Pros and Cons of Burlington Ontario - The Good, The Bad, and The Beautiful

Matthew Kelly | eXp Realty 
20 Jan 2024

Top Pros & Cons of Living in Burlington Ontario You Need to Know

Ever wondered what it’s like living in Burlington, Ontario? Well, you’re in luck! Today, we’re diving deep into this charming city, nestled between Oakville and Hamilton, right on the shores of Lake Ontario.

 Burlington has been a top pick for families across Canada, but like every city, it’s got its ups and downs. I’ve spent over 20 years in Burlington and recently moved out, so I’ve got the inside scoop for you. 

Stick around as we unpack everything Burlington has to offer, from its picturesque parks to the nitty-gritty of daily life. And hey, if you’re considering a move, don’t forget to check out the FREE Burlington Home Buyers Starter Kit!

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Location: Burlington's Prime Spot

Picture this: a city where the waves of Lake Ontario gently lap the shores, and big city amenities are just a drive away. That’s Burlington for you! Perfectly positioned between the hustle of Toronto and the charm of Hamilton, Burlington offers the best of both worlds. Let’s zoom in on what makes Burlington’s location so special.

  • On Lake Ontario: Offers stunning waterfront views and activities.
  • Between Cities: Nestled between Oakville (east) and Hamilton (west).
  • Drive Times: About 1 hour to Toronto, 20 minutes to Hamilton, and 45 minutes to Niagara Falls.

Parks and Recreation: Burlington's Green Escape

If you’re a fan of green spaces and fresh air, Burlington will feel like paradise. From the serene Spencer Smith Park to the adventurous trails of Bronte Creek, there’s a slice of nature for everyone. Let’s take a stroll through some of Burlington’s most beloved parks.

  • Spencer Smith Park: A waterfront gem with festivals and a pier.
  • Burlington Beach: Ideal for summer days, especially for kids due to its gentle slope.
  • Bronte Creek Provincial Park: A haven for hiking, fishing, and camping.
  • Mount Nemo: Offers breathtaking views, especially during the fall.
  • Royal Botanical Gardens: A floral wonderland with themed gardens.
  • Community Centers: Equipped with pools, hockey rinks, and gymnasiums.
  • Public Libraries: Numerous well-stocked libraries across the city.

Educational Excellence: Burlington's Brainy Side

Burlington isn’t just about pretty views; it’s a city that values education. With over 40 elementary schools and 10 high schools, each offering various programs, your kids are set for a bright future. And for those seeking higher education, you’re in luck! Let’s dive into Burlington’s educational landscape.

  • Diverse School Options: Both public and Catholic schools, with different streams like English, French, and Gifted.
  • Above Average Performance: Schools consistently rank above Ontario’s testing averages. (Fraser Insitute Rankings Here)
  • Post-Secondary Proximity: Close to McMaster University, Mohawk College, and Sheridan College.
  • Extracurriculars: Rich in sports, music, and arts programs.

Safety First: Burlington's Protective Bubble

Feeling safe in your city is priceless, right? Well, Burlington’s got you covered. As part of the Halton region, it’s been topping the charts as one of the safest areas in Canada. Whether you’re out for a midnight stroll or your kids are playing outside, Burlington’s safety record is something to boast about.

  • Low Crime Rates: Halton consistently ranks very low in both violent and non-violent crimes for over 20+ years
  • Community Watchfulness: A sense of security fostered by neighbourly care.
  • Halton Police Crime Map: An online resource for up-to-date crime statistics right from the source

Navigating Burlington: Traffic and Transit Tales

Let’s shift gears and talk about getting around in Burlington. If you love driving, you’ll appreciate the easy highway access. But, fair warning, rush hour can be a bit of a drag with a few bottlenecks. And if you’re thinking about ditching the car for public transit, well, let’s just say Burlington’s still working on it.

  • Traffic Hotspots: Key areas to avoid during rush hour include the 403 & QEW around Brant Street Exit, Appleby Line, and Dundas Street.
  • Public Transit: Functional but not the most efficient, especially for transfers.
  • GO Transit: Three main stations offering decent intercity connectivity.
  • Biking: Great recreational trails, but limited bike lanes for daily commuting.

The Price of Paradise: Cost of Living in Burlington

Living in Burlington is like owning a piece of paradise, but it does come with a price tag. The real estate market here can be a bit steep, especially if you’re comparing it to neighbouring cities. Let’s break down what your wallet can expect in this sought-after city.

  • Real Estate Comparison: More affordable than Oakville and Mississauga. More expensive than most of Hamilton, but on par with Ancaster and Waterdown.
  • Property Taxes: Relatively lower compared to other cities in Ontario, making it a financially savvy choice for homeowners.

Real Estate Market Breakdown: Finding Your Home in Burlington

Dreaming of a home in Burlington? Whether you’re eyeing a cozy townhouse or a sprawling detached home, Burlington’s real estate market has a diverse range to offer. Let’s dive into the specifics and see what’s in store for potential homeowners.

  • Detached Homes: Making up 54% of the market, with prices ranging from $1 – 1.5 million. These homes typically offer 3-4 bedrooms, 2-3 bathrooms, attached garages, and are built from the late 1960s to 1990s.
  • Townhomes: Comprise 24% of the market. Freehold townhomes are priced between $850k – $1.25 million, while condo townhomes range from $700k – $1 million.
  • Condos: Account for 22% of the market, with prices between $500k – $700k. The growing condo development reflects Burlington’s expansion limitations.

Construction and Development: Burlington's Changing Skyline

If you’re planning to move to downtown Burlington, brace yourself for some construction buzz. The city’s skyline is changing, with new condos springing up to accommodate the growing population. While it’s a sign of progress, it does mean a bit of extra traffic and noise for now.

  • Downtown Development: Ongoing construction of high-rise buildings.
  • Impact on Daily Life: Potential delays and noise in the downtown area.
  • Affordable Housing Goals: Efforts to increase housing options in the city center.

Shopping Spree in Burlington: From Malls to Markets

  • Intro: Shopaholics, rejoice! Burlington is a haven for retail therapy. From trendy malls to the charming farmers’ market, there’s something for every shopper. Whether you’re hunting for the latest fashion or fresh local produce, Burlington’s shopping scene won’t disappoint.
    • Malls: Mapleview Mall and Burlington Centre offer a wide range of stores and eateries.
    • Farmers Market: A 65-year-old tradition, featuring 48 vendors selling local produce, baked goods, meats, and cheeses.

Nightlife and Dining: Burlington's Social Scene

Burlington may not be the clubbing capital, but it’s got a lively social scene. From cozy bars to gourmet restaurants, there’s plenty to explore after dark. And if you’re a foodie, you’re in for a treat with Burlington’s diverse culinary offerings.

  • Nightlife: Limited clubbing options, but several popular bars like Joe Dogs, The Dickens, The Port House and The Coop.
  • Dining Favorites: Son of a Peach for pizza, Zesty Pita for shawarma, JC’s Hot Bagels, Pure & Simple for brunch, Sunshine Donuts, Nickel Brook Brewery, Lettuce Love Cafe, and Charcoal Pit.

Events & Festivals: Burlington's Vibrant Community Life

Burlington isn’t just about serene living; it’s a city buzzing with events and festivals. Whether you’re a rib enthusiast or a music lover, Burlington’s calendar is packed with activities that bring the community together. Let’s check out some of the city’s most popular events.

  • Rib Fest: Known as Canada’s largest Rib Fest, held every Labour Day weekend.
  • Sound of Music Festival: A free music festival in Spencer Smith Park.
  • Canada Day Celebrations: Spectacular fireworks show on July 1st.
  • Festival of Lights: A winter wonderland that lights up the city with festive spirit.

Shows and Sports: Entertainment in Burlington

If you’re an entertainment buff, Burlington might have you travelling a bit for big shows and sports events. While the city hosts some concerts and performances, the major action is in nearby Toronto and Hamilton. Let’s see what Burlington offers and where you might need to go for more.

  • Burlington Performing Arts Centre: Hosts various shows and concerts.
  • Proximity to Major Cities: Easy access to Toronto and Hamilton for professional sports events and larger concerts.
  • Local Sports: No major professional sports teams in Burlington, but plenty of community sports leagues.

Healthcare Facilities: Ensuring Your Well-being

When it comes to healthcare, Burlington takes good care of its residents. With well-equipped hospitals and numerous clinics, you’re in safe hands. Whether you’re in the north or south of the city, quality healthcare is always within reach.

  • Hospitals: Joseph Brant Hospital in South Burlington and Oakville Trafalgar Hospital for North Burlington residents.
  • Walk-in Clinics and Specialists: Available throughout Burlington, ensuring accessible healthcare for all.

Lake Effect: Burlington's Unique Climate

One of Burlington’s hidden gems is its unique climate, thanks to the lake effect. If you’re not a fan of extreme weather, you’ll appreciate Burlington’s cooler summers and milder winters. Let’s talk about how Lake Ontario shapes Burlington’s weather.

  • Cooler Summers: Less intense heat due to proximity to the lake.
  • Milder Winters: Less snowfall compared to other regions in Canada, making winters more manageable.

Industrial Pockets and Quarry Concerns

Burlington’s industrial areas and the Quarry might not be on every resident’s radar, but they’re worth noting, especially if you’re considering moving to the rural parts of Burlington.

  • Industrial Areas: Mostly light manufacturing near the QEW, with notable facilities like the pork processing plant and wastewater treatment plant.
  • Quarry in Rural Burlington: Potential noise and traffic issues, especially for those looking at estate lots in rural areas.

Golfing Galore: Teeing Off in Burlington

  • Calling all golf enthusiasts! Burlington is a haven for golfers, with several stunning courses dotting the city. Whether you’re a pro or just enjoy a casual round, Burlington’s golf courses are sure to impress.
    • Top Golf Courses: Millcroft Golf Club, Tyandaga, Burlington Golf Club, Mount Nemo Golf, and Hidden Lake.
    • Golfing Facilities: Within Range Driving Range for practice, plus mini-putt courses for family fun.

As we wrap up our journey through Burlington, Ontario, it’s clear that this city is more than just a dot on the map. It’s a vibrant community brimming with lush parks, top-notch schools, and a spirit of safety and togetherness. Sure, it has its quirks – from bustling construction sites to the occasional traffic snarl – but what city doesn’t? Burlington strikes a beautiful balance between urban amenities and the tranquility of nature, making it a sought-after destination for families and professionals alike.

But let’s not forget, every rose has its thorns. The cost of living and real estate market can be challenging, and the nightlife might not rival the big cities. Yet, for many, the pros of Burlington far outweigh the cons. It’s a city that caters to a variety of lifestyles, offering everything from serene hikes to festive community events, all within a stone’s throw of major urban centers.

If Burlington has piqued your interest and you’re contemplating making this city your new home, why not take the next step? Download the FREE Burlington Home Buyers Starter Kit. It’s packed with essential information, tips, and insights to help you navigate the Burlington real estate landscape. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to relocate, this starter kit is your gateway to understanding and making the most of what Burlington has to offer.

So, why wait? Embrace the opportunity to explore Burlington’s charming neighborhoods, beautiful homes, and vibrant community life. Download the starter kit today and start your journey to calling Burlington your home!



✅ Buying vs Renting.. What’s Different?
✅ First Steps To Stress-Free Home Buying
✅ Top Home-Buying Mistakes to Avoid
✅ Understand What to Look For In a Home
✅ Discover The Hidden Closing Cost & How Much?
✅ Complete Moving Checklist


✅ Understand Pros & Cons of Burlington
✅ Discover Best & Worst Neighbourhoods
✅ What & Where the Top Schools Are
✅ Cost of Living in Burlington
✅  Learn About Top 10 Parks in Burlington
✅  & More About the Surrounding Cities 


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Step 1: Burlington Starter Kit

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Step 2: One on One Call

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