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Brantford Bucket List – the best things to do in Brantford all year round

October 2, 2019
Get off the beaten path and into a city filled with history, culture and nature with the Brantford Bucket List, a guide to all the best things to do in Brantford, Ontario, Canada all year round. #Brantford #Ontario #Canada #Travel #underratedplaces

Brantford, the Telephone City, is an underrated city in Ontario, Canada. Get off the beaten path and into a city filled with history, culture and nature. Whether you are in the city for a tournament, a student attending post-secondary education, or looking for new places to explore, here is the Brantford Bucket List, a guide to the best things to do in Brantford all year round.



Hey there – this post likely contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them. This helps me earn a few dollars to run this website. For more info, check out my terms here. This post was sponsored by Tourism Brantford. As always, all opinions are my own.


Get off the beaten path and into a city filled with history, culture and nature with the Brantford Bucket List, a guide to all the best things to do in Brantford, Ontario, Canada all year round. #Brantford #Ontario #Canada #Travel #underratedplaces

Where is Brantford?

Located at the junction of Highway 403 and Highway 24, Brantford is an easily accessible city from Hamilton, Toronto, London and Kitchener-Waterloo. You can either drive here or catch the bus or train. Both Via Rail and GO have a stop at the downtown train station in Brantford.

Brantford hugs the Grand River, a heritage river that flows from near Dundalk to Lake Erie. So with all the trails and beautiful vistas over the water, it’s a great place for cyclists and hikers.  

Why Brantford?

brantford map

Brantford is named after Joseph Brant, a Mohawk Chief who allied with the British during the American Revolution. He and his people were given the Haldimand Tract, a two million acre area that stretches six miles on either side of the Grand River from source to mouth. The history and importance of the Indigenous land claim is delicate, and I can’t even begin to try to summarize it. However, you can read all about it from Six Nations of the Grand River.

Over the 1800s and early 1900s, Brantford became an industrial centre in Canada, ranking third in the whole country for the value of goods exported. The prosperous times didn’t last, however, and in the 1980s, Brantford’s economy declined, and many businesses went bust or left.

In the last 20 years, the city (especially the downtown) has seen a resurgence of new life. With education opportunities, new shops and restaurants, and the popularity of some of the cool things to do in the city, Brantford is going through a revival. That’s why it’s the perfect time to explore the city.


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Famously Brantford

Brantford is an underrated city. When I tell people where I live, I often get a “Where’s that?” Which is surprising since Brantford is the 14th largest city in Ontario (and the largest in its population class). But what I find most interesting about Brantford is the number of famous people and businesses that called this city home.

From the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, to the most famous hockey player in the world, Wayne Gretzky, to businesses like Zamboni and Ferrero Canada (aka the people who make Nutella), Brantford has seen it all. One of the best things to do in Brantford is to dive into the famous history of the city and wander around to find those historical places.

What to see and things to do in Brantford

There’s plenty of things to do in Brantford, from the historical to cultural. Many of these places are tucked away like hidden gems ready to be discovered.

Bell Homestead National Historic Site

Bell Homestead National Historic Park

If there’s one thing I couldn’t live without, it would be my phone. And I can thank a Brantford resident for that. Alexander Graham Bell, a Scottish immigrant to Canada, came up with the idea of the telephone while living in Brantford. He called this place his “dreaming place.” And while the first telephone was built in Boston by Bell, he credits his place in Brantford as where he invented the new technology. He even made the first long-distance call from Brantford to Paris, Ontario.

At the Bell Homestead National Historic Site, you can visit the home the way it would have looked in 1874. And you can see an exhibit of how the telephone has changed over the years.

Admission costs $7 for an adult, and it is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Don’t miss the Exchange Cafe, for their menu of soups, salads, sandwiches and cafe beverages. The cafe is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May to September.

Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant

Glenhyrst art gallery

Located on the banks of the Grand River, the Glenhysrt Art Gallery of Brant spills out into the gardens surrounding the historic home. The property was home to Edmund Cockshutt, a local philanthropist. He gifted the property to the city of Brantford to be a place for art and culture.

Glenhyrst houses hundreds of works of art in permanent and limited galleries. And in the garden, they have numerous sculptures. My favourite is a sculpture of two hands called “Meg’s Pause” by local artist David Hind.

