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Not to be confused with Brentford, England.
Brantford city hall.jpg
Official logo of Brantford
Nickname(s): The Telephone City
Brantford is located in Ontario
Coordinates: 43°10′N 80°15′W / 43.167°N 80.250°W / 43.167; -80.250Coordinates: 43°10′N 80°15′W / 43.167°N 80.250°W / 43.167; -80.250
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
County Brant (independent)
Established May 31, 1877
 • Mayor Chris Friel
 • Governing Body Brantford City Council
 • MP Phil McColeman (Conservative)
 • MPP Dave Levac (Liberal)
Area[1][1] [2][2]
 • Land 72.47 km2 (27.98 sq mi)
 • Metro 1,073.11 km2 (414.33 sq mi)
Elevation 248 m (814 ft)
Population (2011)[1][2]
 • City 93,650 (54th)
 • Density 1,292.3/km2 (3,347/sq mi)
 • Metro 135,501 (30th)
 • Metro density 126.3/km2 (327/sq mi)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code span N3P, N3R, N3S, N3T, N3V
Area code(s) 519/226

Brantford is a city in southwestern Ontario, Canada. It is connected to Woodstock in the west and Hamilton in the east by Highway 403 and to Cambridge to the north and Simcoe to the south by Highway 24. It is the seat of Brant County, but is politically separate from the county.

Brantford is sometimes known as the "Telephone City", as a former city resident, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone at his father's home, the Bell Homestead, and conducted the first long distance telephone call from Brantford to Paris, Ontario in 1876.

Brantford is also the birthplace of hockey player Wayne Gretzky, comedian Phil Hartman, as well as Group of Seven member Lawren Harris. Brantford is named after Joseph Brant, a Mohawk leader. Many of his descendants live on the neighbouring reserve of Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation.


Brant County Courthouse in Brantford

The Attawandaron, or Neutral Nation, lived in the Grand River valley area before the 17th century; their main village and seat of the chief, Kandoucho, was identified by 19th-century historians as having been located on the Grand River where Brantford lies today. This town, like the rest of their settlements, was destroyed when the Iroquois declared war in 1650 and exterminated the Neutral nation.[3]

In 1784, Captain Joseph Brant and the Six Nations Indians left New York State for Canada. As a reward for their loyalty to the British Crown, they were given a large land grant, referred to as the Haldimand Tract, on the Grand River. The original Mohawk settlement was on the south edge of the present-day city at a location favourable for landing canoes. Brant's crossing of the river gave the original name to the area: Brant's ford. By 1847, European settlers began to settle further up the river at a ford in the Grand River and named the village Brantford. The Mohawk Chapel, part of the original Mohawk settlement, is Ontario's oldest Protestant church. Brantford was incorporated as a city in 1877.

The history of the Brantford region from 1793 to 1920 is described at length in the book At The Forks of The Grand.

Numerous works address the stories of former residents of Native American boarding schools in Western New York and Canada, such as Thomas Indian School, Mohawk Institute Residential School (also known as Mohawk Manual Labour School and Mush Hole Indian Residential School) in Brantford, Southern Ontario, Haudenosaunee boarding school, and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; the impact of those and similar schools on their communities; and community efforts to overcome those impacts. Examples include: the film Unseen Tears: A Documentary on Boarding School Survivors,[4] Ronald James Douglas' graduate thesis titled Documenting ethnic cleansing in North America: Creating Unseen Tears,[5] and the Legacy of Hope Foundation's online media collection: "Where are the Children? Healing the Legacy of the Residential Schools".[6]

Historic sites[edit]

Brantford's history traces its roots to the 18th century with the arrival of the Six Nations tribes from New York State, and the later arrival of Colonialists and European immigrants. A number of historic monuments have been erected within the city marking those events and Brantford's contributions to the Commonwealth's defense of the realm.

