Originally known as the area of East Flamborough, the land just east of present day Hamilton became known as Aldershot, named by William Applegarth. Some of these early settlers constructed wharves along the southern shoreline of Aldershot and established market gardens and farms to the north which contributed greatly to Aldershot’s early development from a crossroads community known as Aldershot Corners into a bustling town. Unlike seaports or harbours where large boats and vessels would often dock for many hours or even days, wharves allowed for the quick flow of goods and people. Boats could quickly dock, load and unload cargo or passengers. The wharves of the area allowed for the timely movement of goods including agricultural produce, lumber and textiles.
One of the more well-known wharves was built in the late 1840s by Colonel Brown, an agent for the North Western Fur Trades Company in York. Consistent with Burlington’s reputation as the “The Garden of Canada” the last shipment from Colonel Brown’s wharf before it closed in 1897 was 15,000 to 20,000 barrels of apples.
Market gardens were common in the Burlington area dating back to the mid-19th century, dominating much of the area’s farm land – this was no different in Aldershot. Early settlers to Aldershot took advantage of the rich soil known throughout the area. The Emerys were another one of these pioneering fruit farming families, they owned orchards in Aldershot. Emery’s Farms and Fruit Market operated for many years and is known for shipping the first Canadian apples abroad. One time, the Emerys tried to ship apples to South Africa, but the shipment never arrived. To ensure this mistake was not repeated, family members would accompany the apples on the cross-Atlantic voyage (Turcotte, 1989:67).
In 1958, Aldershot amalgamated with the City of Burlington. The goals was to improve services within Aldershot such as the addition of street lights to improved sewer systems. Although the area blended seamlessly with the City of Burlington, the historical remnants of Aldershot can still be seen today in many of the houses along Plains Road and Northshore Boulevard.
241 Plains Road West “Gallagher Farmhouse” – The Gallagher House was built circa 1880. IT is a Vernacular Victorian Farmhouse that was home to the Gallagher Family, who were well-known fruit growers of the area. They were famous for their melons, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, pears, plums and apples that were sold under the Sunfruit brand.
313 Plains Road West – The Albert Unsworth House was built circa 1882. The Unsworths were a farming family who were prominent in the community for over 160 years.
444 Plains Road East “The John Horne House” – George Horne’s family emigrated from England and settled in Aldershot. George’s sons, Walter and John, had a successful fruit farm. Part of the property is now the Burlington Golf and Country Club course.
481 Plains Road West “The David Blain House and Inn” – This house was built in 1857 on the site of an old hotel that burned down. The “Blains Inn” was one of the eight Inns on Waterdown Road. In 1854, the construction of the railway through the region initiated the decline of the hotel. The owner of the house, David Blain, was a constable of the County Court for many years.
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