Glenhyrst art gallery

Glenhyrst is open year-round from Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. plus Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The best part? Admission is free (donations are encouraged).

Don’t miss getting high tea at the Golden Teapot, a sweet little café at Glenhyrst. They offer high tea and low tea year-round from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s such a lovely treat, plus they have a beautiful view overlooking the garden.

Wayne Gretzky Statue

Wayne Gretzky Statue

Looking for another famous face from Brantford? Then look no further than the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre where you’ll find a larger-than-life sculpture of the greatest hockey player in history.

Okay, I don’t know what much about hockey, but I know of “the Great One,” #99, aka Wayne Gretzky. He is the lead scorer in the history of the NHL. And this guy was born and raised in Brantford.

The monument was installed a few years ago and can be found in front of the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre. It’s free and easily accessible, perfect for selfies. 

Alexander Graham Bell Statue

Alexander Graham Bell statue in Brantford

What’s that? Another statue? That’s right. Alexander Graham Bell, located outside the Bell Telephone Company of Canada building, has a statue similar to the one of Abraham Lincoln in Washington, DC. Definitely a must-see in Brantford.

Joseph Brant Statue

Joseph Brant Statue

Okay, last one I promise. Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant) was a Mohawk chief who allied with the British during the American Revolution. The war cost his people their land, and so he was given six miles on either side of the Grand River in Ontario. The place where he and his people crossed and settled was called Brant’s Ford, and later, Brantford.

You can find a statue in his honour at Victoria Park in downtown Brantford.

Woodland Cultural Centre

Woodland Cultural Centre

On the surface, the Woodland Cultural Centre is a gallery, museum, library and educational centre dedicated to Indigenous Peoples. But it’s much more than that.

The Woodland Cultural Centre used to be the first residential school in Canada. The Mohawk Institute Residential School, which opened in 1828, was just one of the places where assimilation into European society was imposed on thousands of First Nations children.

The history of the residential school system in Canada is horrific, with the effects still being felt today. The goal was to “kill the Indian in the child.” The Indigenous students were not allowed to speak their language, grow their hair, or wear their traditional clothes. Many children were abused, and thousands died.

The effects have trickled throughout the generations, leaving many disconnected, and disrupting the flow of cultural knowledge and practices.

The Woodland Cultural Centre was set up shortly after the residential school closed as a way to preserve Indigenous history and culture, as well as providing space for new and current Indigenous expression through art, dance, music and more.

Mohawk chapel

Mohawk Chapel outside

Her majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks is one of the oldest buildings in Canada and one of three royal chapels in all of North America.

Known commonly as the Mohawk Chapel, the church was given to the Mohawk Loyalists led by Joseph Brant who fought for the British in the American Revolution.

Inside, you’ll find the earliest written record of the Mohawk language. The floors, altar panels and a royal crest carved from just one piece of wood are the only original pieces. The building was restored in the early 1900s. It also holds important artifacts dating back centuries.

Mohawk Chapel inside

But the most important part of the chapel is the stained glass windows that were installed in the early 1960s. Eight stained glass windows depict important moments during the history of the Six Nations of the Grand River. It doesn’t gloss over the horrid history of the church wanting to “save” Indigenous peoples, nor the traumatic history of the residential school system.

Touring the chapel is a sobering experience. Conversations around the relationship between the church and Indigenous people is complicated and can’t be summarized. But this site is also important. It doesn’t gloss over the difficult topics.

You can choose to do a self-guided or guided tour. I recommend the guided tour as you learn about facts and interpretations that you would not otherwise.

Canadian Military Heritage Museum

Tucked away on Greenwich Street in Brantford is the Canadian Military Heritage Museum. As someone whose parents were both active members of the Canadian Forces, I love to visit museums to learn about the heritage of the military.

Much of the 20th century has been spent at war, from the First and Second World Wars, Korean War and peacekeeping missions. It’s a sad state, but it’s amazing to see how inventions formed, and the communities rallied together at these times.

The Canadian Military Heritage Museum displays military history from all over Canada, especially Brantford’s wartime history.

Admission is $6 for adults, and they are open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Brantford Artisans’ Village

Brantford Artisans’ Village is an old twine factory located in West Brant, a neighbourhood in Brantford. It’s an up-and-coming district where the plans are to create an arts and culture vibe with the rustic red brick buildings and industrial spaces.

