At the heart of every growing community is a prosperous downtown. As a result of revitalization efforts since 1999, Downtown Brantford has been significantly transformed, serving as a model for other municipalities. This transformation has contributed to Brantford being recognized as one of 25 "urban growth centres" in the Province of Ontario.

The expansion of major academic institutions also helped to inject new life into the downtown core. Transformative projects such as the new state of the art Laurier Brantford YMCA Athletic and Recreation Centre, the redesigned Brantford Public Library, and the city's year round gathering place for profile events, Harmony Square, continue to redefine the Downtown.

The City of Brantford has been a steadfast partner to Wilfrid Laurier University. Thanks to its foresight and support our campus opened the doors of its first building in 1999. It has since grown to occupy more than 20 new or repurposed structures in the community’s core. Over time the university’s relationship with the city has only deepened.

Heidi Northwood, Senior Executive Officer, Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford Campus

More residents and businesses relocate Downtown every year. This growth fuels the success of many new and expanding businesses. Along with a changing demographic and continued investment, Brantford's dramatically improved downtown offers unique opportunities for new and expanding businesses.

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Digital Main Street

Digital Main Street (DMS) is an innovative program designed to help main street small businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, grants and Digital Service Squads teams of street-level experts that help main street small businesses manage and grow their operations through technology adoption.

Locally, the Brantford-Brant Business Resource Centre (BRC) helps coordinate the DMS program. Businesses in the downtown can contact the BRC to find out how they may qualify for support to increase their online presence.

Downtown statistics

Downtown Brantford is home to a growing number of residents, restaurants, services, shops, and students. The data table below provides a brief overview of the size.

Downtown Brantford - Number of Residents, Students, and Workers
Statistic Source Year Value
Residents (non-students) Statistics Canada 2016 2,644
Post-secondary students attending (not necessarily living in the downtown) Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College 2021 (estimate) 4,200
Total employment City of Brantford 2018 4,396

Downtown history

Offering metropolitan amenities with a charming small town feel, Brantford is a lively community with historic neighbourhoods and a rich industrial legacy that continues today.

In the mid-1980's, an economic downturn led to a decline in manufacturing. This decline ultimately became a catalyst in the city's current transformation to meet the needs of a new economy.

Through careful strategizing, the Downtown began to change in 1999 as the Downtown Revitalization Plan was implemented.

With education as a key driver, Downtown Brantford has attracted strategic investment from post-secondary institutions, the business community, and other regional partners. Engaged and supported by the City of Brantford, the Wilfrid Laurier University Brantford Campus opened its doors with 39 students in September 1999. Today enrollment has grown to over 3,100 local students. Our strategic partnerships also include Conestoga College and McMaster University. In the next 10 years, post-secondary institutions' enrollment in Brantford is expected to grow significantly.