For most of its existence before amalgamation with Hamilton in 2001, Flamborough comprised the former townships of East Flamborough, West Flamborough, and Beverly, as well as the Village of Waterdown. The largest suburban community is the former Village of Waterdown containing perhaps one third of its thirty thousand or so inhabitants. Other Flamborough communities include: Carlisle, Christie's Corners, Clappison's Corners, Copetown, Freelton, Greensville, Lynden, Kirkwall, Millgrove, Mountsberg, Orkney, Rockton, Troy, Sheffield, Valens, and Westover.
The area has a long history of human occupation. There is evidence in the immediate area of Paleo-Indian occupation. Later, the area was inhabited by the aboriginal people known variously as the Neutral or Attawandaron until they were annihilated by the Iroquois nations from what is now New York State. The first recorded visit to the area by Europeans was on September 24, 1669, when the French explorers La Salle and Joliet met near Tinawatawa, now Westover. When New France was conquered by the British in 1763, the territory became part of the British Empire.
After the American Revolution in 1783 and the creation of Upper Canada, land at the western end of Lake Ontario was surveyed and organized into townships, which included East Flamborough, West Flamborough and Beverly. Governor's Road (also known as Queen's Highway 99 and later Regional Roads 399 and 299) was built on the border with neighbouring Ancaster Township in 1794-95, linking York (later Toronto) and London.
The three townships and Village of Waterdown were founding constituents of Wentworth County in 1816. The Village of Waterdown was created in 1879 from that part of East Flamborough above the Niagara Escarpment and within approximately a kilometre of King's Highway No. 5 (Dundas Street). The Town of Dundas was created from parts of West Flamborough and Ancaster Townships.
Lionel Beaumaurice "Leo" Clarke was born near Waterdown in 1892, and his family left for Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1903. During the First World War, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and fought in France. On September 9, 1916, during the Battle of Somme, Corporal L.B. Clarke single-handedly repulsed a German attack. Unfortunately, he was killed in combat on October 19, 1916 before he could receive his Victoria Cross.
Flamborough Flag and Coat of Arms
On April 15, 2011, the Chief Herald of Canada (exercising the Royal Prerogative) granted arms, as well as a flag, to The Waterdown-East Flamborough Heritage Society that would reflect the historical Town of Flamborough. It is intended that these arms are to be used by the residents of Flamborough (including Beverly) to honour their history and identity. The arms and flag were presented to the community on April 29, 2011, by the Right Reverend Bishop Ralph Spence, Albion Herald Extraoridinary, at the Carlisle Golf & Country Club.
The newsletter of The Waterdown East Flamborough Heritage Society explained in its April 2011 edition:
- Arms and flags have a long history in this country, and are important tools used to project identity. Often a community’s flag and coat of arms are residents’ only reminders of their area’s rich history. It was with this idea in mind that a grant of arms committee was struck by the WEFHS in 2009.
- Comprised of [sic] members from every corner of the historic Flamborough-Beverly region, the committee worked closely with the Canadian Heraldic Authority (and in particular Dr. Forrest Pass, the Herald assigned to the file) to create a symbol that reflected our unique corner of the world, including both its human and natural aspects. After their first gathering in the Dart Room of the Royal Coachman, meetings were held in Rockton, Greensville, Waterdown, Carlisle, Clappisons Corners, Strabane, and Clyde as various symbols were hotly debated. Historic township seals were consulted, as well as previous symbols of the Town of Flamborough. In creating a motto for the community, every school in the area (over 20) were consulted and students were asked to send in their suggestions.''
On May 10, 2011, the Flamborough flag was raised over Waterdown District High School in the presence of its student body, as well as a delegation from Allan A. Greenleaf Public School.
Symbolism found in the Coat of Arms and Flag
The most important part of any coat of arms is the shield. The other elements around the shield are optional, however, they need to follow very strict guidelines of heraldic design.
A white shield with a green pine tree between two blue wavy triangles, rising from the base with their points converging toward the top of the shield.
The top portion of the shield is green with a triangular notch in the middle, pointing upwards, charged with two gold crowns of maple leaves. This section recalls the dormer of an Ontario Cottage, a nineteenth-century vernacular architectural style common throughout Flamborough. A dormer also appears in the logo of the Waterdown-East Flamborough Heritage Society. The shape also recalls a plough moving through green turf, a reference agriculture and the early pioneers of this area. The coronets depict the human history of the area, as well as its connections with the British and Canadian Crowns. The pine tree appeared on a number of previous seals and arms of Flamborough's communities and represents the white pines that used to dominate the landscape. The four wavy lines represent the four major wateways (Grindstone, Bronte, Spencer and Fairchild Creeks) and waterfalls (Webster’s, Tews, Borers and the Great Falls) of the region. By their convergence, they also represent the amalgamation of the three townships with the village of Waterdown to create the Township (later Town) of Flamborough in 1974.