It currently is home to Mash Paddle Brewing Company, Brantford Potters Guild, The Rope Factory Event Hall and more.

There are grand plans for this space, so keep your eyes peeled!

Grand Wellness Centre

grand wellness centre

I don’t go to the spa often enough. That’s what I thought as I was leaving the Grand Wellness Centre. I felt so refreshed and rejuvenated. Located along the Grand River, this lovely industrial brick building was transformed into a space of wellness.

Grand Wellness Centre offers a myriad of services including aesthetics like manicures, pedicures and waxing; reiki; massage therapy, reflexology; facials; scrubs and so much more.

But Grand Wellness Centre is most known for its halotherapy. What is that you ask? It’s salt healing. One part is a foot detox, where you put your achy feet on top of a heated salt block and just let your worries drain away.

grand wellness salt cave

The crown jewel is the Salt Cave. Salt miners in Poland were recognized as being in good health due to their time underground in the salt caves. It was believed that these salt caves had health benefits and the Grand Wellness Centre has re-created a salt cave for you to experience it too.

In the cave, you lie on zero-gravity chairs and cuddle up under a warm blanket and just breathe deeply. It’s a silent zone so that you can relax to the sounds of the water trickling in the corners of the room. The warm light and fresh air will let you drift off to sleep. As someone with seasonal allergies, I felt my nostrils and lungs open up, which was a relief.

grand wellness centre infrared sauna

You also have to try the infrared sauna. I’m sure you’ve heard of a sauna before, that uses steam to clear your pores and let you relax. Well, the infrared sauna is similar, but it doesn’t use steam; it uses infrared light. It is said to improve the cardiovascular system, while also letting you relax and ease any muscle pain. But be warned, you’re going to sweat like crazy. After 25 minutes, you just get out and realize you’re soaking wet from sweat.

That’s why the next thing you have to do immediately after the infrared sauna is the beer spa. Okay, I was a little skeptical of the beer soak. As a non-beer drinker, I was worried that I would all I would smell during the soak was that tangy fragrance of beer.

Grand Wellness beer soak

I was so wrong. You get to soak in these fantastic wooden tubs filled with bubbly warm water with hops that have a floral smell to them. It was the most relaxing experience. The best part is the spa is licensed so you can enjoy your choice of local wine or beer with your soak.


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Where to eat and drink in Brantford

In Brantford, there is no shortage of choices for a night out, a place to get a great pizza or somewhere to get a good coffee. If you’re looking for things to do in Brantford, then it will most likely involve food at some point. Here is a list of all the great places to grab a bite to eat or a drink in Brantford.

Mercasa Little Italy Eatery

Mercasa Pizza

There are a couple of great pizza places in Brantford, but Mercasa is in a league all of its own. This “fast-casual” eatery is something I have never seen before. It’s sort of like a buffet, with food displayed where you can choose what you want. But everything is also prepared fresh, with delicious ingredients.

And the pizza (drool) is so good. It’s called Roman-style, where they use thick, crusty dough, almost like focaccia, and you won’t find the pizza creations like this anywhere else. It’s so hard to pick a favourite, but there’s one that uses hot honey, and I’m all about that!

Waffles and Crepes Cafe

Waffles and Crepes Cafe

This little café is a gem in downtown Brantford. They specialize in, you guess it, waffles and crepes. And boy are they delicious. The café has both a savoury and sweet menu, so the hardest thing you’ll have to decide is if you want one or two!

Mash Paddle Brewing Company

This homegrown brewery has such a great venue. Located in the Brantford Artisans’ Village, Mash Paddle Brewing Company has an industrial space with a fun rustic bar, where they often have live music. The flights come on an actual paddle too!

Bell City Brewery

Another great craft brewery in town is Bell City Brewery. What I love about their space is that it’s open and communal, plus the really neat live edge tables! They even have a bistro with some delicious food options. Bell City also does a lot of experimentation with all sorts of ingredients, like flowers, so you never know what’s going to be on tap.

Steel Wheel Brewery

Steel Wheel Brewery

I would be remiss not to mention Steel Wheel Brewery. Technically they are in Brant County, but not too far out of the city! This on-farm brewery is the newest to join the city, but they have a great space and some classic craft beers. And even though they don’t sell food, you are welcome to bring your own. The coolest part? They grow the hops themselves!

