Want to research your Burlington home’s history? This is how you do it


Published November 9, 2023 at 10:34 am

homes house Burlington history library

Burlington celebrated its 150th birthday this year and with that has come a renewed interest in its history.

For those interested in the past, there are many opportunities to explore your passion.

But how about investigating closer to home? Or actually, investigating your own home or property?

The Burlington Public Library (BPL) has several resources available for you to find out more about your home and property.

In its local history collection, the BPL can provide the material you need to conduct your research. Librarians are also on hand to help point you in the right direction.

Here are some of the resources available through the library system:

  • Telephone directories: Burlington phone books list names, addresses, and telephone numbers. The library has 1978-2006 phone books and the Bell Canada Telephone Historical Collection covering 1878 to 1979 on microfilm.
  • City Directories: This can help researchers trace individuals, families, and businesses. They usually include an alphabetical listing of adult residents, with their occupations and addresses. We have Vernon’s Burlington Directories for the years 1959 to 2013.
  • Assessment records: Tax assessment records help determine a building’s construction date and identify the original owner and occupants. The library has these records on microfilm from 1856 to 1953.
  • City council minutes: Former council minutes are available on microfilm. They are useful to trace the development and changes to a specific property or residential area. We have these records on microfilm from 1852 to 2003.
  • Maps: BPL’s historical maps and plans collection is from a variety of sources, predominantly produced and published by the City of Burlington’s Planning Department, illustrating the village, town, and city.
  • Atlases: The library has physical copies of Illustrated Historical Atlases for Halton and Wentworth County. You can also search Historical Canadian County Atlases online, a digital project hosted by McGill University’s Rare Books and Special Collections Division with indexed county atlas information.
  • Fire Insurance Plans: Available on microfilm, BPL has the Fire Insurance Plan of Burlington for the years 1900, 1900 revised 1911, 1910, 1924 (downloadable digital copy), 1924 revised 1932, and 1971. View a digital copy of the Index to Fire Insurance Plan of Burlington 1932 (McMaster University Library)
  • Land Registry Records: Detail the chain of ownership of a property by means of plan and lot number. These records can be found at the Halton Land Registry Office in Milton. Land registration services for the general public are only available online. Visit ONLAND for more information.

Here are the links to other resources:

City of Burlington, Property Information Request

City of Burlington, Building Records Statistics and Reports

Heritage Burlington


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