There is going to be a Burlington BRAND - hopefully an improvement on 'Burlington ranked Canada’s best city'

background graphic greenBy Staff

February 1, 2020



If the city has an image problem there is a group of people that want to come up with a new look – they want to create a single brand for the city.


Coming soon – The Burlington Story delivered to you as a brand.

It is going to be a project with the goal of creating a single, unified brand that reflects one city, one story. The new brand will be rooted in a strong brand promise that reflects the community and speaks to residents, businesses, visitors and the world. A project team comprised of the City of Burlington, Burlington Economic Development and Tourism Burlington has been formed to begin the development of this new city-wide brand for Burlington. An agency will be brought on by the end of April 2020 to develop the branding with the request for proposals already posted. Brand implementation is proposed for 2021.

A unified brand will better position Burlington to:

• share our stories about who we are as a city and the value of what we offer
• build local genuine attachment and pride for our city
• compete globally for jobs, investment and visitors
• attract top employers who will create strong impact and value in our community
• appeal to and retain top talent
• increase awareness of Burlington as a tourism destination and attract more visitors

Burlington’s current brand identity was created in 2002 and does not accurately capture Burlington’s story today. Branding for Burlington is currently dispersed across three key areas; residents and city employees, businesses and visitors. The Burlington One Brand project is an opportunity to unify and update our identity and share our stories.

This project is a result of the direction provided in the City of Burlington’s 2015-2040 Strategic Plan “to create one brand for people and business,” and the Red Tape Red Carpet recommendation to “develop a clear vision and associated branding strategy at the City of Burlington with respect to business attraction and development.” The development and implementation of the brand will also directly contribute towards advancing the City’s 2018-2022 From Vision to Focus work plan and enhance the Burlington customer experience.

Burlington Escartment 005

Burlington is book ended by the Escarpment and….

When city council approves the idea this stretch of Spencer Smith Park will forever be known as the Naval Veterans Promenade. Great idea.

… Spencer Smith Park – but there is much more than these two geographic features to the city.









There will be extensive staff, stakeholder and public engagement in 2020.

Diverse voices need to be heard and represented as part of the One Brand development to create an identity that speaks to our residents, our businesses, and the world. Additional details will be shared with the public as available.

Burlington is ranked as Canada’s best community and best place to raise a family. It is a city where people, nature and businesses thrive.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is very much onside with this one. She said: “Burlington’s brand is more than a logo or slogan. It’s our voice, a promise of who we are that we announce to our neighbouring cities and towns, across Canada, and globally. This rebranding project is an opportunity to capture why Burlington is so special and hear from the changing and diverse demographics living in our city for their input on our brand. We will work towards creating a strong brand promise that reflects our community and positions our city to attract more investment, businesses, talent and visitors.”

Tim Commisso, City Manager who has to marshal the staff that will do the early work said: “The City is pleased to work with our partners at Burlington Economic Development and Tourism Burlington on this important rebranding project. This Burlington One Brand project will closely align with our City of Burlington Customer Experience initiative. We want to ensure that each person that engages with the Burlington brand clearly sees that we are committed to upholding our promises.

Burlington was ranked Canada’s best community for a reason. Sharing our stories and value will help not only build local pride, but also allow us to compete globally for investment.”


Look for new city entrance signs when the One Brand project is completed – Major photo op on that day.

What will all this mean?  This could mean new signs on the QEW as you enter Burlington. Expect the people who develop the One Brand to pull on every teat of the cow that came up with the BBB that was brought to us via a Macleans magazine survey. What happens to the brand when we lose that top spot?  And at some point we will lose it.

Pier crane down

The day the crane toppled over – resulted a new contractor starting all over. Crane operator was said to be on the phone to his girlfriend.

The citizens have in the past come up with some real zingers; most can’t be published.

There is a huge missed opportunity with the way the city announces the closing on King Road so that the Jefferson Salamander can cross the road to do what salamanders do to procreate. Think of it – Jeffy has much more ring to it than Wiarton Willy.

City crest - old hand drawnDoes the Pier get a mention in the visual part of the brand?  Will the city crest be printed on T-shirts and handed out at festive events and appear on documents. Maybe the crest can be upgraded to include that crane that toppled when the first version of the pier was being built.

Burlington Brand cans - plums

Burlington once had a brand – and it worked very well.

The things the city was once famous for around the world was the fruit and vegetables that came out of the ground.

International Harvester tractors were once manufactured in this city; Studebaker once assembled cars here.

And an MPP once swam in Burlington Bay and lived to talk about it.

What will the city spend on this exercise and what will it mean to the people who share the L something postal code?


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13 comments to There is going to be a Burlington BRAND – hopefully an improvement on ‘Burlington ranked Canada’s best city’

  • Hans Jacobs

    With some exceptions, most mid-sized cities tend to be more like commodities than brands; i.e., they are too similar for effective differentiation so that there would be little (if any) added value for Burlington in trying to create a “brand”.
    As Tom Muir wrote, this idea can be killed at the proposal stage. It should be.

