Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Enjoying Downtown Brantford

As you may know from past blogs, I like Downtown Brantford. I know that might be an odd statement to say, or admit to. After all, it was called the 'worst downtown in Canada'. Certainly you know what I've said about things as they pertain to the downtown core, the problems with parking, population density, the tearing down of all those great buildings on the South Side of Colborne.

Yet I like the core. If you consider places such as the Public Library, Harmony Square, some of the great little restaurants and even the development, both restoration and the new construction of Laurier Brantford, there is a lot to consider.

It is truly a great place to go for festivals. I put up the International Jazz Festival against a lot of others. Sure its not as famous as Toronto, or Montreal or Vancouver, but where else would you want to be in September, then in Brantford listening to some great jazz. I know I can say this with a lot of people, but I've been to every festival and the weather has been great, the music cool and the crowd grooving to the sounds.

As for restaurants, I like Warmington's Bistro. The atmosphere and the milieu is funky, the service may be a bit slow, but the food is very good. The wraps are amazing.

I will admit, I can be a bit cranky when it comes to Laurier Brantford, the fact they want to tear down a few more heritage buildings or it seems if the City has a spare dime they give to the University, yet it does bring people to the core, and its the source of my newspapers I read. It's great they've added the National Post to the Hamilton Spectator. But don't tell anybody about that.

So why am I writing about the core?

Couple of things, first of all, I believe we should consider there are signs of life. I know people say its a bit dead but I want to say this, where there is business, it should be celebrated. It truly proves the axiom, where there's life, there's hope. It's easy to walk around and look at the vacant buildings, certainly a walk through Market Square will demonstrate there is a lot of vacancies. If a business is looking for space, there's a lot of it. However I'm not going to give the list, rather celebrate what's there and where there is growth.

I was walking past the old Ford Plant, and its being developed.

A yoga studio and a new bakery and cafe. Might not be much, but it is something. The bakery, Sophia's will be gluten free and might be a good place to stay. The fact it's there means there is recognition this can be an important corner. I suspect with the fact the Y/Laurier partnership is going to happen, this will be an important corner. I know its possible to say 'I'll believe it when I see it'. I understand there has been a lot of 'plans' to develop. Yet the fact there is now money coming in from other sources, although anything that comes from the Province might be suspect, in fact I would cash that cheque from Queen's Park real quick.

Then there is the plan for the bus depot.

It is something that Brantford needs, its small, kind of rundown and well, a typical small bus depot- a bit sketchy. It also has a Tim Horton's and you don't want to be there during the busy times, it is nuts.

I know there's going to be a lot of talk where to place a new structure, I want to think if the city is interested in getting with the GO Transit system there will be a new structure. I don't think its a pipe dream, the city is growing, something like 8.7% since the last census and with most of it being commuter population, its important. I don't think a train would be possible, at this present time, but certainly expanding the transit system so that we have a bus connection to Hamilton and Aldershot would be great.

For many, the better days of Brantford Downtown may be in the past, but there can also be a renaissance coming in the future. It will be great.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for the spot light on my business, sophia's. My husband Lucas and I are big supporters of Downtown brantford. Well brantford in general really. My husband and 2 of his friends started the advocate, a local print publication because there are so many people that care about this city and want to be a part of the growth that is happening. There are so many wonderful stories to tell about the positive changes that have occured and to remind people of the awesome things that are here and always have been. You should email a submission idea to Lucas@octopusred.com or to the Brant advocate site. Thanks again, Laura Duguid