Crest (top of the coat of arms)
A representation of the "Cobblestone Bridge" at Webster's Falls - a major landmark in the Flamborough region.
"UNITED WE THRIVE" - developed by students from Greenville Public School and Rehoboth Christian School, as well as Kyle Menegaldo.
Supporters (animals on either side)
On the left side of the shield is a horse and on the right a great blue heron. Both are wearing a medallion around their necks, depicting a blue arrowhead. They stand on a platform representing the Niagara Escarpment, charged with three red trilliums rising from a bed of green violets. The horse symbolizes the early pioneers of the Flamborough area and the continuing importance and contribution of agriculture. It also illustrates the importance of the horse in development of the area and is also a reference to the iconic Rockton World’s Fair. The Great Blue Heron is a common sight in the area marshes and along the waterways of the community. In particular, the heron represents the Beverly Swamp.•The arrowheads recall the Aboriginal People of the 'Neutral' and 'Attawandaron' nation, who were the first known human inhabitants of the Flamborough-Beverly area. The eastern green violet represents the Beverly Swamp, which is home to a provincially significant concentration of the rare flower. The trillium is the provincial flower of Ontario and the red variety is found in abundance in the Flamborough area. The number of trilliums represent the three areas (Dundas, Aldershot & Clyde) that have been annexed from Flamborough by surrounding municipalities (except Dundas which became independent).
A reinterpretation of the arms, focussed at the centre to recall the motto. Purposely divided into four parts, the flag represents the waterways, waterfalls and original townships of this region. The colours of the flag, as with the arms, are the ones used by Flamborough when it was its own municipality (1974–2001).
In 1974, the Hamilton-Wentworth Region was created with six constituent municipalities. Flamborough Township was created as one of these by amalgamating the townships of East Flamborough, West Flamborough, Beverly with the Village of Waterdown. At the same time, a small portion of Beverly Township near the community of Clyde was ceded to North Dumfries Township in Waterloo Region and a more populous but smaller portion of East Flamborough near the community of Aldershot was ceded to Burlington in Halton Region. Flamborough became a town in 1985.
Although the existence of the Hamilton-Wentworth regional government was supposed to preserve the rural and semi-urban character of Flamborough from encroachment by its larger urban neighbour, the reprieve did not last long as several country libraries were forced to close. In 2001, the provincial government disbanded Hamilton-Wentworth and its constituent municipalities and replaced them with a new single tier municipality called the City of Hamilton after its largest member.
The amalgamation was bitterly and unsuccessfully protested by some Flamborough residents and those of adjacent communities, particularly since the incumbent Progressive Conservative MPP, Toni Skarica's government had promised in the previous election that the amalgamation would not occur. Skarica resigned in protest, but the amalgamation was not rescinded.
The population of Flamborough at the 2001 census was 37,796. By the 2006 census, its population had increased to 39,220.
Geography and natural attractions
Much of Flamborough is located on top of the Niagara Escarpment; thus the Bruce Trail passes through the area. Although relatively flat in the south, a slow but steady incline is observable until reaching the Wellington County line which is the approximate height of land dividing two watersheds. The Beverly Swamp, located in the western part of the former Beverly Township, is another important physiographic area.
Notable natural attractions operated by the Hamilton Conservation Authority include:
- Westfield Heritage Centre, a living history museum containing pioneer era buildings moved from other locations across Ontario
- Valens Conservation Area, offering camping and boating at its reservoir
- Christie Lake, swimming and stocked fishing at its reservoir
- Spencer Gorge and Webster's Falls Conservation Area, spectacular view of the falls and city below while hiking on the Bruce Trail.
Economy and commercial attractions
After early European settlers had cleared the land of pine and oak forests, they began subsistence and then export farming. Disregarding the swamp and the excessively rocky areas of the Mountsberg area, the land is devoted chiefly to agriculture. Much of the arable land is devoted to raising corn, strawberries and cash crops.
In recent decades, Flamborough has become home to commuters and hobby farmers in the Golden Horseshoe. It has easy access to secondary highways, especially with the opening of an interchange with Highway 403 at Waterdown Road, granting easier access for traffic to/from Toronto.
Notable attractions operated as commercial enterprises include:
- Cornish, Dianne. "Flamborough’s coat of arms unveiled". Flamborough Review. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
- Tidridge, Nathan. "Mr.". The Waterdown East Flamborough Heritage Society. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
- Tidridge, Nathan. "Mr. Tidridge's Website". WDHS. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
- Tidridge, Nathan. "Teacher of History". Weebly.com. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
- Valens Conservation Area
- Christie Lake
- Rockton World's Fair
- Flamborough Information and Community Services
- Scouts Canada - 1st Carlisle Group
- 3rd Waterdown Scouting
- Dufferin Masonic Lodge No. 291 A.F. & A.M.
- Waterdown Ontario Online - Waterdown & Flamborough Community Website