Additionally, Alexander Graham Bell's family's first home in North America was a farmhouse on Tutela Heights (named after the First Nations tribe which settled the area,[7] and later absorbed into Brantford) where Bell invented the telephone in July, 1874—although he built his first working model in Boston—and then developed early improvements to it in 1876. As part of the invention and development of the telephone, along with Canada's first telephone factory, the city earned the style of "Brantford, The Telephone City". Associated with those events in the present day are the Bell family's museum home on Tutela Heights Road, Melville House, now called the Bell Homestead National Historic Site, and the Bell Telephone Memorial (below), dedicated by the Governor General of Canada in 1917 to mark the invention of the telephone in Brantford.

A majestic, broad monument with figures mounted on pedestals to its left and right sides. Along the main portion of the monument are five figures mounted on a broad casting, including a man reclining, plus four floating female figures representing Inspiration, Knowledge, Joy, and Sorrow.
The Bell Telephone Memorial, commemorating the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell. The monument, paid by public subscription and sculpted by W.S. Allward, was dedicated by the Governor General of Canada, Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire with Dr. Bell in The Telephone City's Alexander Graham Bell Gardens in 1917. Included on the main tableau are figures representing "Man, the Inventor," "Inspiration whispering to Man, his power to transmit sound through space," as well as "Knowledge, Joy, Sorrow." Courtesy: Brantford Heritage Inventory

Brantford generated controversy in 2010 when its city council took the controversial step of expropriating and demolishing 41 historic downtown buildings on the south side of its main street, Colborne Street. These buildings constituted one of the longest blocks of pre-Confederation architecture in Canada. Included in the list of demolitions were one of Ontario's first grocery stores and an early 1890s office of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada, now Bell Canada. This decision was highly controversial and was widely criticized by Ontario's heritage preservation community.[8][9]


Brantford's early history included the invention of the electric telephone which led to Canada's first telephone factory within the city in the 19th century. Brantford was also an important Canadian industrial centre for the first half of the 20th century, and was once the third busiest Canadian city in terms of cash-value of manufactured goods exported.

The city is at the deepest navigable point of the Grand River, and was once a railroad hub of Southern Ontario. The combination of water and rail helped Brantford develop from a farming community into a blue collar industrial city based on the agriculture implement industry centred around companies such as Massey-Harris, Verity Plow and the Cockshutt Plow Company. This industry, more than any other, provided the well-paying and steady employment that allowed Brantford to sustain economic growth through most of the 20th century.

By the 1980s and 1990s, the economy of Brantford was in steady decline as a result of the bankruptcies of White Farm Equipment, Massey-Ferguson (and its successor, Massey Combines Corporation), Koering-Waterous, Harding Carpets, and other manufacturers. The bankruptcies and closures of the businesses left thousands of people unemployed and created one of the most economically depressed areas in the country. With a recent influx of new companies moving to the area, the unemployment rate of 7.4% stands below the national rate.[10]

The completion of the Brantford to Ancaster section of Highway 403 in 1997, was intended to provide an increased incentive for business to locate in Brantford because of easy access to Hamilton and Toronto, as well as being along the quickest route through southern Ontario between Detroit and Buffalo. In 2004 Procter & Gamble and Ferrero SpA chose to locate in the city. Though Wescast Industries, Inc. recently closed their local foundry, their corporate headquarters will remain in Brantford. SC Johnson Canada has their headquarters and a manufacturing plant in Brantford, connected to the Canadian National network. On February 16, 2005, Brant, including Brantford, was added to the Greater Golden Horseshoe along with Haldimand and Northumberland counties.



