In 1784 Captain Joseph Thayendanegea Brant, a Mohawk Chief led the Six Nations Iroquois from Northern New York to Canada where they settled on a tract of land in south central Ontario in the Grand River area. The land was granted to the Indians as a reward for their support of the British during the American Revolution. Brantford is located in a valley region of the Grand River in a pocket of Carolinian forest.
The person considered the first white settler in Brantford was John Stalts, who in 1805 built a log cabin where the War memorial is now located, at the west end of Dalhousie Street. This was on the farm of Mohawk chief John Hill. By 1818 there were only 12 people that lived in the community. There was a thriving village nearby at Mount Pleasant but not here. It wasn't until the Hamilton and London Road was completed in 1823 that settlement began to take place.
For over 30 years Brantford has hosted the International Villages Festival held in early July when ethnic groups set up different “villages” around town and offer traditional food and cultural activities as well as displays of arts and crafts.
For year-round fun the Wayne Gretzky Centre is the place to be. The 65 metre long Olympic-size swimming pool is open year round, and has a Torpedo Tube Waterslide. The center also has a hot pool and sauna, as well as fitness facilities for those looking to workout. The Wayne Gretzky Centre is also home to an arena, and the Sports Hall of Recognition.
While Wayne is definitely this city’s most famous former resident, Brantford boasts another great citizen - Alexander Graham Bell. His father, Melville, brought his family to Canada to rescue young Graham from tuberculosis, which had already taken two of his brothers. It was here in 1874, along the banks of the Grand River that Mr. Bell conceived the idea of the telephone. Today The Bell Homestead National Historic Site is the former residence of Alexander Graham Bell and his family. Bell 's father, an authority on the acoustics of speech, and his mother who was deaf, stimulated their son's lifelong interest in teaching the deaf to speak, a passion that proved crucial to the discovery of the telephone. Restored and open to the public the house includes a working kitchen and many Bell family artifacts.
The Canadian Military Heritage Museum has a collection of artifacts numbering over 10,000 that relate to the history of the military from the Loyalist era of the 1700’s to the present. Displays include vintage military vehicles, replicas of WWII airplanes, weapons, medals and uniforms.