    • Fred

      Maybe our local politicans should practice the age old saying “There is no need to fix it if it isn’t broken”… as politics is too hard to fix

  • Joe Gaetan

    Coke is a brand, so is Trump,Tesla etc. COB gets all the publicity it needs. Try a new Logo, but don’t spend $290,000 on something like the orange “J”.

  • Frank

    if your rebranding you better get someone local to do it and not spend that money somewhere far away on a stupid ad agency.

  • Shannon

    What a waste of money, especially considering the city lost half a million dollars to online scammers last year, and our council just spent another half million (reportedly) on a land use study that won’t make much difference. Don’t forget about the reserve funds being used to keep our property tax increases artificially low.

    Why spend money on branding when people already think Burlington is such a great place to live? (Our expensive housing prices are just one of the things that reflect that). I know people who’ve relocated their businesses to Burlington and it wasn’t because of the “brand”. It was because the location was suitable for their employees and the right kind of office space was available at a fair price. Business people aren’t fooled by glitz and glamour. They’re pragmatic people who make pragmatic decisions.

    If Burlington is serious about attracting more businesses to the city, it should focus on creating the type of city in which young, skilled and educated folks want to live. Companies tend to go where the best potential employees are. What does the younger generation want? They don’t all want the four-bedroom house, two car lifestyle their parents had. They want housing they can afford and a lot of them want the convenience of condos and townhomes. More than ever, they want to be able to get to work and around town without the financial and environmental burden of car ownership. That means a fast, reliable transit network and real cycling infrastructure. This council still doesn’t get what cities of the future need to look like.

    Wish everybody would stop wasting money on things that get them headlines and accolades. Let’s just get to work on what needs to get done because there’s lots to do.

  • Tom Muir

    What I don’t get is – just what changes with a “New Brand”?

    It’s just a different label on the same package.

    It’s all just words and an expensive paid for opinion of what those in charge think they want to hear. Whose accountability plate does this land on?

    I must agree that it’s a waste of money. It can be killed at the proposal stage.

    In the end it’s just propaganda, as defined by as – “Propaganda is the more or less systematic effort to manipulate other people’s beliefs, attitudes, or actions by means of symbols (words, gestures, banners, … .”

    Isn’t a “Brand” just such a symbol?

    It won’t make any difference in how the city performs or delivers.

  • Stephen White

    I get it that the City needs to have a consistent approach in publicizing itself for business development and tourism purposes. However, if engaging in an extensive consultation process around branding is a prerequisite for effectively promoting the City then before embarking upon this it would really be helpful to know how much it will cost, and over what timeframe it will be developed. And do we really need to hire an external agency to coordinate this undertaking? Don’t we have the resources at the City, the BED or Tourism Burlington who could manage this project?

  • Fred

    As a long standing Burlington resident, I support revitalisation and development to improve our community. If Burlington is considered an attractive place to live, then I would question the need for this study, but if Burlington council requires this study to improve or attract economic development, then rebranding is a must. Just look around, alot of vacant commercial/industrial land and empty buildings for a city to be called vibrant. There is a need to attract big businesses to our city to revitalize and grow. Maybe a slogan like “THE CITY THAT CONNECTS ALL”

  • Penny Hersh

    When I heard that this “branding” was being considered I just shook my head. A city should stand on its accomplishments. Personally, I am more than tired hearing what a great city Burlington is. What is involved in ranking a City? How these companies rank cities cannot be the same as what residents need.

    Most people cannot afford to live in Burlington. We don’t have an efficient transit system. The City is still in the midst of trying to control development in the downtown core. The City has not figured out that citizen engagement is more than putting on events like “Food for Feedback”.

    My suggestion would be to take care of business and make Burlington a place where all people can afford to live, and forget about “branding”. Put this money into planting more trees, repave the roads and perhaps provide a shelter for the homeless.

  • Elaine

    Cant believe this article. If Burlington is one of best places to live in Canada I would hate to see worst.though I have been to Ottawa. Not attractive at all for a capital city.
    When compare to European capitals.
    Why can Burlington not attract businesses, everything closing down. If got better retail stores might improve,

  • Steve W

    A total waste of money. If we are already ranked as the best why spend this money?

  • Greg

    Let’s stop with the committees and studies. Let’s have the administration user good judgement and cost control to provide as much quality service for as just money as they have. Evaluate how it’s going and adjust.

    It seems like the City is so concerned with ‘vision’ and 50,000 get views. The Mayor and the City need to be at 10,000 ft. If you are going to stay at 50,000 feet do it for development. That is an area a City should worry about and we seem to have fallen down.

    We don’t need a brand. We don’t need a slogan. We don’t need one because other cities have them. Save the money.

  • Jay

    Waste of money!