Don't You Forget About Burlington, Canada


(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts Burlington Skyway Bridges.)


Canada is 3.85 million square miles. When visiting one of the world's largest countries, it's easy for travelers to become overwhelmed by the number of places to visit and activities to do. Burlington stands apart from other Canadian cities with its beauty, history, and charm. I had the chance to speak with Kristene Smith from Visit Burlington to learn why everyone should visit.



(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts Spencer Smith Park.)


1. Why should someone visit Burlington?

Burlington is a destination rich in diverse cultural offerings, from the largest Royal Botanical Gardens in Canada to the Largest Free Music Festival in Canada. We pride ourselves in art, music, and history. We have a beautiful museum, art gallery, and performing arts center.



(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts The Brant Street Pier.)


In addition to arts and culture, we have an abundance of culinary options from dining, fresh farm markets, and more specialty desserts than one can consume.



(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts artist Kelsey Montague in front of her mural.)


Finally, we have the best outdoor activities, from walking, hiking, and cycling trails of all different lengths and scenery from waterfront to escarpment and rural to urban. There is something for everyone in every season. We are an evergreen destination – from the beach in the summer to snowshoeing in the winter.



(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts Elgin Promenade - the Portal- Public Art.)


2. How does Burlington respect its past and embrace innovation?

That is a great question and something we often reflect on here in Burlington. We start by engaging the community by looking at how the city was formed, respecting the visionaries that saw something special in the area and built it into what it is today.



(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts the Burlington beach way.)


A great example is the Ireland House Museum. The Ireland family built their home between 1835 and 1837 at Oakridge Farm; they emigrated from England and, through generations, worked the land, and the homestead still stands today. As for innovation and future planning, for tourism, we lean into the needs of our business community and the value our visitors expect from their exploration of Burlington.



(Video courtesy of Tourism Burlington.)


When a need is demonstrated, we actively seek sustainable ways to fulfill those needs, whether partnering with our colleagues for business attractions or, like our newest project with Kelsey, we create amplify our pride of place with a beautiful mural that visitors can interact with and mark their memorable experience in Burlington with.



(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts Kelsey Montague's mural.)


3. How has Burlington evolved in the face of the pandemic?

Interestingly, you use the word 'evolved' we recently undertook a strategic plan for tourism in Burlington, and that is the title and theme of our actions for the next three years.



(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts Spring at the Brant Street Pier)


Like other destinations, we saw a much larger focus on local business. We also saw a large opportunity for visitors and residents to reacquaint themselves with the outdoors and nature. We are fortunate to have an abundance of trails, parks, and outdoors.



(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts Kerncliff Park.)


Collaborations became richer and longer lasting; we saw partnerships we may not have expected in pre-pandemic days and are now connected permanently. The dynamics, in some cases, shifted, and it was all for the better. It was tough, but it was very positive.



(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts Burlington Fall Trails.)


4. How can visitors help Burlington's sustainability efforts?

This is a great question. It is really about two things, first, education. For example, some visitors may not be aware that groomed paths in conservation areas are there to allow wildlife and vegetation to thrive in their natural settings. Visitors may not understand why some trails are limited the number of guests, and it is to prevent overuse of an area.



(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts Winter Beachway and Bridge.)


Second, it is about immersing yourself in the local traditions and experiences. Many of our attractions and businesses are using sustainable models in their tours, business practices, etc. As a visitor to any location, it is ok to move outside your comfort zone and experience something new by embracing those efforts. As an example, an attraction may ask that you bring a reusable water bottle and provide refill stations with purified water or bring your own reusable bags for purchases. Another area we see is online information materials or apps to communicate with visitors to reduce their carbon footprint.



(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts a dog at work with Cherry Blossoms blooming)



5. What is the future of tourism?

When we think about the future, we are looking at a few things; the first, which is always the case, is our visitors' and communities' expectations.



(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts the Brand Street Pier.)


Trends we are seeing are that visitors want to be inspired, whether that is through health and wellness, learning about culture and history, or simply going somewhere that enriches their lives in a small way.



(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts Kerncliff Park.)


There is a push for digitized experiences and contactless travel, yet we also see a demand for a more intimate and human experience. The human experience was why we selected Kelsey and the mural concept she introduced. It was about the human connection, to art, to Burlington, and linking that with social media to share a special memory. We are beyond thrilled that Kelsey's vision touched on ours as well. It was the perfect partnership.



(Image courtesy of Tourism Burlington/COB. The image depicts Kelsey Montague's mural.)

Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my blog! Please reach out if you have any ideas for content, partnerships, and more!

Let the posts
come to you.

Thanks for submitting!

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest