Discover Burford, Ontario: A Blend of History and Rural Charm
Burford, Ontario, is a quaint rural community nestled in the heart of the County of Brant in central southwestern Ontario. With a population of 1,058 residents as per the 2021 Census, this charming community is located eight kilometres west of the City of Brantford along Highway 53, and seventy kilometres east of London, Ontario. It is approximately 100 km southwest of Toronto.
Burford, Ontario: A Hub of Activity
The administrative offices for the County of Brant are located in Burford, making it one of three service hubs for the county, alongside Paris and St. George. Among the designated heritage properties in the area is the former Burford Armoury, built in 1906, which played a crucial role in military training during the days when Canada had an active militia force in each county.
Sports and Recreation in Burford, Ontario
Burford is home to the Burford Bulldogs, a junior hockey team that competes in the Provincial Junior Hockey League. The community also boasts the Burford Golf Links, a local golf course founded in 1980. Now part of the GolfNorth group of golf courses, it has seen a number of different owners over the years.
Celebrating Tradition in Burford, Ontario: The Burford Fall Fair
Every year, Burford hosts the Burford Fall Fair, a tradition established in 1858. Initially hosted in Harley as the World's Fair, it was relocated to Burford when the fairgrounds were purchased in 1893. Over the years, the fair has grown from a one-day event to a three-day extravaganza held every Thanksgiving weekend, attracting tourists and visitors from the surrounding towns, the larger county of Brant, and beyond.
The History of Burford, Ontario
Once known as Claremont, Burford was the largest community in the former Burford Township, 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. Due to its location on the primary roadway leading into Oxford, Burford served as Oxford's gateway community.
The Early History of Burford, Ontario
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 the Public Universal Friend. The continuation of work to bring settlers into the township fell to Dayton's son-in-law, Benajah Mallory, after Dayton fell ill and became bedridden shortly after moving his family into Burford.
The Duncombe Rebellion in Burford, Ontario
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. 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.
Railway Development in Burford, Ontario
The railway era dawned in the area in 1853 with the opening of the Great Western Railway between Hamilton and London. 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.
Recent History of Burford, Ontario
In 1999, Burford became part of the County of Brant, an amalgamation of several local municipalities. The current mayor of the County of Brant is David Bailey. 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. The community has lost population since the 1970s and is eager to attract new investment.