This city in southwestern Ontario is best known as the place where the telephone was invented, but it was named after a famous Mohawk chief, Joseph Brant. The city of Brantford is small, but it has a lot of history and culture.
For a small city, there is a lot to see and do, which brings people from nearby and farther away. There are museums, historic sites, parks, markets, and great events that happen every year, so everyone can enjoy this city. Here are the 14 best things to do in Brantford if you ever visit or want to get away from the bigger city of Hamilton.
1. Find out where the phone was made.
Alexander Graham Bell lived in the house that is now the Bell Homestead National Historic Site. It was in this house that he worked on the phone. Today, the house is one of the best things to see and do in Brantford.
Walk around the four-hectare property and through the museum that Melville House is now. The big wooden farmhouse with 10 rooms and two stories opened to the public in October 1910.
The business office of Canada’s first telephone company used to be in Henderson House, which is also on the property. It is now a museum about telephones, with displays of early phone technology from the 1880s.
2. Attend church.
And not just any church; it was the first Anglican church in Upper Canada. Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks is also the oldest church in all of Ontario that is still standing.
The Mohawk people asked the British Crown to build the Carpenter Gothic church for them in 1785. The chapel is now a Chapel Royal and a national historic site.
The church is open to the public from May to October. After that, it is closed for the rest of the year. Still, it is open all year for religious events like weddings, Christian baptisms, and other religious services.
3. Look at both indoor and outdoor art
Brantford is an artistic city with a great little gallery and many public works of art. Look at some great art made by local artists as you walk around.
The city’s main art gallery is the Glenhyrst Art Gallery, which is in a beautiful park on the Grand River. There are 600 pieces of art in the gallery’s collection. Some of them are new, while others are old.
The Robinson Fine Arts Gallery is another great place to see art in Brantford. All of the beautiful art on display in this private gallery is for sale.
4. Don’t get too hot
If you happen to be in Brantford during the summer, the Earl Haig Family Fun Park is a great place to cool off by getting wet. The city runs this fun water park, which is great for people of all ages.
The park has a lazy river that is 182 meters long, a water slide that is 18 meters high, a splash pad, and an 18-hole mini putt course. There are also places to picnic and play baseball, as well as a leisure pool.
As an outdoor attraction, the Earl Haig Family Fun Park is only open in the summer. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to have fun in Brantford in the winter.
5. Go for a skate
Since Wayne Gretzky is from Brantford, it goes without saying that it’s a great place to go ice skating. In fact, visitors can do just that at a huge sports arena called “The Great One.”
There is more to the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre than just an ice rink and a hockey arena. It also has a weight room, a swimming pool, and an indoor track.
You could spend the whole day here skating, working out, and swimming. Even if you have kids with you, that’s not a problem. The center has day camps and child care.
6. Spend the night outside
The Brant Park Conservation Area is in a bend of the Grand River. It is the best place in the city to sleep outside under the stars. In fact, it has more than 400 camping spots, and 126 of them have hookups.
The conservation area is a great place for people who love being outside and in touch with nature because they can canoe, fish, and swim there. Along the river, there is also a trail that is great for walking and biking.
Even if you don’t want to rough it, you can still spend a day here enjoying the many outdoor activities. You can even pack a picnic or cook burgers on a grill.
7. Make a wager
At a casino, since Brantford has a big one called the Elements Casino Brantford. The profits from this casino go to the Trillium Foundation, which gives the money to charities.
Bet at the craps table, roulette table, blackjack table, baccarat table, or three card poker table, among other places. There are also slot machines and a poker room where bigger bets are made.
Elements Casino Brantford also has live local entertainment and an excellent restaurant. Even a bar that stays open until 2am is here.
8. Spend time with animals
This takes place at the 10-hectare Brantford Twin Valley Zoo, which is just east of the city. Visitors can get close to both local and exotic animals at the zoo.
At the zoo, there are peacocks, foxes, wolves, bears, and deer, as well as flamingos, zebras, kangaroos, lions, and tigers. Some of the animals are adults, while others are still young.
This zoo is a great place to see animals up close, and it’s especially great for kids. They can learn all about the animals that live here, and some of them might even let them pet them.
9. Visit a theater
Sanderson Center for the Performing Arts
The Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts is in the middle of town. Local artists, such as the Brantford Symphony Orchestra, put on plays and concerts there.
In 1919, when it first opened, the theater showed vaudeville acts and silent movies. It later turned into a movie theater, but in 1986, the city bought it and turned it into a performing arts center.
There are shows for people of all ages and shows that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. The Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts is a great place to spend a night out if you are in Brantford.
10. Eat and drink well
Yes, believe it or not, this small city has a lot of places to eat, from fancy restaurants to pub food. Even though there isn’t much international food, there are still a lot of choices.
For something special, go to The Olde School Restaurant for escargots, filet mignon, rack of lamb, or Alaskan king crab legs, or take a dinner cruise along the Grand River. There’s also The Keg, Cafe Andreou, and Trattoria Giuliana.
Try the Sociable Kitchen + Tavern, Starving Artist Gallery Café, or Warmington’s Bistro for something more casual. Don’t forget to stop at Tim Hortons for a coffee and a donut.