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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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NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Toronto Entertainment District a condo community?

Toronto Entertainment District a booming condo community in the making

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Toronto Entertainment District a booming condo community in the making

If you haven’t been to Toronto’s Entertainment District lately, you’re in for quite the surprise.

In fact, you might not even recognize this booming neighbourhood.

Long a Toronto hot spot filled with some of the city’s best theatres and restaurants, the Entertainment District is in full-on transition mode – into also becoming one of the most prestigious condo destinations.

A place to live

The Entertainment District, a condo community?

Yes, that same area punctuated by such landmarks as Roy Thompson Hall, the Princess of Wales Theatre, and Canada’s Walk of Fame, known as a place to play and eat, is now becoming known as a place to live.

“Look around at all the buildings being built and how the neighbourhood is changing and will continue to change,” Alan Vihant, senior vice-president, highrise at Great Gulf recently told Condo Life at the ground-breaking for the company’s 357 King West project. Great Gulf’s 357 King West is a 42-storey condo at the corner of King St. W. and Blue Jays Way.

This development and population growth is now leading to other expansion. “It’s not just a place to live now,” Vihant says. “A lot of offices are moving here, the bars and restaurants continue to evolve. It’s a great time to be building down here.”

Essentially born in the 1990s as an entertainment and tourist hub, with a burgeoning nightclub scene elbowing its away among the existing theatres and restaurants, the early 2000s brought the first wave of a condo boom.

More recently, SoHo Metropolitan Hotel & Residences, Festival Tower, and Bisha Hotel and Residences are among some of the notable condo projects that are up and running.

Abuzz with excitement

One key cultural attraction is TIFF Bell Lightbox, which opened in 2010 on the northwest corner of King Street and John Street. The first five floors of this 42-storey tower serve as headquarters for the Toronto International Film Festival, while the Festival Tower residences sit atop. With TIFF Bell Lightbox serving as host to countless international stars and pre-screenings during the annual festival, the area is often abuzz with excitement.

Add to this more recent landmark developments such as Bisha Hotel and Residences, and Nobu Residences, and you have an expanding array of exciting residential opportunities.

Then there’s Wayne Gretzky’s Restaurant at 99 Blue Jays Way, and more recently even a Wahlburgers (of the Wahlburgers restaurant chain and famed brothers Donny and Mark Wahlburg). All of it a stone’s throw from the Rogers Centre, Ripley’s Aquarium, the CN Tower, Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Scotiabank Arena.

The team at Great Gulf breaking ground at 357 King West.
The team at Great Gulf breaking ground at 357 King West.

Transition to excellence

And more is on the way.

Great Gulf and Ed Mirvish Enterprises, for example, recently announced they have reached an agreement on the sale to Great Gulf of the site of the proposed landmark Mirvish+Gehry project in the Entertainment District.

All of it adds up to an area in transition indeed – to excitement and excellence.

 

Location, location, location

Bordered by Spadina Avenue, King Street West, University Avenue and Front Street

Key landmarks

  • Roy Thompson Hall
  • TIFF Bell Lightbox
  • Wayne Gretzky’s Restaurant
  • Wahlburgers
  • Rogers Centre

Select existing condos

  • SoHo Metropolitan Hotel & Residences, by Mastercraft Starwood
  • Festival Tower, by Daniels
  • Bisha Hotel and Residences, by Lifetime Developments

Select upcoming condos


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