Do you like sports? A bustling downtown? Fun events? Museums? Wayne Gretzky?
If your answer is ‘yes’ to any of those questions, you’re going to love Brantford.
A historic city, Brantford has museums for learning about its past, but also provides a lot of modern day interests including nature spots, family-friendly activities, shopping, cultural venues, good restaurants and sports centres.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Brantford, scroll down or visit the city's tourism website.
Where is Brantford?
Brantford is located in southwestern Ontario along the Grand River. It’s an hour from Toronto.
Things to Do in Brantford
Brantford is the hometown of Wayne Gretzky and honours both The Great One and the great Canadian sport of hockey at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre. This facility has NHL-sized ice rinks, a swimming pool, indoor room and weight room. It also houses the Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition, which displays jerseys and other memorabilia from hometown heroes.
History buffs can learn more about Brantford at various museums. The Bell Homestead National Historic Site was the home of a young Alexander Graham Bell and where the telephone, his famous invention, would come about. Next to this farmhouse, the Henderson Home was the office location for Canada’s telephone company and is also now a museum with antique phone equipment on display.
The Canadian Military Heritage Museum focuses on Canada’s military history along with its link to Brantford. Her Majesty's Royal Chapel of the Mohawks is the first Angelican church in Upper Canada and the oldest surviving church in Ontario. It was built by the British crown for the Mohawk people. Tours of the church are available. The Woodland Cultural Centre preserves indigenous art, history, language and culture.
Take a gamble at Elements Casino Brantford, which has slot machines, table games, a poker room and onsite restaurant.
For families, the Earl Haig Family Fun Park offers some summertime fun, with its lazy river, swimming pool, batting cages and splash pad. The Brant-Brantford Twin Valley Zoo is a wildlife park with lions, primates, birds and other species along with educational programs and picnic areas. Or have fun indoors at Kidtastic Adventures, a jungle themed playground.
In Glenhyrst Gardens, a park along the Grand River, The Glenhyrst Art Gallery is Brantford’s main gallery, with contemporary fine art exhibits.
Getting into nature in Brantford is easy. Its trail system connects to nearby cities and runs through different parts of Brantford. The West Brant Hiking Trails are woven throughout city neighbourhoods, while the SC Johnson Trail runs between Paris and Brantford and across farm fields, prairie grasslands and rocky parts. The Brant Conservation Area has around 400 camping sites plus trails and a swimming pool.
Brantford Farmers’ Market takes place Fridays and Saturdays, and Brantford’s restaurant scene ranges from upscale and casual to cafe setting and pub fare.
On The Lam Restaurant serves a raw menu alongside gourmet selections and old school craft cocktails. The Olde School Restaurant provides a refined lunch and dinner experience that’s accompanied by a piano bar. Zander’s Fire Grill & Brew Lounge gets high marks for their oven baked beer can chicken and other pub grub plus their fun’ décor. With a globally-inspired palate, Sociable Kitchen + Tavern has plant and gluten-free menus and all-day offerings including burgers, bowls and salads.
The Blue Dog Café posts their orders on their blackboard and cups adorning their cute canine logo. Healthy Rabbit is health conscious with its veggie bowls, salads and smoothies.
Find local breweries and distilleries in Brantford too. The Bell City Brewery offers a good lunch or early option paired with their craft beers. Try brews from Mash Paddle Brewing Company, a small-batch brewery. And discover the delectable flavours of vodka, gin and bitters at Mann's Botanical Distillery, Brantford's craft distillery, tasting bar and cocktail lounge.
Brantford’s Neighbourhoods & Districts
Many of the areas within Brantford are residential, but there are a couple of options for having a wander.
Artisans’ Village and Cultural District
In what was the Brantford Cordage Company, a former twine factory, the Artisans’ Village and Cultural District is a growing collective of retail, commercial and industrial businesses.
Adjacent to the Henderson neighborhood, this area is noted
for the sprawling Victorian era homes along Dufferin Avenue.
Things to Know About Visiting Brantford
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Brantford, you'll appreciate what the locals recommend around the city.
Where to snap a great Instagram pic
Where to watch the sunrise
The gardens overlooking the Grand River at Glenhyrst Art Gallery provide a quiet and serene space to sit and enjoy a stirring sunrise.
Favourite local gem
Grand Wellness Centre Spa specializes in an array of therapeutic treatments, including the unique Beer Spa Treatments – which comes with a glass of local beer or wine!
Where to go for a hike
Nestled in a bend of the Grand River, Brant Conservation Area features great hiking trails – and a large swimming pool to cool off after your hike.
Just outside the Bell Telephone Company of Canada building is statue of Alexander Graham Bell, in a similar seated pose as the Abraham Lincoln statue in Washington, DC.
Last updated: November 18, 2022