Devlin’s Advocate (soon to be Hudson Public House)

Devlin advocate restaurant

This fun pub right in the heart of downtown is going through a major rebrand. With a completely new menu, drink and style, I’m excited to see all the new and fun things that this place will bring.

Currently, as Devlin’s Advocate, the food is classic pub with a twist. From butter chicken to fish tacos to deep-fried pickles, it seriously has it all. But I’m most excited about is their drink menu to be updated since they only have two cider options! 😉

Healthy Rabbit

Healthy Rabbit

Who says healthy can’t be delicious? The Healthy Rabbit is one of the few vegetarian-only options in Brantford. This plant-based restaurant specializes in its handcrafted bowls. You can try one of their flavours or make up your own!

Nine North

Nine North is a Vietnamese-Thai food place right downtown and is hands-down my go-to spot for a filling and delicious lunch. They have huge portions and affordable options. Plus, great service and a warm atmosphere. They are new to the downtown and boy, they are doing well, with it being busy almost every day for lunch and dinner.

The Blue Dog Cafe

Blue Dog Cafe

Probably my favourite café in the city, the Blue Dog Café has been around for ages. They’ve recently expanded to Paris, Ontario to spread the love. They’ve got tasty fresh coffee and all the drinks of a great café. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and have soups, salads and sandwiches.

Good Friends Sandwich Company

If you’re looking for a well-priced, delicious sandwich, then look no further than Good Friends Sandwich Company. They’ve got gourmet versions of all the delicious favourites, like beef dip, grilled cheese, pastrami and so much more. They also have soups and other meals, but their sandwiches are what they were born to do.

Abigail’s Bakery and Express

From the people that bring you high tea at Abigail’s Tea House in nearby St. George, Ontario, present Abigail’s Bakery express. You can get some awesome grab and go options here from fresh sandwiches and soups to loaves of freshly bakes bread and pastries.

Maria’s Pizza West

Maria's Pizza West

Arguably the best pizza in the city, Maria’s Pizza has been a staple in Brantford since it opened in 1968. There are actually two Maria’s Pizzas in Brantford, one in downtown while the other is in West Brant. Maria’s descendants run both establishments, but they do have different vibes and flavours.

Seriously, Maria’s Pizza West is the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. They also have cannolis that you’re going to want to leave room for.

Fume RestoBar

Fume Restobar

Looking for a fancy place to dine like royalty? Then Fume RestoBar is the place for you. They always have something new to add to their menu, and honestly, the dishes they serve are completely original to this eatery. Seriously, they are out-of-this-world, both in flavour and creativity.  So prepare to tastebuds for something crazy, like octopus with curry, cuttlefish ink pasta, and beef tenderloin that was so perfect I could cry.

Fume Restobar

At lunch, they have a more laid back menu that is still incredibly flavourful, like a burger, souvlaki and scallops. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Sociable Kitchen and Tavern

Sociable has this fun, hip vibe that makes it a great place to go for a bite to eat and drink in a relaxed atmosphere. They’ve got something for everyone, from the classic burgers to tacos, bowls, and baskets. I think they have the best drink menu in the city, with fun cocktails, a great selection of craft beer and cider. I can’t help but love it here since my co-workers brought me for my birthday.

On The Lam gourmet and raw

This funky little restaurant serves up raw oysters, cool cocktails and a great list of gourmet dishes. This place has been on my list for a while now, and they always seem so have something fun going on, whether it’s a new dish or a seasonal ingredient!

Dairee Delite

Dairee Delite

With all those food options above, you better hope to leave room for dessert because Dairee Delite is the cherry on top. This place is a Brantford gem, beloved by all. And it’s easy to see why. This funky little road-side ice cream stand has been a staple in the community since 1953 (although it’s changed locations a few times).

Dairee Delite has every kind of cool treat that you can think of, from sundaes to twist cones to milkshakes to flurries to ice cream cake and banana splits. They even have dairy-free and vegan options. They make their own peanut butter sauce topping too! But they’re only open during the warmer months so get them while you can!

