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. This would be their first Canadian home. Alexander was then 23 years old and sick. His parents were afraid he had a lung infection known as Tuberculosis. His brothers had died from the same illness. The Bells hoped that the clean air of Canada would help him to get well. After eight months on the farm, Alexander was well again and offered a teaching job at the Boston School for the Deaf in the United States. He would come back to Brantford to spend the summers and holidays with his family. 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”.

In 1881, the Bells sold the farm and moved to Washington D.C. From this time until 1909, their home, or the Bell Homestead as it became known, had six other owners. The Homestead was donated in 1909 to the Brantford Parks Department so that it could be opened to the public as a parkland and museum. Today, the Homestead looks very much like it did when the Bells lived here, with their original furniture, belongings, and models of Alexander Graham Bell's first telephones.

After Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, his father, Melville, and a close friend, Reverend Henderson, started the Bell Telephone Company in Brantford in 1877. The first telephone office was in Reverend Henderson's home. The two men ran the company until 1880. Today, the Henderson Home is next door to the Homestead, with the original telephone office and other telephone displays for visitors to see.

Queen Elizabeth II declared the Bell Homestead a Canadian National Historic Site on June 28, 1997.