Brantford's 2011 population was 93,650 people according to the 2011 census.[12]

Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1841 2,000 —    
1871 8,107 +305.3%
1881 9,616 +18.6%
1891 12,753 +32.6%
1901 16,619 +30.3%
1911 23,132 +39.2%
1921 29,440 +27.3%
1931 30,107 +2.3%
1941 31,622 +5.0%
1951 36,727 +16.1%
1961 55,201 +50.3%
1971 64,421 +16.7%
1981 74,315 +15.4%
1991 81,997 +10.3%
1996 84,764 +3.4%
2001 86,417 +2.0%
2006 90,192 +4.4%
2011 93,650 +3.8%
Visible minority and Aboriginal population (Canada 2011 Census)
Population group Population  % of total population
White 81,035 88.1%
Visible minority group
South Asian 1,640 1.8%
Chinese 710 0.8%
Black 1,550 1.7%
Filipino 450 0.5%
Latin American 365 0.4%
Arab 575 0.6%
Southeast Asian 740 0.8%
West Asian 80 0.1%
Korean 285 0.3%
Japanese 95 0.1%
Visible minority, n.i.e. 100 0.1%
Multiple visible minority 255 0.3%
Total visible minority population 6,850 7.4%
Aboriginal group
First Nations 3,565 3.9%
Métis 355 0.4%
Inuit 0 0%
Aboriginal, n.i.e. 95 0.1%
Multiple Aboriginal identity 55 0.1%
Total Aboriginal population 4,090 4.4%
Total population in private households 91,975 100%


Brantford's cultural resources include an array of performing, literary, and visual arts organizations, multicultural groups, libraries, a large performance venue, galleries and museums, and an extensive number of independent artists and craftspeople.[16] Brantford's Municipal Cultural Plan is to be updated in 2014.[17]

Local museums include the Bell Homestead, Brant Museum and Archives,[18] Canadian Military Heritage Museum[19] and the Personal Computer Museum.

Film and Television[edit]

Brantford has frequently been used as a location in the long-running Murdoch Mysteries [20] television series. The series has used the “Carnegie Building”, now part of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus, as the courthouse.[21] The interior of the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts has also been featured in the series.[21][22] In addition, Victoria Park and many of the older homes along Dalhousie and George streets have provided shot locations.[22]


Statistics from the Federal 2006 Census indicated that 72% of Brantford's adult residents had earned either a certificate, diploma, or university degree.[25]

Universities and colleges[edit]

Brantford campus of Nipissing University

Several post-secondary institutions have facilities in Brantford.

  • Laurier Brantford, a campus of Wilfrid Laurier University, offers a variety of programs at their downtown campus.[26] The 2013-14 enrollment is 2,800 full-time students.
    • The Faculty of Liberal Arts includes Contemporary Studies, Journalism, History, English, Youth and Children’s Studies, Human Rights and Human Diversity, Languages at Brantford and Law and Society programs. The Faculty of Human and Social Sciences includes Criminology, Health Studies, Psychology and Leadership.
    • The Faculty of Social Work includes the Bachelor of Social Work.
    • The Faculty of Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies includes Social Justice and Community Engagement (MA) and Criminology (MA)
    • The School of Business and Economics includes Business Technology Management.
  • Nipissing University, in partnership with Laurier Brantford, offers the Concurrent Education program in Brantford. In five years, students achieve an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Society, Culture & Environment from Laurier Brantford, and a Bachelor of Education from Nipissing University.[27] During the 2013-14 academic year there were 70 full-time and 100 part-time students in the program.
  • Conestoga College offer academic programming in Brantford’s downtown core in partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University and its Laurier Brantford campus. Conestoga College offer diplomas in Business and Health Office Administration, a graduate certificate in Human Resources Management and a certificate in Medical Office Practice in Brantford.[28] This program has 120 full-time students in the 2013-14 academic year.
  • Mohawk College has a satellite campus offering programs however, the college will cease operations in Brantford at the end of the 2013-14 academic year.[29]

Secondary schools[edit]

Public education in the area is managed by the Grand Erie District School Board, and Catholic education is managed by the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board.


