Surveyors marked township in 1793

When the decision to award the French émigrés a township was made in 1793, only a small portion of the proposed area had been surveyed; four concessions and an indented shoreline or Broken Front along the north side of present-day Burlington Bay had been completed. At the time this western end of Lake Ontario bore the name, Lake Geneva, so when a name for the partially completed township was selected, it was called Geneva Township.

Geneva was to be the final township planned by Simcoe to receive the loyalists that had been housed at Niagara. Its western boundary line ran northwards at an angle of 45 degrees from a point on the waterfront known as Indian Point. It was also the western boundary of land belonging to the British Crown – land, west of the line as far as the Humber River was still in the ownership of the Mississauga Nation. Even today this line still serves as a boundary between the City of Hamilton and the Regional Municipality of Halton.

Surveying of land beyond the initial concessions was not completed until late in 1793. During the year, another ten concessions were surveyed, bringing the total to fifteen. The name Flamborough was selected by Lt. Governor Simcoe, and like many of the other township names, such as Ancaster, Barton, Beverly and Glanford, it reflected his northern England heritage.

The original Geneva Township concessions had been initially divided into seven very large lots, but as surveying neared completion, they were reduced to a more manageable size, a frontage measurement of 23 chains and a depth of 87 chains, making a total area of 200 acres. An extra chain width was left between lots seven and eight to allow for a road through the township – today this road allowance still exists north of Waterdown and is known as Centre Road.

Between 1793 and 1798, a series of provincial boundary and name changes occurred, instituted to allow for the election of representatives to the Legislative Assembly and to improve government. These changes resulted in Flamborough being divided into two separate townships, triangular-shaped West Flamborough and rectangular-shaped East Flamborough, changes that were officially passed into law by the British government on January 1, 1800.

Once the surveyors had registered the township plan, the Land Board at Newark began accepting applications for property in East Flamborough. Once an application was accepted, the British government granted the applicant a piece of paper or ticket and assured them of freehold ownership by giving them a Patent, hence their name as Crown Patentee. They, in return, accepted the requirements of settlement – erecting a shelter on their property, clearing a required acreage and keeping the road allowance of their property open for travel.

Sylvia Wray is the former archivist with the Flamborough Archives. She can be reached through the Archives at

This article was originally published in the Flamborough Review, 17 August 2007.


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