Brush up on your history in museum-rich Burlington


Are you an insatiable history buff who has visited Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum so many times that you know the bats in the bat cave by their first names?

Would you like to take your family away for the weekend, but don’t want to travel too far?

Burlington might be just the ticket with its various museums, starting with the Ireland House (2168 Guelph Line, Burlington ON).

The Ireland House illustrates three distinct time periods that represent the different generations of the Ireland family who lived in the house in the 1850s, 1890s, and 1920s. More than ninety percent of the furnishings are original and the kitchen is still used to cook. There are also open houses available during Heritage Week in mid-February.

Built between 1835-1837 using fieldstone with a lime-stone mortar has allowed the house to exist in excellent condition. An addition to the original home was built only ten years after its initial construction, allowing an in-door privy, the aforementioned kitchen and a thirty-five foot well. The house currently sits on four acres of land.

Ireland House at Oakridge Farm was the home of Joseph Ireland, one of Burlington’s earliest settlers. Emigrating from Bowes, Yorkshire, England in 1819 at the age of 27, he petitioned for land at Oakridge Farm and so began a legacy that continues today. Joseph and his descendants occupied Ireland House until 1985. In 1987, the City of Burlington purchased the property from the estate of Lucie Marie Ireland Bush and established a museum, restoring the homestead to illustrate three distinct time periods that represent the generations of Irelands who lived in the house.

In addition to the Ireland House, there’s also the Joseph Brant Museum (1240 North Shore Blvd. E., Burlington ON) which is a replica of the original home of Joseph Brant ‘Thayendanegea’ (1742-1807). In 1798, the Mohawk and British captain was granted 3,450 acres at the ‘head-of-the-lake’ (Burlington Bay) by King George III, awarded for his services to the Crown during the Seven Years War and the American Revolution. The Museum opened to the public on May 22, 1942. The year 2012 marks the Museum’s 70th Anniversary making it the perfect time to brush up on your Brant background.

Tours of both museums are available; visit for more information.