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Brantford

Brantford – On the move and poised for growth

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Brantford – On the move and poised for growth

You may know Brantford, Ont. only as the birthplace of Wayne Gretzky and the place where Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, but these days, this city of about 100,000 has a lot more going for it than just history.

Namely, its growth potential and bright future.

Powerhouse location

Indeed, one thing in Brantford’s favour is a prime natural location in Southwestern Ontario, on the Grand River and along Hwy. 403, with proximity to major consumer and industrial markets throughout North America. That makes it a powerhouse locale for business, and with improving transportation infrastructure, also for living here and commuting elsewhere in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Developed largely as an industrial centre catering to the agricultural sector (remember Massey-Ferguson and other farm implement names?), Brantford once thrived as a manufacturing town. But by the 1980s, following massive consolidation in the heavy equipment industry, the economy was in steady decline. Closures and bankruptcies left thousands unemployed, and economic depression set in.

Fast-forward to mid 1990s when the Brantford to Ancaster section of the 403 was completed, opening up easier access to U.S. markets such as Buffalo and Detroit, and an economic revival was on.

More recently, companies such as Procter & Gamble and Ferrero Group (maker of the world-famous Nutella and Ferrero Roche chocolates) have set up shop in Brantford.

World Nutella day

Ferrero, in fact, is a key employer. After opening the $150-million plant in 2005, employing 600 workers, the operation has expanded twice, investing another $140 million and adding almost another 100 jobs. The city even hosts an annual World Nutella Day celebration every February (this year it was Feb. 5).

All of this development has led Brantford to boast one of the lowest unemployment rates in Ontario, well below the provincial and national averages.

With a diversifying economy and expanding employment opportunities, those moving to the city will also find homes that are far more affordable, compared to Toronto and other areas in the GTA.

Housing affordability

“You can sell your home in Mississauga for $720,000 and buy the same home in Brantford for $420,000,” former Brantford mayor Chris Friel said last year when Moneysense magazine ranked the city the number one place in Canada to buy real estate. “You have all the amenities you need, and yet you’re only five minutes away from beautiful little towns and a rural area.”

Revitalization efforts of the downtown area have brought a mix of old and new, home to a growing post-secondary scene, with four institutions, including Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College.

Economic diversity, housing affordability, lifestyle, proximity to amenities and transportation options… All of these developments have Brantford poised for growth. According to the City, population is forecast to reach 163,000 by 2041.

Forget history. Brantford is preparing itself for a bright future as a place to live, work and play.

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Location, location, location

• Population 100,000, located in Southwestern Ontario in Brant County, on the Grand River and along Hwy. 403

• Distance from Toronto, 100 km; 135 km from Buffalo; 275 km from Detroit

Key landmarks

• The Bell Memorial, commemorating Alexander Graham Bell

• Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre

• Elements Casino Brantford

Select upcoming housing developments

Dufferin Crossing by Schuit Homes – Single-family homes

Portside at Woodway Trails by Royal Arc Developments – Townhomes

Portside at Woodway Trails by Huron Creek Developments – Townhomes


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Local Focus: Brantford & Caledonia

Local Focus: Brantford & Caledonia

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Local Focus: Brantford & Caledonia

by Gale Beeby

Two great locations on the Grand River offer a more relaxed lifestyle

HOUSING OPTIONS

Brantford is probably best known as the hometown of two great Canadian heroes — Alexander Graham Bell and Wayne Gretzky. Known as the “Telephone City,” Brantford has a host of housing options, as does it’s neighbour, Caledonia. Both have great historic downtowns and lots of new housing tracts. Click here for a full list of homes for sale.

LEISURE PURSUITS

Local museums include the Bell Homestead, the Woodland Cultural Centre, the Brant Museum and Archives, the Canadian Military Heritage Museum and the Personal Computer Museum. Brantford is the home of several theatre groups including the Brant Theatre Workshops, the Dufferin Players, His Majesty’s Players, Ichthys Theatre, Stage 88, Theatre Brantford and the Whimsical Players. The Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts is a local performance venue.

The Caledonia Toll House is the third oldest building in Caledonia still standing; the first being Haldimand House and the second being Caledonia Mill. The Caledonia Mill is a historic building built in 1846 and is a heritage property under the Ontario Heritage Act. It is the last timber-frame water-powered mill along the Grand River.

The Wayne Gretzky International Hockey Tournament is held in Brantford annually and the Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016. In 2010, the tournament established a Guinness World Record for the largest Street Hockey Tournament in the world with 205 teams and just over 2,090 participants.

Other annual events include the Brantford International Villages Festival, the Brantford Kinsmen Annual Ribfest, the Chili Willy Cook-Off and Frosty Fest. The Bell Summer Theatre Festival takes place from Canada Day to Labour Day at the Bell Homestead.