Le Chocolat du Savoie

Chocolate shop

Who doesn’t LOVE chocolate?! Seriously?! This little chocolate shop has chocolate covered everything, but treats and truffles they make in house. The smell of warm chocolate, when you walk in the door, is tantalizing. Stop in to pick up something for yourself and the perfect gift for any sweet tooth.


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Get outside in Brantford

There are nearly 100 parks and more than 70 kilometres of trails in the City of Brantford. Plus with the river running through the city there’s no shortage of outdoor things to do in Brantford. Whether you want to go for a walk, pick up a game of Frisbee golf, go for a swim or look for farm to table food, you’ll find it here in Brantford.

Hub of Ontario Trails

Brantford trails

Brantford is known as the Hub of Ontario Trails. What does this mean exactly? Well, three major trails intersect in Brantford at Brant’s Crossing near the downtown. One of them is the Great Trail – also known as the Trans Canada Trail, which runs 24,000 kilometres across Canada. The trail splits into three in Brantford, one way comes from the east, another heads west toward, and the last section heads south toward Windsor.

Brock’s Route is a trail that runs from Hamilton through Brantford to Port Dover and is believed to be the route that Sir Isaac Brock took during the War of 1812.

The other major trail that runs through Brantford is the Grand Valley Trail, a 275-kilometre footpath between Port Maitland and Alton. The trail follows the gorgeous Grand River and is a must-see when in the area.

There are so many other shorter trails and loops through parks, along the water and through forests!

Mohawk Park

Brantford trails

Mohawk is an enormous forested park that sits on the shows of Mohawk Lake in Brantford. There are a couple of pavilions here, as well as a playground and Frisbee golf course. Don’t miss visiting the lookout and wandering through the forest on the Forest Road Trail

Harmony Square

Harmony Square is the hub of the city. Located smack dab in the middle of the downtown, Harmony Square hosts all the fun events. In the summer, it turns into a splash pad, there are music events, and they hold movie nights in the square every week. In the winter, the square is transformed into an ice rink, with lights and music. Be sure to check out the annual events below, because there’s always something happening at the Square.

Brant Conservation Area

Brant Park, also known as the Brant Conservation Area, is run by the Grand River Conservation Authority. The idyllic setting of the meandering Grand River, the lovely trails through the forest and great spots to launch your non-motorized boat all make this park a fun one to visit. And if you don’t want to swim in the river, the park has a splash pad and pool. There are also 401 campsites tucked away in the park.

Brantwood Farms

Brantwood Farms, located on the outskirts of Brantford, has been around for nearly 130 years. The little farm market offers fresh produce and other food items, or you can also pick your own strawberries, apples and pumpkins.

In the fall, the market comes alive for the fall festival, offering hayrides, a corn maze, a straw castle, a petting zoo, pony rides, pick-your-own adventures and so many other games.

Brantford Farmers’ Market

The Brantford Farmers’ Market has been operating since 1848. This downtown market offers a wide range of products since the vendors change every season. You can get fresh produce, meats, dairy products, baked goods, crafts, and so much more. As one of the oldest operating businesses in the city, you won’t want to miss experiencing it for yourself.

The market is open all year round on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.


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Brantford Events you don’t want to miss

Whether you are coming for the weekend or you are looking for things to do in Brantford, this city has an event for you! From January to December, there’s always something going on in Brantford. Enjoy the taste of something new or take up a seasonal activity. 

World Nutella Day

When: Annually on February 5, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre Events

Cost: Free

For everyone that loves Nutella, the chocolate hazelnut spread, this event is for them. Ferrero Canada, makers of Nutella, are based in Brantford, which is why the city puts on this family-friendly event. There’s Nutella pancakes, I (heart) Nutella t-shirts, a photo booth, face painting as well as free public skate and swim.

Frosty Fest

When: Family Day weekend in February

Where: Harmony Square

Cost: Free admission

This fun-for-the-whole-family event is held in Harmony Square downtown to celebrate midwinter. There are horse-drawn trolley rides, skating team demonstrations, public skates, ice carving, games, a snow slide, face painting, warm food and more. 

ChilI Willy Cook-Off

When: Weekend after Family Day in February, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Harmony Square

Cost: $5

Whip out your judging hat, because this festival is about to get spicy! The Chili Willy Cook-Off is an annual chilli tasting competition where you are the judge. The cost of the event gets you a reusable bowl and spoon, and you go around and taste the different versions of chilli made from local businesses. Help decide who is named grand champion!

