The city of Brantford in Ontario, Canada, is famously known as The Telephone City. With so many fun things to do in Brantford, Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, called this area home, and this is still a significant point of appeal for tourists.
But this city has so much to offer its visitors that go beyond the nickname “The Telephone City.” If this spot isn’t already on your list of places to visit, the abundance of activities Brantford has to offer may change your mind. From the Alexander Graham Bell homestead to the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre, here are a few things to do in Brantford, Ontario.
You might even feel inspired to extend your Ontario stay.
- The City of Brantford is named after an important Mohawk leader during the American Revolutionary War named Thayendanegea or Joseph Brant. Many of his descendants live on the nearby reserve of Six Nations of the Grand River.
- Joseph Brant’s son Chief John Brant fought with the British during the War of 1812 and worked towards improving the welfare of the First Nations.
- The original Mohawk settlement was located in a part of the city that was advantageous for landing canoes. Brant’s crossing (or fording) of the river gave the original name for the town – Brant’s ford.
- In the 1830s, Brantford became a stop on the Underground Railroad, resulting in several runaway African-Americans settling in the town. They established their school and church, now known as the S.R. Drake Memorial Church.
- Brantford, also known as the “Telephone City” as the inventor Alexander Graham Bell, invented the first telephone.
- “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky, quite possibly the greatest hockey player ever, was born and raised in Brantford, Ontario. “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” has always been one of my favourite quotes.
Brantford Directions: Getting To Telephone City
Take ON-401 W to Townline Rd/Waterloo 33 in Puslinch, then take exit 286 from ON-401 W. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Can-Amera Pkwy/Waterloo Regional Rd 80. Use the left two lanes to turn left onto Franklin Blvd/Waterloo Regional Rd 36. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Myers Rd/Regional Rd 43 and ON-24 S to your Brantford destination.
- About 1 hour and 40 minutes
Via 403 from Toronto
Take the Gardiner Expressway West and then merge onto the Queen Elizabeth Way (Q.E.W.)/ON-403 W. Keep right at the fork to stay on ON-403 W. Take exit 38 for Wayne Gretzky Parkway, then take Morton Ave E, West St and Clarence St to your destination in Brantford.
- About 1 hour and 15 minutes
The best way to get from Toronto to Brantford without a car is to train. A train departs five times a day and costs anywhere from $50 – $110.
- About 1 hour and 6 minutes, including transfers
What To Do In Brantford | Historical Sites
This place has many cool attractions to keep you entertained. From the history buff to the outdoor traveller, there is something for everyone in Brantford.
Bell Homestead National Historic Site
Alexander Graham Bell is the father of the world we know today. This Scottish immigrant invented the telephone while living in Brantford, Ontario, in 1876, and he used to call this city a “dreaming place.” He found incredible inspiration in this town, and we couldn’t agree more!
At the Bell Home, you will feel like you’ve stepped back into 1876. The untouched interior is an excellent look into the mind of this famous inventor. The home exhibition represents the telephone’s development throughout history and should be a bucket list item for everyone.
Canadian Military Heritage Museum
The Canadian Military Heritage Museum is located on Greenwich Street in Brantford. This is a great place to explore if you’re hungry to learn more about Canadian military history.
This fascinating museum displays artifacts from the First and Second World Wars, focusing on Brantford’s wartime history.
The Mohawk Residential School | Woodlands Cultural Centre
This landmark was the first residential school in Canada – The Mohawk Institute Residential School. Today, the building is used as an art gallery, library and centre dedicated to the Indigenous Peoples.
Even though this centre’s history is fascinating, it’s now dedicated to preserving the current Indigenous Groups’ history and culture. Visiting this spot will give you insight into the struggles of the historical Indigenous Brantford community in 1828.
One of the most notable attractions in the town of Brantford is Her majesty’s Royal Chapel or Mohawk Chapel, which is one of Canada’s oldest surviving buildings – one of only three royal chapels in North America.
