Perhaps best known as the hometown of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, Brantford has proudly owned its connection to one of Canada’s finest. But Brantford’s tie with The Great One is only the tip of the ice when it comes to bragging rights. The city is also the birthplace of invention, home to plenty of impressive museums and the humble backdrop of many movies and television series — and if all that isn’t impressive enough, MoneySense magazine named it the top place to buy real estate in 2019, thanks to its strong economy and home affordability.
Read on to discover five things you may not have known about Brantford, Ontario, that make it a great place to live.
It’s the Tournament Capital of Ontario
Brantford’s love of sports is no secret, and in 1988 it was officially declared the Tournament Capital of Ontario. Hundreds of local, regional and provincial tournaments are hosted each year in the city, including fan-favourite fundraiser Hockey Night in Brantford, which brings together hockey players of all levels to raise money for a worthy local cause. Brantford is also host to monthly Sport Networking Meetings for those interested in learning more about what’s happening in the sports community and upcoming events held at any of the town’s numerous facilities, including the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre.
It’s the Birthplace of the Telephone
In a world where people don’t leave home without their phones, it’s special to be able to trace the roots of this invention back to Brantford. Scottish-born inventor and scientist Alexander Graham Bell moved to Brantford in 1870, where he spent years experimenting with electricity and sound before successfully making the world’s first long-distance telephone call between Brantford and Paris, Ontario in 1876 (a vast distance of 6 miles separates the two cities). The city has since commemorated this leap in advancement with a monument in his honour, with two figures standing between the line of a telephone in the shape of the earth’s curvature, signifying the global use of Bell’s invention. The Melville House — Bell’s first home in North America — is now a National Historic Site of Canada.
You’ve Seen its Streets on the Big and Small Screen
With plenty of historical buildings in its downtown, it’s no surprise that Brantford has been used as the backdrop for numerous films and television shows for over forty years. The city is so welcoming to production companies that they even have a list of untapped locations for film crews to get inspired by. Recent television shows filmed in Brantford include CBC’s hit series Murdoch Mysteries, with filming locations at the Carnegie Building and Victoria Square, and The Handmaid’s Tale, which has shot scenes at Brant’s Crossing Park, Fordview Park and Lorne Bridge.
It’s Home to Some of the GTA’S Best Museums
History buffs will appreciate Brantford’s dedication to preserving both the city’s and Canada’s rich history. Museums include the Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant, which offers contemporary exhibitions and guided tours of its collection of over 600 artworks; the Woodland Cultural Centre, which strives to preserve and promote Indigenous history, art, language and culture; and the Canadian Military Heritage Museum, which honours and remembers all veterans and military service personnel who have served or are currently serving.
Some of Your Favourite Treats are Made Here
Since confectionery giant Ferrero announced its $90 million dollar expansion into Brantford back in 2017, the city’s economy has only continued to grow and thrive. The plant, which produces Nutella, Tic Tacs and Ferrero Rocher chocolates, employees over 1,000 people and has become so important to Brantford’s economy that the city celebrates World Nutella Day every February.
Images courtesy of The Sputnik (Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre); Onasill via Flickr (Bell Memorial); Paul Joseph via Flickr (Murdoch Mysteries); CoB Brantford (Ferrero Plant).