Burlington Village Square – The Smaller, Younger Cousin to Toronto’s Distillery District

Burlington Village Square – The Smaller, Younger Cousin to Toronto’s Distillery District

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Due to COVID, everything related to travel is changing. At the time of publishing, travel in Ontario is restricted. Please refer to: Reopening Ontario for more details.

Ahh Burlington Village Square… what can I say except for, wow what an unexpected find! Growing up in the Greater Toronto Area, I’ve had my fair share of discovering locations reminiscent of European towns like:

So imagine my surprise when I recently discovered this tiny and hidden nook in Burlington! While it is certainly much smaller in size than all the other locations listed above, the Burlington Village Square is a great place to visit if you’re looking for:

  • summer night aesthetic vibes
  • a less crowded and smaller version of Distillery District
  • a space that looks like it came straight out of a Christmas Postcard in the winter
  • somewhere to spend some time after enjoying Burlington’s lakeside boulevard
  • a space to appreciate historical building preservations
  • a space to browse cute specialty stores in a quiet space
  • or somewhere to shop at that supports small local businesses and restaurants

Burlington Village Square – Stroll Through A Tiny Europe Much Like Toronto’s Distillery District – Contents

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About Burlington Village Square

Developed in the late 1970’s and opened to the public in 1977, the Burlington Village Square is a shopping center located in the heart of downtown Burlington. This place is reminiscent of historical European town squares. Much like its larger cousin, the Distillery District, the shopping center contains a mix of:

  • commercial use
  • specialty retail use
  • restaurant use
  • cultural use
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This small nook is actually home to over thirty diverse businesses – many of which are small businesses found only in the square. Some of the businesses that call this space home include: photographers, specialty chocolate stores, counselling services, student travel services, and dining services.

Is Burlington Village Square Dog-Friendly?

Yes, but outdoors only. The entire outdoor space, including the gazebo in the center of the square, is pet-friendly. However, like most other places, most of the indoor businesses do not welcome pets indoors. Based on some inquires to the management office, I have also confirmed that the dining patios are indeed dog-friendly, so you can definitely spend some time here eating and enjoying the great outdoors with your pooch!

Best Times to Visit Burlington Village Square

The outdoor area of Village Square is open to the public year round 24 hours a day. While beautiful at any point of time, I’ve listed out three of the best times to visit Village Square depending on what type of experience you’re looking for:

1. For Shopping Local Crafts – Visit in the Summer Time

Burlington Village Square - The Smaller, Younger Cousin to Toronto's Distillery District This shopping center is reminiscent of old European towns not unlike its bigger cousin - the Distillery District located in Toronto. An unexpected hidden gem beloved by locals and a newfound favorite location for us. With a beautiful lakeshore boardwalk just outside the village, you can spend a whole day visiting and enjoying this space!
Image Credit: Burlington Made

Burlington Village Square transforms into a bustling nook during the summer as it is a popular location for many summer pop up series. Each month the outdoor space is transformed as it features a rotating selection of local craft goods, live music, and many kid-friendly activities.

2. For Night Time Aesthetics – Visit in the Spring/Summer Nights

Lately Angelo has been really into capturing summer night aesthetics. So one spring evening, we decided to explore somewhere new and fortunately, we decided to head West of Toronto.

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During the late evening, Burlington Village Square transforms in a romantic nook perfect for a couples to enjoy a short, romantic stroll. When we arrived at around 9 PM, there was no, of course, nobody there. With the just two of us exploring the space, it really felt like we were transported to a small European town with the streets all to ourselves. With the romantic fairy lights lit up all over the square, the empty space felt cozy, warm, and inviting.

*Note* for formal photo shoots, you will need to obtain a photo permit to shoot onsite.

3. For Christmas Postcard Vibes – Visit with Winter Snow

Burlington Village Square - The Smaller, Younger Cousin to Toronto's Distillery District This shopping center is reminiscent of old European towns not unlike its bigger cousin - the Distillery District located in Toronto. An unexpected hidden gem beloved by locals and a newfound favorite location for us. With a beautiful lakeshore boardwalk just outside the village, you can spend a whole day visiting and enjoying this space!
Image Credit: Inside Halton

With a layer of winter snow and caroling events hosted at the square, this small corner really transforms into a place that looks straight out of a Christmas Card!

Activities Near Burlington Village Square

Unless you’re looking to spend some time shopping and eating at the square, your visit can range from a short 15 minute stroll to several hours. However, if you’re looking to extend your stay in Burlington, here are some additional activities nearby that you can do while you’re around the area:

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Did you visit Burlington Village Square? I really hope you give visiting the space at the night a try! It’s just so romantic! Let me know about your visit in the comments below!

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Maria is the founder of SYDE Road, a blog about adventure and often-times dog-friendly traveling. She loves researching and planning for trips and is the 'project manager' for many of the small group adventures documented on this blog. She believes that while it is always best to go into a trip with a plan, the best planned trips are always the ones that have time built-in to explore and get a bit lost. Her itineraries are detailed with safety hints and tips, but are also peppered with unique travel stories and experiences that are the result of free time, getting lost, or stepping off the main trails. She aims to inspire others and give people the confidence to travel the world and get a bit sidetracked!

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