This chapel was gifted to the loyalists, led by Joseph Brant. Joseph Brant died in 1807 near the town of Brantford and served as a chief and spokesperson for the Mohawk people. He was also a Christian missionary and British military officer during the American Revolution.
Inside this building, you’ll find some of the earliest forms of Mohawk language and other artifacts that date back centuries. This spot is perfect for those interested in Joseph Brant and the people of Brantford.
Brantford Attractions – Historical Statue Sightings
When you arrive in Brantford, you’ll notice a few grand statues scattered around. These statues have historical significance to the area, and it’s good to note what they stand for if you’re planning a trip to this town.
Joseph Brant Statue
As mentioned above, Joseph Brant was a vital part of the history of this area. The war came at a high cost to the Mohawk people, and they lost their land. Brant was given a 10 km stretch of land on either side of the Grand River, where they settled Brant’s Ford, a settlement that later became Brantford.
This statue can be found in downtown Brantford in Victoria Park.
Alexander Graham Bell Statue
You can find the telephone’s inventor’s statue perched on a seat outside of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada building. This statue is one of the best attractions in Brantford and is a must-see for all visitors.
There is something oddly weird yet intriguing about taking an Instagram selfie with the inventor of the telephone.
Wayne Gretzky Statue
Wayne Gretzky has been called the greatest hockey player in history, and he has a statue to commemorate that honourable title. This statue’s grand figure can be found at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre and local pride and joy.
Gretzky is the lead scorer in the National Hockey League (NHL) and was, as mentioned above was born and bred here in Brantford in Ontario, Canada. This spot is the best attraction for sports fans.
Things To Do In Brantford This Weekend
Brantford is filled with fun activities waiting to be explored. From beautiful gardens to walking routes, here are the best things to do in Brantford this weekend.
Glenhyrst Art Gallery Gardens is a great place to visit if you want to get in touch with your artistic side. It’s an open public gallery space located on a property that hosts art and crafts classes.
This impeccably landscaped space on the Grand River banks has spectacular views inside and out and was gifted to the city of Brantford by Mr. Edmund Cockshutt in 1959. Cockshutt’s pursuit of artistic and cultural fulfilment bled into the community, and the property was established as a nonprofit art gallery.
Brant Conservation Area
This area is located amid the Grand River and the historic communities of Brantford. It’s a few minutes drives from the First Nations territories of the Six Nations.
Brant Conservation Area is the best spot for those who enjoy camping, hiking, biking, and water activities. It’s the perfect weekend getaway for friends and family.
This area in downtown Cambridge is a few minutes away from Brantford centre. The Grand River flows free in this neighbourhood, home to a year-round farmers’ market and little family-owned restaurants.
The food culture around Brantford is integral to the area, and Galt is the perfect place to explore it.
Brantford Artisans’ Village | The Cordage Heritage District
This spot was previously used as a twine factory but is now an up-and-coming village where art, culture, and creativity mix. The Artisans Village is now home to a brewing company, a pottery spot, and an event hall fit for performing arts. A schedule is released frequently on the Artisans Village social media profiles where you can stay up-to-date on all the latest events.
Take some time to enjoy Brantford’s rich culture by stepping into the rustic red brick buildings located in West Brantford.
Here are some recommended pit stops:
The Seventh is all about turning casual sippers into coffee enthusiasts with their innovative coffee blends. They are all about education, being socially responsible and transparent when it comes to their coffee beans and where they are sourced.
As for the name, Seventh, founder Mike Gatopoulos’ son, Jack, was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Williams Syndrome which affects around 1 in 10,000 people. Williams syndrome is caused by the spontaneous deletion of 26-28 genes on chromosome 7, hence Seventh Coffee Company.
Mash Paddle Brewing Company
This industrial space is in the heart of the artisans’ village in Brantford. It’s known for its unique on-tap beer and performing arts setup.
The occasional live music events create a fun atmosphere to be in, and the grand rustic interior makes it one of the most beautiful spaces in Brantford.
