, Norfolk and Middlesex. As a politician he was aligned with opposition members led by Joseph Willcocks, and with Willcocks turned traitor half way through the War of 1812.[5]

Charles Duncombe
Dr. Charles Duncombe (1792-1867)
1837 Reward Poster
Reward for Duncombe

Shortly after the outbreak of the Rebellion of 1837 in Toronto, Burford Township was the centre of an abortive rebellion in the London District of Upper Canada led by Dr. Charles Duncombe. An American by birth, Duncombe made his home east of Burford Village in 1828 and by popular demand entered politics, being elected to the legislative assembly as member for Oxford County in 1830 and again in 1834. He was increasingly drawn to a leadership role for the Reform cause and by 1837 was as well known in the province as William Lyon Mackenzie. Duncombe was at his home in Burford when rumour arrived that Mackenzie had launched his Rebellion and his supporters had taken control of Toronto. "Carried away with the excitement of Mackenzie s reputed success, the people of South Dumfries, Oxford, Burford and Oakland urged Dr. Duncombe to lead a movement in support of the advance on the capital. Reluctantly, but willing to stake everything on the result of a strike for freedom, he consented, and appointed a rendezvous at the Village of Scotland"[6] with the intention of marching through Oakland township, Brantford and Hamilton to support Mackenzie. Over 300 men had gathered in Oakland before the news arrived that Mackenzie had been defeated, and on learning this, Duncombe ordered those in Oakland to disband.

Perley residence - Burford 1858
1858 view of Col. Perley's residence
Col. Perley
Col. Charles S. Perley (1797-1879)

The antithesis of Duncombe and Mallory, Charles Strange Perley[7] then came to the fore, as described in Beer & Company's History of the County of Brant (1883): "In this township, where fifty years ago political passions were so heated, it is pleasant to look back on the honourable career of some of the leading men who, though keen partisans, have closed their course amid the applause of both sides in the political arena. Such a man, on the Loyalist side, was Charles S. Perley, the well-known Colonel Perley of the last forty years of Burford's history. His burly figure, genial face, and brusque manner, the boisterous frankness of Squire Western masking the kindly nature of an Allworlhy, will long be remembered by the people of Bishopsgate and Burford Villages, among whom his life was spent... In 1837 Mr. Perley took an active part in raising a company, which he commanded with the rank of Captain, confirmed to him in 1838. He received and most hospitably entertained Colonel MacNab and those "Men of Gore," the Wentworth Militia, in their march against Duncombe's force at Scotland. Captain Perley accompanied the Loyalists when they occupied Scotland, where Duncombe's force being disbanded, they found no enemy on whom to exercise their valour. Then followed the "Tory Terror," which lasted till peremptory orders from England and the recall in disgrace of Sir Francis Bond Head gave it a sudden check. But in those days Captain Perley was quite ready and willing to hang a good many of those neighbours to whom for many years of his after life he showed such unfailing kindness... For his many services he was soon promoted to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel. But his life was thenceforward to be that of a man of peace, erecting mills clearing farms, introducing new agricultural improvements, and by action and counsel aiding in the development of the township in which he lived."[8]

Burford station 1905
train pulling into Burford station

The railway era dawned in the area in 1853 with the opening of a line from Hamilton to Detroit, but it passed north of Burford, leaving the community languishing as horse-drawn traffic dwindled along its main roadway. A new boost of prosperity came when a rail line was opened from Brantford to Norwich and Tillsonburg in Oxford County in 1878, passing through Burford south of the fairgrounds. Initially the advantage was easier access to and from Brantford and Tillsonburg by rail for passengers, and Burford remained a quiet village, described in 1883 as "built up to a great degree by farmers who have realized enough to retire from business and take up their abode there. In summer time Burford Village is as pleasant a holiday resort as can be found in the Province, and the hotel provides most comfortable accommodation. There are no saloons or liquor stores; the village enjoys an Arcadian freedom from drunkenness and other offences against law and order."[9] It was probably this which convinced British artist Robert Whale to make Burford his home when he brought his family to Canada. Eventually a milk processing factory and a canning factory located on the rail line at Burford, and freight traffic kept the line in operation for a century, but it was abandoned between Burford and Tillsonburg in 1987, and between Brantford and Burford in 2001.[10] The tracks have since then been removed along the line, but the path of the railway right-of-way is still visible using Google Maps satellite view.