Brantford has many sports teams including the Red Sox of the Intercounty Baseball League, the Braves of the Junior Intercounty Baseball League, the Blast of the Allan Cup Hockey League, Galaxy SC of the Canadian Soccer League, the Harlequins of the Ontario Rugby Union and the 99ers of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. In Caledonia, the Corvairs compete in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.

PARKS & REC

Brantford is an internationally acclaimed Communities In Bloom champion. Lorne Park and Victoria Square are brimming with spectacular annuals and shade trees and the grounds of historic Bell Homestead and Glenhyrst Art Gallery boast impressive floral displays.

There are dozens of trails in the area. Some are for hiking only, like the Grand Valley Trail or the Six Nations Nature Trail, while others are for hiking and cycling, like the Trans-Canada Trail system, S.C. Johnson Trail and the Gordon Glaves Memorial Pathway.

The trails can alos be used for crosscountry skiing and snowshoeing.

EASY ACCESS

The Brantford Municipal Airport is just outside of town, while the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport is located about 35 kilomtres east. Via Rail operates a train service through downtown Brantford on the Quebec City-Windsor corridor, with a stop at Toronto’s Union Station. Brantford Transit services the city, and Greyhound Canada has service to Toronto, Hamilton, London and Windsor. GO Transit operates bus service between Brantford, Hamilton and Burlington. The area is served by Highways 403 and 24.

BY THE NUMBERS

Brantford population: 97,500

Brantford walk scores: 45

Brantford.ca

Caledonia population: 9,680

Caledonia walk scores: 48

Caledonia-Ontario.com


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Destination Ontario: Waterloo Region

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Destination Ontario: Waterloo Region

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

Big city amenities, small town ambiance

Photography, Courtesy of Explore Waterloo Region

The cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge are known as the Tri-Cities. Situated in southwestern Ontario on the Grand River, the Region of Waterloo is Canada’s 10th largest metropolitan area.

Grand River at Galt

A BIT OF HISTORY

From 1800 to the 1830s, Pennsylvania Dutch Mennonites, from upstate New York and Pennsylvania, moved north to Canada and settled throughout the Waterloo region. Today, there’s still a strong Amish and Old Order Mennonite presence in the area.

From mid April to late October, visitors can take a 75-minute Mennonite farm tour that includes a stop at an Old Order Mennonite farm. The Old Order refers to those Mennonite groups of Swiss/German and south German heritage who continue to practice a lifestyle without many elements that are associated with modern technology. The tour also includes a stop at the Farm Quilt Shop, where local, handcrafted items can be purchased.

NATURE AT ITS BEST

The region of Waterloo has more than 500 kilometres of on-road bikeways, as well as off-road, multi-use trails. A part of the Trans Canada Trail, cyclists can ride through Kitchener, Waterloo and the Township of Woolwich to St. Jacobs Market.

More than 500 kilometres of multi-use trails.

The gently winding Grand River is one of Canada’s heritage rivers, and runs for more than 300 kilometeres. Four popular canoe routes are offered by the Grand River Rafting Company. The three-hour Cayuga Paddle is suitable for beginners. The three-hour Oneida Paddle and five-hour Cambridge Paddle are at an intermediate level. And, for the more adventurous, try the six-hour paddle from Glen Morris to Brant. The churning waters of the Elora Gorge attracts white-water enthusiasts. Launch your own craft, or rent one on-site, at the Grand River Conservation Authority.

FARM FRESH

St Jacobs Farmers’ Market is Canada’s largest, year-round farmers’ market, and features hundreds of vendors selling Ontario’s farm-fresh produce, crafts and imported goods, as well as scrumptious, ready-to-eat foods. It is located along the Conestogo River, eight kilometres north of Waterloo.

St Jacobs Farmers’ Market

Located in the downtown core, the Kitchener Market is a popular Saturday destination for locals and visitors. Pick up farm-fresh eggs, produce, flowers and homemade sausages, from one of the many Mennonite-operated farms in the Woolwich and Wilmot areas.

St. Jacobs’ horse-drawn train

SWEET TOOTH

A sure sign of spring is the The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, scheduled for the coming year on April 7th, 2018. It is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest, single-day, maple syrup festival. Founded in 1965, it continues to grow in popularity, and offers piping hot pancakes, as well as a half-mile long, outdoor mall, which features baked goods, handmade crafts and, of course, freshly made maple syrup. Buskers, live performances and saw-testing skills, add to the festivities. Visitors can also take a ride on the Waterloo Central Railway steam train, from St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market to Elmira.

West Montrose Covered Bridge

CHUGGIN’ ALONG

The Waterloo Central Railway organizes themed train experiences. The Great Train Robbery Adventure fictionalizes a dramatic event (with outlaws and horses) where a substantial amount of gold is on board – en route to the Elmira Bank. Other themed excursions, include the St. Patrick’s Night Train, The Vimy Ridge Steam Train, and the Father’s Day Train.