Bathtub Bakery designs bath products that look like food products. (Donuts, pop tarts, cupcakes etc) These products are so realistic that one can easily get confused.
Bathtub Bakery began to blossom in 2016-2017. Owner Bri was hustling at vendor events, and selling in local stores while working a full-time job. However, making her customers’ orders never felt like work, it was more of a break, a creative outlet.
Ice Skating In Brantford
As the home of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, Brantford is bound to take pride in its ice skating facilities. The city offers several hockey programs and outdoor skating rinks open to the public – some of the best Brantford entertainment you’ll find.
One of the best things about Brantford is that it’s synonymous with hockey and skating. Skating is a great day activity for the whole family to enjoy. Rinks are open during most weekends, and you’ll find several friendly volunteers tending to the ice.
Here’s a list of a few of the available rinks in Brantford city:
- Brand Skating Club – Lion’s Park
- Anne Good Park Rink – Allensgate Drive
- Hillier Ice Rinks – Queensway Drive
- Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre – Park Street
- Echo Park – Morley Avenue
- Lion’s Park Arena – Edge Street
Things To Do In Brantford At Night | Restaurants & Bars
Brantford has no shortage of eateries. From pizza in Little Italy to a cold brew in the Artisan’s Village, here are some of the best spots to grab some food in Brantford.
Hudson Public Kitchen And Bar
This spot is a relatively new addition to the city and has an incredible menu to offer its visitors. It is located in the heart of downtown Brantford and is all about the local fare.
The warm and inviting atmosphere of this place will make you feel instantly welcome, and the menu has something that everyone will enjoy.
Go to the Hudson to watch the hockey game and enjoy some memorable food, but remember to make a reservation to avoid disappointment.
Things To Do Near Brantford
There are numerous parks and trails in and around Brantford Canada, Take a break from the city and get some much-needed fresh air. Lace up your walking shoes, and let’s head off to the magnificent spaces around Brantford.
The Brantford Trails
This corner of Ontario, Canada, has some of the best trails in the country. There are three major intersecting routes in Brantford that run from downtown across Canada. One of them is The Great Trail, which runs a full 24,000 km across the country.
These paths split off into different routes all along the area of Brantford, and they can all be followed into breathtaking landscapes. From The Grand River to deep descending forests, Ontario’s trails are among the best tourist attractions in Brantford.
These Brantford activities are perfect for adventure-seeking visitors to the city.
This giant forested park that sits on Mohawk Lake banks in Brantford offers many different activities for visitors to choose from: free yoga classes every Saturday, a massive playground, a golf course and a great food market; this park is a must-see.
One of the best things to do in the park is to have a day picnic in the shady area while allowing them to play on the playground and the Sprinklemania water area – this is also a great way to meet new people from the city.
Brantford Farmers’ Market
The farmer’s market is known to the locals as the best place to find fresh produce. The market offers a wide range of products due to the array of farmers in the area.
From baked goods to farm-fresh meat, this farmer’s market exhibits only the best things about Brantford. If you want to get acquainted with the town’s culture, a day at this farmers’ market is the best way to do so.
Where To Stay In Brantford, Ontario
Now that I got you feeling inspired to visit Brantford, maybe you want to spend the night? From great hotels to charming guest houses, this city has a variety of options.
Suites By Hilton Brantford
Best Western Brantford Hotel and Conference Centre
Serenity Ranch Bed & Breakfast
Final Thoughts On Things To Do, Brantford Ontario
If you’re looking for some family fun and good food, Brantford is the place to be. You’ll meet some amazing locals, try incredible local beer and get to see the Grand River all in a single day.
Brantford in Ontario is a great place to visit. It has some attractions and activities. The rich culture and history of this city will leave you hungry for more, and you might want to plan a road trip across Ontario to see it all.
So, whether you are looking for the top hiking trail to explore or some of the best things to keep the kids busy, Brantford is the place for you.