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Burford was founded in 1816 by a group of United Empire Loyalists. It is the oldest community in Brant County and has been named an Ontario Heritage Town. The town's name comes from its location on the Burford Trail, which was originally used by First Nations people to travel between Lake Erie and Georgian Bay via what is now known as Port Dover, Ontario. The first European settlers arrived around 1815-1820 after being granted land through Crown Land Grants for their service during the War of 1812 against Great Britain (1812–14). These early settlers were primarily English speaking with some Scots who had fought alongside them during that war or came later when they heard about this new settlement area opening up along what would become Highway 53 (formerly Provincial Highway 2) just west of present day Paris, Ontario at that time called "The Third Concession".