Burford is now populated by Canadians of German, Dutch and British backgrounds. In 1999, Burford became part of the County of Brant, an amalgamation of several local municipalities including Brantford Township, the town of Paris, Oakland Township, Onondaga Township and South Dumfries Township. The current mayor of the County of Brant is Ron Eddy.

Historically, when tobacco was lucrative, the farms and families surrounding Burford were relatively prosperous. However, when smoking habits began to change in the 1980s, the economy slipped into decline. Currently, farmers are more likely to be growing ginseng for oriental markets than tobacco. Dairy, poultry, hog and fish farming persist and range from large scale commercial operations to subsistence type family farms. The community has lost population since the 1970s and is eager to attract new investment.


Burford District High School was the only secondary institution for eighty years, opening in 1922 and closing in June 2002 due to low enrollment. The building was then revamped to become Burford District Elementary School and drew students from three elementary schools which were closed around the same time: Maple Avenue, Coronation and Harley-Northfield. The Maple Avenue School was also home to the Burford Islamic School or Darul Uloom Al Islamiah Burford, a private school with a Muslim based education.[11] The building is now for sale after multiple incidents of defacement resulted in the closure of the school. Most high school age students now attend Paris District High School, Brantford Collegiate Institute or Assumption College and St. John's College Catholic schools.

Service Clubs

Photo gallery


Entering Burford along Highway 53.


Burford Arena, home of the Bulldogs

Burford during evening rush hour

King Street (Hwy 53)


Burford's local grocery store.


Burford's public school.

Burford school 2

Burford's public school and community centre share a field.


Burford's downtown has several restaurants.formerly home of the Burford Advance Weekly Newspaper and printer. Original owner, the Messecar Family.


Evidence of "small town ethics" along Hwy. 53 between Burford and Cathcart.

Burford Graveyard

The Burford Congregational Cemetery

Blessed Sacrament Church Burford Ont

Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church

Home Hardware Paint Plant

Home Hardware Paint Plant

See also


  1. ^ Robertson, Mel. "Buford's First Families". Our Ontario. Vita Digital Tool Kit. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  2. ^ www.maps.ie, Google maps 2018.
  3. ^ Burford historian Robert Muir put it as starting around 1840: "It was at this period that some new arrivals in the village attempted to change the name by which it had been known since the beginning of the century. Like many other fussy individuals affected with over-officiousness and chronic unrest of mind, who are continually trying to change the names of the old streets and land marks, these new residents introduced the name Claremont, and for several years the village existed under the burden of both the old and the new designations, which was a continual source of worry to Burford’s Post Master."Major R.C. Muir, THE EARLY POLITICAL and MILITARY HISTORY OF BURFORD (1913) p. 74
  4. ^ Major R.C. Muir, THE EARLY POLITICAL and MILITARY HISTORY OF BURFORD (1913) pp.27-28
  5. ^ http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=4053
  6. ^ H. Beers & Co., The History of the County of Brant, Ontario: Containing a History of the County: Its Township, Cities, Towns, Schools (Warner, Beers & Company, 1883) p. 4401
  7. ^ Biography from Brant County Library http://images.ourontario.ca/brant/3334380/data
  8. ^ J.H. Beers & Co., The History of the County of Brant, Ontario: Containing a History of the County: Its Township, Cities, Towns, Schools (Warner, Beers & Company, 1883) pp.389-391
  9. ^ Beers & Co., The History of the County of Brant, p.385
  10. ^ http://trainweb.us/ontariorailways/railbran.htm#sthash.UYkfpQOf.LZuekzRk.dpbs
  11. ^ http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?archive=true&e=1678533

External links

Coordinates: 43°06′08″N 80°25′44″W / 43.1022°N 80.429°W

2015–16 Quinnipiac Bobcats women's ice hockey season

The Quinnipiac Bobcats program represented Quinnipiac University during the 2015-16 NCAA Division I women's ice hockey season.

2016–17 Quinnipiac Bobcats women's ice hockey season

The Quinnipiac Bobcats program represented Quinnipiac University during the 2016-17 NCAA Division I women's ice hockey season.

Adam Henrique

Adam Henrique (born February 6, 1990) is a Canadian professional ice hockey centre for the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was selected 82nd overall at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils.

Alvin Cecil Murray

Alvin Cecil Murray (July 27, 1895 – September 1949) was a farmer and political figure in Saskatchewan. He represented Gull Lake from 1944 to 1949 in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan as a Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) member.

He was born in Burford, Ontario, the son of John Murray and Jane Hartley, and was educated in Burford and Regina, Saskatchewan. In 1917, Murray married Bertha Bailey. He lived in Tompkins, Saskatchewan. Murray died in office at the age of 54.

