City to Mark 50th Anniversary of Brantford City Hall 

For Immediate Release
11/27/2017 
Contact: Maria Visocchi - Director, Communications and Community Engagement 
Phone: 519-759-4150 

BRANTFORD - Tuesday November 28, 2017 will mark the 50th anniversary of the official opening of Brantford’s City Hall at 100 Wellington Square, and fittingly, the anniversary falls on the same evening as the next Brantford City Council meeting where the milestone will be formally recognized.

Following is a brief chronology of the iconic building’s construction and opening:

On January 11, 1963, His Worship Mayor Richard B. Beckett announced the sale of the “City Hall Square” (known as Market Square) for commercial development, signalling a major shift towards the revitalization of the city’s downtown core. A public referendum held in June 1964 overwhelmingly supported the sale of the “Old City Hall” previously referred to as the Brantford Municipal Building.

Members of the jury who awarded the design and construction of the new build included Mr. Charles Trudeau, Montreal Architect, partly responsible for the design of Ottawa’s City Hall and brother of then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. The jury recommended the Award to Toronto Architect Michael M. Kopsa, whose winning design was among 38 total designs submitted.

Mr. Kopsa said he designed the new distinctive City Hall “to depict the great strength and stability of democratic government – a building of prestige and solemnity which constantly reminds all citizens of their obligation to the community.” The unique design and construction of the Council Chambers was said, “to reflect an air of prestige and solemnity, continually reminding those within its walls of the obligation they have to the citizens of this community.” The peak at the top of Council Chambers was meant to symbolize the “centre of municipal government.”

The first City Council meeting in the new City Hall was held in September 1967 followed by the official opening ceremony on November 28, 1967, dedicated by His Excellency, The Governor General, The Right Honourable Roland Michener.

Considered ultra-modern, Brantford’s “New City Hall” was designed and constructed at the height of the architectural concept “Brutalism” - a popular trend from 1960-1970. Typical “Brutalist” features include, concrete precast exteriors, battered windowless walls, round-ended stair towers, tall vertical window openings, wood form work left exposed, and distinguishing concrete mass interior features.

Mayor Chris Friel said that, “For five decades, past and present members of City Council and employees of the City of Brantford have been truly honoured to work in this distinguished building, proudly serving our community."

QUICK FACTS

  • The total area of both the City Hall building and the Provincial Court was 60,000 square feet, City Hall encompassing 50,000 sq. ft. and the Court 10,000 sq. ft.
  • 13,000 tons of concrete was poured for construction of the buildings
  • 84,000 board ft. of Douglas Fir lumber from British Columbia was used for the original build
  • Total cost of the project was estimated at $2,000,000
  • The construction contest winner, Toronto architect Michael M. Kopsa was awarded a prize of $7,500 for his winning design

To honour 50 years of governance in the historic building, a presentation depicting highlights of the “construction contest” as well as the official opening ceremony will be on display for public viewing in the foyer of City Hall until December 15, 2017.