Political organization[edit]

Brantford is located within the County of Brant however, it is a single-tier municipality, politically separate from the County. Ontario's Municipal Act, 2001 defines single-municipality as "a municipality, other than an upper-tier municipality, that does not form part of an upper-tier municipality for municipal purposes".[30] Single-tier municipalities provide for all local government services.[31]

At the federal and provincial levels of government, Brantford is part of the Brant riding.

The current Brantford City Council was elected in the 2010 municipal election and is headed by Mayor Chris Friel, who also previously served as mayor from 1994 to 2003. The council, in addition to Friel, includes Larry Kings and Jan Vander Stelt (Ward 1), Vince Bucci and John Utley (Ward 2), Debi Dignan-Rumble and Dan McCreary (Ward 3), Richard Carpenter and Dave Wrobel (Ward 4), and David Neumann and Marguerite Ceschi-Smith (Ward 5).[32]



The Brantford Expositor, started in 1852, is published six days per week (excluding Sundays) by Sun Media Corp.

The Brant News is a weekly paper (delivered Thursday) that also carries breaking news online at their website,[33] published by Metroland Media Group.

The Two Row Times a Free weekly paper, started in 2013, is published on Wednesdays, delivered to every reservation in Ontario and globally online at their website,[34] published by Garlow Media.



Brantford's only local television service comes from Rogers TV (cable 20), a local community channel on Rogers Cable. Otherwise, Brantford is served by stations from Toronto, Hamilton and Kitchener.


Highway 403 connects Brantford with London and Hamilton. Seen here is the 403 eastbound near the Grand River bridge.


Brantford Municipal Airport is located west of the city. It hosts an annual air show, featuring the Snowbirds. The John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport in Hamilton is located about 35 km east of Brantford. Toronto Pearson International Airport is located in Mississauga, about 100 km northeast of Brantford.


The train station is located just north of downtown Brantford. Via Rail has daily passenger trains on the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. Trains travel between Windsor and Union Station in Toronto. Street rail began in Brantford in 1886 with horse-drawn carriages which by 1893 had been converted to electric. The City of Brantford took over these operations in 1914. Around 1936 buses began to replace street cars and by the end of 1939 the change over was complete. [35]


  • Brantford Transit services the city with nine regular routes operating on a half-hour schedule from the downtown Transit Terminal on Darling Street, with additional school service.
  • Greyhound Canada has intercity service to Toronto, Hamilton, London, Windsor and other cities.
  • All Around Transportation operates a Paris–Brantford shuttle bus.

Provincial highways[edit]

Entertainment and attractions[edit]

The Armoury

Brantford is home to the Brantford OLG Casino.

Things to see and do[edit]

  • There are lots of parks and trails in Brantford[36]
    • Brantford's parks are known for their beautiful gardens
    • Trails from the Hamilton, Simcoe and Cambridge areas all join up in Brantford so it is called the "Hub of Ontario Trails"
    • Brantford has almost 70 kilometres of trails that can be used for walking or biking
  • Harmony Square has lots of events all year 'round[37]
    • Outdoor skating in the winter with family movies at the nearby Brantford Public Library
    • Festivals and shows
    • Summertime splash pad
    • Movies and music on summer evenings
    • Outdoor exercise sessions with yoga and Zumba
  • Brantford Public Library has more than books - it has programs for all ages[38]
    • Membership is free for all Brantford residents
    • Free music downloads for members
    • Free reading and craft programs for kids
    • Computers to use at the library
    • A 3D printer
  • Brantford has a Casino Brantford OLG Casino
  • The Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts has live shows that include music, comedy and plays.[39]
  • There are many clubs and bars that have live bands and DJs
  • The Kinsmen Club of Brantford offers a weekly Bingo game which runs every Thursday evening at the Bellview Community Center in Eagle Place

Festivals and Events[edit]

