Celebrating our History

You may have noticed our new “Celebrating Brantford’s History” campaign on traffic boxes throughout the city. The objective of this campaign is to beautify the city while also celebrating our unique heritage.

Learn more about each photo with our helpful chart that includes the location of the traffic box, the photo at that location and the historical significance behind the photo. 

Please share your thoughts with us and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #CelebrateOurHistory

Images for this project were provided by the Brant Historical Society. Partners in beautifying Brantford.

Photo Gallery: Celebrating our History will appear here on the public site.

More information about each photo can be found below: 

Alexander Graham Bell - King George at Dunsdon

Alexander Graham Bell, his parents and sister-in-law came to Canada from Scotland and England in August of 1870 and settled on a small farm just outside of Brantford, Ontario. On July 26, 1874 he invented the telephone here. The next summer, he wrote the first copy of his telephone patent plans. And, in August, 1876 he made the world's first successful long-distance telephone call between Brantford and Paris, Ontario. Because all of this happened here, Brantford became known as “The Telephone City”.

Capitol Theatre c. 1973 - Queen Street at Dalhousie

Opened in 1919 as the Temple Theatre and designed by renowned Scottish Architect, Thomas W. Lamb, the building was originally a vaudeville and silent movie house. By 1929, Famous Players owned the theatre and changed its name to Capitol Theatre. The Corporation of the City of Brantford purchased the Capitol in 1986 with a vision to preserve Brantford’s heritage and create a cultural centre for the community. Over several years, the theatre was reborn with an authentically restored auditorium and improved services for guests and performers. During restoration, the theatre was renamed the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts in tribute to the memory of the Sanderson family, a well-known supporter of the restoration and many other local causes. 

Lorne Bridge c. 1953 - Dalhousie at Brant Ave. 

Constructed in 1924 while Frank Adams was City Engineer working with builder/contractor Port Arthur Construction Company, the Lorne Bridge is a relatively large concrete arch bridge. It has arch spans that are visually distinguished by a lightweight appearance for a bridge of its age and size. The original bridge at this location was pin-connected Whipple through truss bridge of 254 feet in length. The Marquis of Lorne, who was the Governor General of Canada from 1878-1883, attended the opening of the Whipple truss in 1879. This is why the crossing is today called the Lorne Bridge.

College Theatre - Dalhousie Street at Market

The College Theatre building still stands on the north side of Colborne between Clarence and Alfred streets and the marquee is still on the building and used for signage. The Brantford Expositor notes the final preparations for the opening of the College Theatre on Thursday, April 6, 1939. Opening with a seating capacity of 550 people with up-to-date heating and air conditioning, the latest sound equipment, and a 13 foot by 18 foot silver screen, it delighted audience with its premiere film “Delinquent Parents”.

Fitzjohn Coach of Canada, c. 1950 - Brant Ave. and James

Fitzjohn Coach of Canada announced coming to Brantford to build a bus company near the Brantford Airport in 1949.  The first bus rolled off the line April 29, 1950 with Mayor Howard E. Winter viewing the bus before it was sent to Toronto.  The City of Brantford purchased five buses from the company for its transit system in 1952.by 1958, Bluebird acquired the company for its bus manufacturing needs.

E. Pauline Johnson, c. 1890 - Colborne Street at Kiwanis Way

Mohawk poetess E. Pauline Johnson was one of North America’s most notable entertainers in the late 19th century. A poet, author and performer, her father was a hereditary Mohawk chief of mixed ancestry and her mother was an English immigrant. She is listed as a Person of National Historic Significance and her childhood home is a National Historic Site and museum.

Streetcar on Colborne Street, c. 1906 - Colborne and Shellard Lane

A group of people taking Brantford Street Railway company around 1906. Businesses in the photo are W.F. Cockshutt Grocers, J.J. Sutherland, booksellers, stationers and cut glass importers. This is on the south side of Colborne Street with the streetcar turning onto Market street.  Residents had service in West Brant, along Brant Ave, and an East Ward loop, along with the popular Colborne Street line taking residents for picnics at Mohawk Park

Brantford’s Canadian National Railways Station c. 1905 - Market and Grey Street

Brantford’s Canadian National Railways Station is a picturesque, one-story, brick railway station, built in 1905. The placement of Brantford on the Grand Trunk Railway Company (GTR) main line, and the construction of the Brantford station in 1905, reflect a short period of prosperity in the history of the GTR. During this time, the railway played a key role in Brantford’s economic development, providing access to markets, materials and labour.

Central Fire Station, c. 1930 - Lynden and the Fire Hall

On this special occasion, firefighters were demonstrating their equipment outside the station.

Carnegie Library, c. 1913

In 1902, the cornerstone was late for the new public library after a gift of $35,000 by Andrew Carnegie. By 1913, the library quarters were rendered inadequate by Judge Hardy and appealed to Carnegie for an additional $13,000. The addition included three large reading rooms – one for men and one for ladies on the main floor, with an additional men’s room where smoking was permitted in the basement. Mr. Henwood, the head librarian, introduced the Dewey Decimal system to the library.