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.

Timeline: Downtown Milestones


  • Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) opens Brantford Campus


  • Official opening of Harmony Square


  • Lucy Marco / Heritage House opens (joint City – WLU residential / student building)
  • Incentive Programs Launched [Brownfield Financial Tax Incentive Program(BFTIP) and Development Charges Credit]


  • Colborne Street South Revitalization Project


  •  Conestoga College opens Brantford Campus


  • Expositor Place Residence complete (WLU)
  • Official opening of Prominence Point


  •  WLU purchases One Market Square


  • Launch of Brantford GO Bus Service


  • Downtown Public Library Façade Refresh
  • La Landscape de Kanata Public Art Project at BPL Main Branch


  • Official Opening of WLU/YMCA Athletics and Recreation Complex
  • Provincial Funding received for Main Street Revitalization (additional planters, bike racks, benches and waste disposal bins)
  • Launch of the City-WLU CityStudio Program


  • Launch of Rapid Access Addictions Medicine (RAAM) Clinic
  • 2019 : Renovations commence at One Market Square
  • Launch of Brantford Downtown Outreach Team
  • Centennial anniversary of Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts
  • Construction begins on One Wellington Street (140 units)
  • Launch of Brantford’s Grand Exhibit Public Art Project


  • Market Street Walkway lighting upgrades
  • Increased COVID-related support for vulnerable persons (hygiene stations, shelter beds)
  • Launch of the Encampment Network Response Protocol
  • Downtown Traffic Boxes (4) wrapped with historical imagery (anti-graffiti measure )
  • Launch of Colborne Point Gateway Project
  • Launch of Temporary Patio Program
  • City initiates Environmental Assessment for Downtown (infrastructure, aesthetics, safety)
  • Launch of the Mayors’ Housing Partnership Action Plan
  • Increased parkade security and lighting features
  • Launch of the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force Action Plan
  • Launch of Library Outreach Worker Program (joint City – BPL initiative)


  • Re-opening of Brant’s Crossing Bridge
  • Lighting upgrades at Harmony Square
  • Installation of garbage compactors as part of Clean Brantford Initiative
  • Launch of the Mobile Medical Van Program (joint GRCHC – St. Leonard’s initiative)
  • Launch of City-wide Graffiti Mitigation Program
  • Construction begins on 7 Erie Avenue (96 units)
  • Official opening of Brantford’s New City Hall
  • Completion of Sanderson Centre new marquee
  • Rainbow crosswalk installed on Colborne Street to support LGBTQ2S+ community
  • Launch of the Downtown Mobile Security Team
  • Relocated Crystal Cottage (Heritage designated structure)
  • Guardians and Guides City Hall Public Art Project
  • Launch of Downtown Community Improvement Plan (CIP)


  • Additional Special Constables approved for the downtown
  • Harmony Square flag pole installation
  • Research-based Memorandum of Understanding between City and WLU
  • Walter Gretzky bust unveiled at New City Hall
Map: Brantford Urban Growth Centre

If you cannot view the above map, open the map in a new window.

Video: Downtown Brantford

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.

Read news about Downtown Brantford

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.