  • Frosty Fest has become an annual tradition in Brantford. The winter festival is held at Harmony Square on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the Family Day weekend. Frosty Fest was started in 2010 by Freedom House, "a worship driven church".[40] Some of the family-friendly activities include: ice carving, horse-drawn trolley rides, figure skating shows, a street midway, free skating, pony rides, and snow taffy.
  • The Chili Willy Cook-Off started in 2008. It is held each February at Harmony Square. Local restaurants and caterers compete to win the People's Choice Award for the best chili. Other activities at the day-long event include free skating and live music.
  • Brantford hosts the region's largest Canada Day Festival each July 1. A grassroots, not-for-profit, organization was formed in the fall of 2004 after a call from the Mayor to re-establish the event when nobody was able to organize one in 2004. Since then Brantford's Canada Day Festival[41] has presented family events and Canadian Juno Award winning entertainment. A 2006 and 2009 Shining Stars Tourism Awards[42] winner and with a budget of nearly $250,000, this one day festival draws an estimated crowd of 35,000 or more people.
  • Brantford International Villages Festival is one of the City of Brantford’s main events that draws visitors from outside the municipality while encouraging citizens of Brantford and Area to participate in this unique cultural offering that instills excitement, awareness, education and civic pride. Based on community partnerships, the Villages Festival helps to promote and preserve the cultural heritage of national and ethnic groups.
  • The Kinsmen Club of Brantford runs the Annual Ribfest. Held in August, the festival has featured the musical artists Green River Revival (a tribute band to Creedence Clearwater Revival) and Practically Hip (tribute band of Tragically Hip).

Brantford Public Library[edit]

The main entrance to the Brantford Public Library

Brantford Public Library's central branch, located downtown on Colborne Street, offers lending services to the city's residents, free work space, and historical archives. It has an additional branch on St. Paul Avenue.[43] It has been automated since 1984.[44]

The library traces its roots to the Mechanics Institute, founded by Dr. Charles Duncombe with 100 donated books in 1835, and merged with the Zion Church Literary Society in 1866. A fire in 1870 destroyed most of the collection, but it was later relocated to the Brantford YMCA building and had a collection of 10,300 books by 1877. In 1884, after new legislation from the Ontario government, it changed its name to the Brantford Free Library, and in 1904 it moved into a new building on George Street. Following significant expansions throughout the 20th century, the library moved into a former Woolco store on Colborne Street—its present location—in 1992, changing its name to Brantford Public Library.

In 2000, the library was the first in North America to join the UNESCO model library network, and in 2002 it began a partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University. From April to October 2007, the library underwent major renovations, including the opening of a "community information commons," a space for anyone to work/study with public computers, a rear-facing entrance and a local history room.[44]

Sports teams and tournaments[edit]

Current intercounty or major teams[edit]

Defunct teams[edit]


  • The Wayne Gretzky International Hockey Tournament[45] is held in Brantford annually
  • The Walter Gretzky House League Tournament is a tournament that is held yearly
  • Swim International is held annually in November
  • The Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament - Guinness World Record holder largest street hockey tournament. The street hockey tournament consisted of 205 teams totaling 2,096 players in the 2010 Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, from 4 to 6 June 2010. Walter Gretzky is the father of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky and still calls their hometown of Brantford home. Among participants in the tournament was film director/actor Kevin Smith, who fielded a team and played as goalie.
  • The Four Season Sports Roller Hockey Tournament, is a tournament that is held yearly.


  • Brantford hosted and won the 2008 Allan Cup, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the event.[46]
  • The Brantford Golf & Country Club was founded in 1879. It is the fourth oldest golf club in North America. It is ranked 29th on Score Golf's "Top 100 Golf Courses in Canada" 2006 list.
  • The city served as the pre-season camp and facility for the Pittsburgh Penguins during the late 1960s, hosting the franchise's first preseason training camp and its first preseason exhibition game.[47]


Service clubs[edit]