Burford Bulldogs

The Burford Bulldogs are a Canadian Junior Hockey team based in Burford, Ontario, Canada. They play in the Provincial Junior Hockey League.

Burford District Elementary School

Burford District Elementary School is a public elementary school in the community of Burford, County of Brant, Ontario, Canada in the Grand Erie District School Board.

The school was formed after Burford District High School closed following the 2001-2002 school year due to low enrolment. The building was renovated to become Burford District Elementary School for the 2002-2003 school year. The student population was drawn from three local elementary schools which were closed at the same time: Coronation, Maple Avenue, and Harley-Northfield schools.

The name Burford District Elementary School was chosen as the result of a public contest suggesting names.

Charles Henry Fowler

Charles Henry Fowler (August 11, 1837 – March 20, 1908) was a Canadian-American Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church ( elected in 1884) and President of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois from 1872 to 1876.

County of Brant

The County of Brant (2016 population 36,707) is a single-tier municipality in the Canadian province of Ontario. Despite its name, it is no longer a county by definition, as all municipal services are handled by a single level of government. The county has service offices in Burford, Paris and St. George.

It is a predominantly rural municipality in Southern Ontario. The largest population centre (2016 population, 12,310) is Paris. The County is bordered by North Dumfries township, the City of Hamilton, Haldimand County, Norfolk County, and the townships of Blandford-Blenheim and Norwich. The County abuts the provincially-mandated Greenbelt (Golden Horseshoe).

Although the city of Brantford appears geographically to be located in the County, it is a fully independent city with its own municipal government. The Brant census division, which includes Brantford and the Six Nations and New Credit reserves, along with the County of Brant, had a population of 134,808 in the 2016 census.

County of Brant Public Library

The County of Brant Public Library is the public library system serving the communities in the County of Brant, Ontario, Canada. It has five branches located in Paris, Burford, Scotland, St. George, and Glen Morris. Its main website is http://www.brantlibrary.ca and its digital local history collection can be accessed at http://images.ourontario.ca/brant.

David Ewart

David Ewart, ISO (18 February 1841 – 6 June 1921) was a Canadian architect who served as Chief Dominion Architect from 1896 to 1914.

As chief government architect he was responsible for many of the federal buildings constructed in this period. He broke with the Neo-Gothic style adopted by his predecessors Thomas Seaton Scott and Thomas Fuller; rather he embraced the Baronial style exemplified in several important buildings.

Edgar Lewis Horwood

Edgar Lewis Horwood (1868–1957) was a Canadian architect who served as Chief Dominion Architect from 1915 to 1917.

As chief government architect he was responsible for many of the federal buildings constructed in this period. Drawings for public buildings designed by Horwood and his staff during his tenure as Chief Architect of the Department of Public Works are held at the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa.

He worked as an architect in private practice in Ottawa and the National Capital Region as E.L. Horwood (1895–1912); Horwood & Taylor (1907–10); Horwood, Taylor & Horwood (1911–1912); E.L. Horwood (1918–1929); Horwood & Horwood (1929–1937).

In 1891, Edgar Lewis Horwood designed the Britannia Nautical Club’s first clubhouse; the Club is celebrating is 125th anniversary in 2012.

Paris, Ontario

Paris (2016 population, 12,310) is a community located at the spot where the Nith River empties into the Grand River in Ontario, Canada. It was voted "the Prettiest Little Town in Canada" by Harrowsmith Magazine. The town was established in 1850. In 1999, its town government was amalgamated into that of the County of Brant, thus ending 149 years as a separate incorporated municipality but Paris remained the largest population centre in the county. While Brantford is located within Brant geographically, it is a fully independent community with its own municipal government.

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario candidates, 1971 Ontario provincial election

The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario ran a full slate of 117 candidates in the 1971 provincial election, seventy-eight of whom were elected. The Progressive Conservatives emerged as the largest party in the legislature for the ninth consecutive time, with an eighth consecutive majority government. Information about the party's candidates may be found here.

Randy Rowe

Randy Rowe (born June 10, 1980) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey forward who played most notably in the ECHL, and became just the seventh player in league history to play over 600 games. He last played for the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL.

Rogers Centre

Rogers Centre, originally named SkyDome, is a multi-purpose stadium in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated just southwest of the CN Tower near the northern shore of Lake Ontario. Opened in 1989 on the former Railway Lands, it is home to the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball (MLB). Previously, the stadium was home to the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL) played an annual game at the stadium as part of the Bills Toronto Series from 2008 to 2013. While it is primarily a sports venue, it also hosts other large events such as conventions, trade fairs, concerts, travelling carnivals, and monster truck shows.

