Is a condo destined to replace a Burlington landmark?


Published August 1, 2023 at 7:55 pm

Burlington will do whatever it takes to save one of the city’s most recognized historical landmarks.

That’s the position of Mayor Marianne Meed Ward who says the City will likely have to slap a heritage designation on the Zimmerman House which has been operating as the Queen’s Head Pub for 20 years.

Since it was revealed the pub will be closing in September, many Burlington residents have speculated the building will soon see the wrecker’s ball to make way for another tower at what is considered an attractive location for developers at the corner of Brant and Elgin Sts.

“It won’t be long before Burlington allows more of its history to be erased by tearing it down and putting up another 17-story building,” wrote one commentator on the Facebook page.

Several others chimed in saying the building lends 0ld-time character to an ever-changing high-density landscape and should be saved.

Still, others believe the pressure to increase the housing stock — especially from Queen’s Park — is too strong to ignore and that the fate of the 163-year-old structure is sealed.

“Everybody knows that the pub is in the way, that developers would just love to get their hands on it and build as high as they can,” said another social media user. “But let’s face it, you can’t stop progress even though we would wish otherwise.”

Following the news of its closure, the operator of the Queen’s Head has since indicated it is being forced out of the location by the owners of the building who haven’t renewed the lease.

Attempts to reach the owners of record, Sherwood Holdings Inc., to find out their plans for the building have been unsuccessful and it has since been suggested that a new tenant will move into the space now occupied by the Queen’s Head.

Right now the building is on Burlington’s heritage registry but City council would have to officially give it a heritage designation to further protect it.

“What that means is if there is an application to redevelop and they are wanting to, let’s say demolish it, we would have 60 days…to assess whether it has heritage value and then put a heritage designation which does protect it from demolition,” the mayor told Khaled Iwamura of

She said council could also preemptively give the building a heritage designation before owners reveal their plans.

“I want to save this building as much as other folks,” she said. “I’m hoping that someone will reopen it as a pub. I really hope it stays that way.”

Opened in 1860 for use as a hotel called the Zimmerman House, the building later became known as the Queen’s Hotel and then the Sherwood Hotel before the pub took over. The building is considered a landmark in Burlington and the Queen’s Head has been used as a meeting place for friends and family for years and is a favourite of those who enjoy the British pub experience. Pet friendly, people often bring their dogs with them to sit on the patio.

While a heritage designation does give a building a high degree of protection, an owner can appeal that status to the Ontario Land Tribunal which has the ability to overrule such decisions made at the municipal government level.