Brantford is home to a number of churches and religious temples of various faiths, including a mosque and a Sikh temple. Its estimated there are over 35 churches in the city, including Anglican, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic, Pentecostal, Salvation Army, Presbyterian, United, Christadelphian, and Mormon. Brantford is also home to the national headquarters of the Congregational Christian Churches in Canada.[48]

Municipal twinning[edit]

Brantford is twinned with:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Brantford, City Ontario (Census Subdivision)". Census Profile, Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-24. 
  2. ^ a b c "Brantford Ontario (Census metropolitan area)". Census Profile, Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-24. 
  3. ^ Reville, F. Douglas. "The History of the County of Brant", Brantford: Hurley Printing Company, vol. 1, pp. 15–20, 1920.
  4. ^ ICTMN Staff (December 2, 2010). "Unseen Tears: A Documentary on Boarding School Survivors". Indian Country Today Media Network. 
  5. ^ Douglas, Ronald James, M.F.A., State University of New York at Buffalo (2010). "Documenting ethnic cleansing in North America: Creating unseen tears (AAT 1482210)". 
  6. ^ Legacy of Hope Foundation. "Healing the Legacy of the Residential Schools". Where are the Children?. 
  7. ^ Patten, William; Bell, Alexander Melville. Pioneering The Telephone In Canada, Montreal: Herald Press, 1926, pg.7. (Note: Patten's full name as published is William Patten, not Gulielmus Patten as stated at Google Books).
  8. ^ Blaze Carlson, Katherine (June 8, 2010). "Ontario city to demolish historic street, despite Ottawa's objection". National Post. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Wilkes, Jim (June 8, 2010). "Demolition of historic buildings begins in Brantford". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  10. ^ Brantford Expositor article
  11. ^ "Brantford MOE". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Brantford (City) community profile". 20011 Census data. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2013-02-21. 
  13. ^ [1], 1996 Census of Canada: Electronic Area Profiles
  14. ^ [2], Community Profiles from the 2011 Census, Statistics Canada - National Household Survey Profile: Visible Minority Population
  15. ^ [3], Aboriginal Population Profile from the 2011 Census, Statistics Canada - National Household Survey Profile: Aboriginal Population
  16. ^ "Brantford Arts & Culture". Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Municipal Cultural Plan Update". City of Brantford Official Website. City of Brantford. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Murdoch Mysteries
  21. ^ a b Ruby, Michelle (August 28, 2012). "Murdoch Mysteries filming in Brantford". The Expositor. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  22. ^ a b Ruby, Michelle (October 1, 2013). "No mystery Murdoch is popular". The Expositor. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  23. ^ A Walk On The South Side, Brantford Expositor, June 10, 2010
  24. ^ Brantford, Ontario, Canada
  25. ^ "Brantford (City) community profile". 2006 Census data. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 
  26. ^ [4]
  27. ^ [5]
  28. ^ [6]
  29. ^ [7]
  30. ^ [8]
  31. ^ [9]
  32. ^ Brantford Council Members, City of Brantford website.
  33. ^ BrantNews
  34. ^ Two Row Times website
  35. ^ Brantford, Ontario Principal System, Canadian Street Railways. 31-Mar-2011.
  36. ^ [10]
  37. ^ [11]
  38. ^ [12]
  39. ^ [13]
  40. ^ [14]
  41. ^ Canada Day Celebration, website.
  42. ^ Shining Stars Awards, website.
  43. ^ "Contact us". Brantford Public Library. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  44. ^ a b Kirk, Denise (2000). "History of the Brantford Public Library". Brantford Public Library. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  45. ^ Brantford Minor Hockey Association - Wayne Gretzky Tournament
  46. ^ Allen Cup
  47. ^ "Pittsburgh Penguins Start With Many Goalies On Team". Observer-Reporter. 13 September 1967. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  48. ^ Congregational Christian Churches in Canada, website
  49. ^ Ball, Vincent (30 May 2009). "City gets a twin". Brantford Expositor. Retrieved 2012-02-24. 

External links[edit]