The stadium was renamed "Rogers Centre" following the purchase of the stadium by Rogers Communications, which also owned the Toronto Blue Jays, in 2005. The venue was noted for being the first stadium to have a fully retractable motorized roof, as well as for the 348-room hotel attached to it with 70 rooms overlooking the field. It is also the last North American major-league stadium built to accommodate both football and baseball. The stadium served as the site of both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2015 Pan American Games. During the ceremonies, the site was referred to as the "Pan Am Dome" (officially as the "Pan Am Ceremonies Venue") instead of its official name; Rogers Communications did not have sponsorship rights to the games.

Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays

The Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays are a professional women's hockey team based in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China as a member of the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL). The team was known as Kunlun Red Star WIH (simplified Chinese: 深圳昆仑鸿星 or 昆仑鸿星; traditional Chinese: 深圳崑崙鴻星 or 崑崙鴻星; pinyin: Shēnzhèn Kūnlún Hóngxīng or Kūnlún Hóngxīng; Cantonese Yale: Sāmzan Kwānlèuhn Hùhngsīng or Kwānlèuhn Hùhngsīng) during its first season, but changed its name after the second Chinese team, the Vanke Rays, was shut down and merged into Red Star. The team is operated by the Kunlun Red Star of the Kontinental Hockey League and began operation in 2017.

The KRS Vanke Rays plays home games at Shenzhen Dayun Arena in Shenzhen.

Terry Sumsion

Terry Sumsion (February 7, 1947 - March 26, 2011) was a Canadian country singer, most noted for garnering a Juno Award nomination for Country Male Vocalist of the Year at the Juno Awards of 1985.Born and raised in Burford, Ontario, Sumsion launched his musical career in 1970 with the band The Moonlighters. He recorded his debut single, "Our Lovin' Place", in 1981, and after winning a contest sponsored by London radio station CJBX-FM, he used his winnings to finance the recording of a full-length album. In addition to his Juno Award nomination, he received Canadian Country Music Award nominations in 1983, with Our Lovin' Place nominated for Album of the Year and its title track nominated for Single of the Year, and in 1985, with Midnight Invitation nominated for Album of the Year and its title track nominated for Single of the Year.Over the course of his career he released 12 albums, and his singles included "When You Leave That Way", "There Go I", "So Hard to Forget", "Brand New Love Affair", "One More Time", "Shenandoah", "Born Again", "That's When You Know it's Over", "Crazy Love Games" and "Too Bad We're Only Friends".Late in his career, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2007, but resumed performing after undergoing treatment.Following his death in 2011, a tribute show was staged in Thorndale, with a bill that included Marie Bottrell and Larry Mercey.

Thomas Wade (singer)

Thomas Wade (born May 9, 1961 in Burford, Ontario) is a Canadian country artist. He was the lead singer of the group Thomas Wade & Wayward, who released their eponymous debut album in 1996. The album produced seven singles on the Canadian country music chart, including the top 10s "Zero to Sixty" and "She's Getting Serious". Between 1997 and 1999, Thomas Wade & Wayward received seven CCMA awards, winning best group or duo three times, and both independent single and song awards for '97 and '98. The group was also nominated for three Juno Awards for Best Country Group or Duo in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Between 1996 and 2001, Wade placed twelve videos in the top twenty on CMT, including the number one "Lying Here with You'".

Wade launched a solo career in 2000 when he signed to Shoreline Records and released his debut album, Lucky 13. Five singles were released from the album, including the top 10 "Running Away with You". Following the release of a career retrospective in 2001, So Far, Wade was diagnosed with oromandibular dystonia. While he was forced to end his recording career, he has continued his career as a songwriter. Celine Dion included one of Wade's songs, "Come to Me", on her 2004 album Miracle. Due to cutting edge work in neuroplasticity, Wade began to heal early in 2010 and as of May 2015 went into the studio to record a new album called Blue Country Soul at Phase One Studios in Toronto, Ontario. Largely co-written with Canadian songwriter Tim Taylor, this record is a return to Wade's musical roots, the music of the fifties, classic country and blues as well as a musical reunion with bassist John Dymond, keyboardist Steve O'Connor and drummer Gary Craig. As of 2016, Wade has been touring again as a headlining act. A book and a documentary is in production about his career and battle with dystonia.

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