Beasley's wharf and warehouse

The earliest map of Burlington Heights which shows Richard Beasley’s first house on the bay-shore dates to 1793. A second map showing the route of the Lieutenant Governor from Niagara to Detroit also dated to 1793, shows the house on the shore as well as fenced fields on top of the Heights. Given that Beasley did not acquire full title to these lands until 1799, he was essentially squatting on land that did not officially belong to him. In 1796 Beasley was visited by Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe and his wife Lady Elizabeth Simcoe. Her diary contains an image of Beasley’s house and wharf which she describes as a very pretty object. She is full of admiration for the neat and well tended house and wharf situated on an otherwise wild bay-shore. According to an advertisement in the Niagara newspaper, the Canadian Constellation, June 21st,1800, Beasley’s house and wharf on the bay-shore were described as,

…A valuable and pleasant property at Burlington Bay… There are on the premises a comfortable dwelling house and stables; also a wharf, 100’ long and 52 wide; a storehouse 30’ x 20’… 

In justifying the continued use of the military depot on Burlington Heights, the commanding officer of the Royal Engineers in Canada Lieutenant Ralph Henry Bruyeres claimed that one of the strengths of the Heights was its protected location separate from the Lake Ontario but with access to Burlington Bay. This meant that vital supplies could be securely moved in large quantities to the Heights by water while avoiding the use of roads which were often in terrible condition. The major drawback was that ships could not enter Burlington Bay easily given the shallowness of the beach strip inlet. Stores transported by ship had to be unloaded and transferred to smaller craft for the final 5 mile journey to the wharf.