WTFest

When: Last weekend in July

Where: Lions Park

Cost: $28

WTFest is the biggest music event in Brantford. This one-day rock music festival has seen some incredible headliners like The Sheepdogs, Our Lady Peace, The Trews, The Beaches and more.

Enjoy the music and grab some awesome food from the vendors!

International Villages Cultural Festival

When: Usually the first Wednesday to Saturday in July

Where: Various locations around the city.

Cost: $10 for a festival passport

As one of the longest-running events in the city, the International Villages Cultural Festival is a multi-location food and cultural extravaganza. Last year, 17 participating “villages” from a wide range of cultural backgrounds offered dancing, music, food and more. This one is not to be missed!

Brantford Beer Fest

When: First Saturday in September

Where: Harmony Square

Cost: $12 in advance

Taste test the local flavours with beer on tap from local and provincial craft breweries. Enjoy food, music and vendors that come out to showcase their stuff at this annual event.

Brantford International Jazz Festival

Brantford Jazz fest

When: Second weekend in September

Where: Harmony Square

Cost: Free

Bring your dancing shoes to the Brantford International Jazz Festival, which offers three days of musical performances in Brantford’s downtown setting. The festival attracts musicians from all over the world.

Brantwood Farms Fall Festival

When: The first weekend in September to the last weekend in October, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Brantwood Farms, 251 Powerline Road, Brantford

Cost: Free, but the activities cost tickets, which range in price from $5 to $100

This little country market comes alive during the fall. They’re working produce farm turs into a fall festival with the classics like hayrides, a straw castle, a corn maze, and a petting zoo. They also have fun games like apple slingshot, pumpkin painting, an obstacle course, haunted barn, pumpkin bowling, and more.

Be sure to go apple picking and wander through the pumpkin patch to find your perfect jack-o-lantern.

Scare in the Square

When: First weekend in October

Where: Harmony Square and Mohawk Park

Cost: Free

This spooktacular event turns Harmony Square into the ultimate Halloween destination. At the square, you’ll find face painting, pumpkin carving, haunted hayrides, amusement rides, a scavenger hunt, costume contest and more. In the evening, take a ghost hunt tour of an abandoned old police station.

At Mohawk Park, try to survive the zombie apocalypse in the Zombie Survival Run through Mohawk Park forest. Or you can also check out the haunted pavilion, which only the brave-at-heart can survive.

Lawren Harris Day

When: Annually on Oct. 23

Where: Various

Cost: Free

Lawren Harris, a prominent Canadian painter, was born and raised in Brantford. He was part of the famous Group of Seven, a collective of landscape impressionist-style artists that gave Canada a name in the art world. In December 2017, the Ontario government designated Oct. 23 as Lawren Harris Day. Last year was the first year that is was an official day, so the events have changed year over year. Most years, Glenhyrst Art Gallery puts on a display. You can find out more on the Gallery website.

Brantford Lights at Glenhyrst

When: The month of December

Where: Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant

Cost: Free

Breathe in the Christmas spirit by visiting Glenhyrst Art Gallery for their winter light display. Walk through the magical winter wonderland and be dazzled by the thousands of lights scattered throughout the grounds. Warm-up inside with hot cocoa at the Golden Teapot, which is open late during December on Thursdays to Sundays.

Times Square in Harmony Square

When: Annually on December 31

Where: Harmony Square

Cost: Free

This fun New Years’ Eve bash has something for everyone: face painting, ice skating, live music, and fireworks at midnight. If you don’t have New Years’ plans, then this is the place to be.


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Where to Stay in Brantford

There are not a lot of Airbnbs or boutique options in Brantford; however the city does have a good selection of hotels to choose from if you are trying to find an affordable place to spend the night.

Best Western Brantford Hotel and Conference Centre

The Best Western in Brantford, located near Highway 403, has large comfortable rooms, including those that are pet-friendly. They have an indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna, fitness centre and outdoor playground for children plus free Wi-Fi.

Holiday Inn Express Brantford

This new hotel, located on the outskirts of town near Garden Ave, offers free Wi-Fi, comfortable rooms, free breakfast, a 24-hour fitness centre and indoor swimming pool.

Home2 Suites by Hilton Brantford

At this ultra-modern pet-friendly hotel, all of the rooms are suites and include a fully-equipped kitchen, sleeping and living spaces. There’s free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, 24-hour fitness centre and indoor swimming pool.

Towne Place Suites Brantford by Marriot

This brand-new hotel (opening in fall 2019) is pet-friendly and offers a suite in every room. Each room comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, sleeping area and living space. There’s free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, fitness centre and swimming pool.

Booking.com

Best Things to do in Brantford

Did you scroll to the bottom? Well, to recap, some of the best things to do in Brantford are:

  • Learn about the history of the telephone at the Bell Homestead National Historic Site,
  • Visit Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant
  • Grab an ice cream cone at Dairee Delite
  • Take a selfie with the Wayne Gretzky Statue
  • Get a deeper understanding of Six Nations at the Woodland Cultural Centre
  • Visit the only Royal Chapel in Canada: Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks
  • Learn about war efforts at the Canadian Military Heritage museum
  • Relax at the Grand Wellness Centre
  • Take a selfie with the Alexander Graham Bell statue
  • Visit as many delicious restaurants as you can, like The Blue Dog Café, Sociable, Fume and more
  • Grab a pint at one of the breweries in the city like Mash Paddle, Bell City or Steel Wheel
  • Take a hike on one of the many trails in Brantford, known as the Hub of Ontario Trails
  • In summer, splash around at Harmony Square; in winter, bring your skates!
  • Visit a park, like Mohawk Park of Brant Conservation Area

Get off the beaten path and into a city filled with history, culture and nature with the Brantford Bucket List, a guide to all the best things to do in Brantford, Ontario, Canada all year round.

Get off the beaten path and into a city filled with history, culture and nature with the Brantford Bucket List, a guide to all the best things to do in Brantford, Ontario, Canada all year round. #Brantford #Ontario #Canada #Travel #underratedplaces

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11 Comments

  • Reply Andi October 24, 2019 at 10:19 am

    I have a huge Canada bucket list and the more people share about cool spots like this, the longer it gets! And it seems the autumn in Brantford is the best time of year! This little town has a lot to offer!

  • Reply Ashley Hubbard October 20, 2019 at 10:08 am

    Brantford looks like it has a lot going for it – I can see why you think it’s underrated! And, so cool that so many famous people have called it home and they pay homage to them in different ways. The healthy rabbit restaurant looks great for me as a vegan! Definitely going to check this town out on my next visit to Ontario!

  • Reply Tania Muthusamy October 11, 2019 at 12:09 am

    I haven’t been to Canada at all. Brantford looks like such a lovely town to visit with so many interesting things to do. Seeing the Bell Homestead and the Brant Museum would be fun. And I would love Nutella Day, and so many breweries to choose from.

  • Reply Linda October 10, 2019 at 4:58 am

    This looks like a beautiful city I’d love to explore. The Grand Wellness Centre would definitely be something I’d enjoy as well and the food – on my! Sign me up.

    • Reply Olivia Rutt October 10, 2019 at 7:04 am

      I think Grand Wellness was a highlight as well! Can’t say no to a little R&R!

  • Reply Retha Charette October 9, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    I need to get my photo taken with that Wayne Gretzky statue! I have so many things to do on my upcoming trip now. Thanks for this!

  • Reply Juliann - Browsing the Atlas October 9, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Wow! I’d never heard of Brantford, but I’d love to go see it all for myself! So much history! It looks beautiful, so it’s no wonder Bell called it his dreaming city. Very cool. The Restobar would probably be my first stop. I love places like this that experiment with their menus. But then I’d move on to the breweries. I will seriously have to add this to my list of places to see the next time I road trip up that way.

    • Reply Olivia Rutt October 9, 2019 at 8:48 pm

      It’s definitely underrated as a city! And you bet, Fume is so amazing. I nearly teared up with joy when I saw my plate. It tasted so freaking good!

  • Reply Jenn and Ed Coleman October 8, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    You had me sold at World Nutella Day. Although, I think I would be a bit leery of any celebration that simultaneously hosts ice skating and swimming. It seems like one of those would be held in the wrong season. February in Canada, I am betting against swimming.

    • Reply Olivia Rutt October 9, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      Hahaha. I get that lol, but it’s held in a community sports complex, so it’s warm for swimming and cold for skating!

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