WCR Train Robbery

The West Montrose Covered Bridge was declared a provincial historic site in 1960, and is known as the Kissing Bridge. Built from 1880 to 1881, the bridge is Canada’s oldest covered bridge, and the last wooden covered bridge in Ontario.

SUDS-SENSATIONAL

Established in 1969, Kitchener Waterloo’s Oktoberfest runs for nine days every October. Steeped in the region’s German heritage, it is known as the largest Bavarian Festival in North America, and the second largest in the world. In 2018, the festival celebrates its 50th anniversary from October 5th to the 13th.

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Local Focus: Waterloo Region

Local Focus: Waterloo Region

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Local Focus: Waterloo Region

by Gale Beeby

Including Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo

HOUSING OPTIONS

Kitchener and Waterloo are mostly made up of single-family homes and there is a great selection of home types, from historic homes to modern townhouses and condos. But single-family homes are still the norm. Click here to see a list of new homes for sale.

THE WORKPLACE

The area’s economic heritage is rooted in manufacturing. While the local economy’s reliance on manufacturing has decreased in recent years, more than 20 per cent of the labour force remains employed in the manufacturing sector.

In recent years, Kitchener and Waterloo’s economy has diversified to include high-value economic clusters. In addition to internationally recognized finance and insurance and manufacturing clusters, digital media and health science clusters are emerging within the city.

SCHOOL DAYS

Public schools are administered by the Waterloo Region District School Board and Catholic schools by the Waterloo Catholic District Schoool Board.

The University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College offer post-secondary education, while McMaster University has opened a satellite campus for its Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in Kitchener.

LEISURE PURSUITS

The region has a lot of cultural venues and events, including the Contemporary Art Forum, The Open Ears Festival, IMPACT theatre festival, the Multicultural Festival, the Kitchener Blues Festival, Mill Race Festival and the Rock the Mill music festival.

Canoeing on the Grand River. Photo: Grand River Conservation Authority/C. Auchinleck
Canoeing on the Grand River. Photo: Grand River Conservation Authority/C. Auchinleck

It is also home to the Homer Watson House & Gallery, McDougall Cottage Historic Site, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, THEMUSEUM, JM Drama, Centre in the Square, The Cambridge Centre for the Arts and the Doon Heritage Museum.

Cambridge has some of the most historic bridges in Waterloo Region and the Black Bridge Road Bridge — built in 1916 — is Cambridge’s only truss bridge.

Oktoberfest Timeteller
Oktoberfest Timeteller

And, of course, Kitchener-Waterloo is home to Oktoberfest, an annual nine-day event that is billed as Canada’s Greatest Bavarian Festival and is the largest Bavarian festival in the world outside Germany. While its best-known draws are the beer, other family and cultural events also fill the week. The best-known is the Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade.

PARKS & REC

Victoria Park
Victoria Park

Kitchener’s oldest outdoor park is Victoria Park in the heart of downtown. A cast-bronze statue of Queen Victoria, which was unveiled on Victoria Day in 1911, is the centrepiece of the park. Another significant park is Rockway Gardens, occupies a long narrow strip of land alongside King Street. Here there are many fountains, ponds, waterfalls and rock grottoes.

Birdwatching on the Grand River. Photo: Grand River Conservation Authority/S. Rhodes
Birdwatching on the Grand River. Photo: Grand River Conservation Authority/S. Rhodes

The region has an extensive and safe community trail system and the Grand River draws nature-seeding tourists to the region. The Grand River Conservation Authority operates 11 conservation areas. Many of the parks include places to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Swimming, windsurfing, camping, hiking and bird watching are just some of the activities available.

Old Post Office in Cambridge
Old Post Office in Cambridge

RETAIL THERAPY

The downtowns of each of the region’s cities and townships offer some very stylish and forward-thinking retailers, as well as restaurants, cafés, salons and spas. Fairview Park is Kitchener’s largest shopping mall, while Conestoga Mall in Waterloo is also home to the Galaxy Cinemas. In Cambridge, the Cambridge Centre also has an NHL-sized ice rink.

Waterloo County Jail and Courthouse
Waterloo County Jail and Courthouse

EASY ACCESS

The Conestoga Parkway is the area’s main highway, connecting with Highway 401. Public Transit throughout the Region of Waterloo is provided by Grand River Transit, which was created by a merger of Cambridge Transit and Kitchener Transit. GRT operates a number of bus routes in Kitchener, with many running into Waterloo and two connecting to Cambridge.

GO Transit provides bus service from Kitchener to Mississauga Square One and train service to Union Station during rush hours. Passenger train service is provided by Via Rail.

The Region of Waterloo International Airport is in Breslau.

BY THE NUMBERS

Population: 524,000

Amalgamated: 1973

Known best for: Oktoberfest

Walk Scores:

  • Kitchener: Average of 47
  • Waterloo: Average of 44
  • Cambridge: Average of 44

RegionOfWaterloo.ca



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