The beautiful Grand River bounds Holmedale in Brantford on three sides; Homedale extends North East to Brant Ave from the Lorne Bridge in the East and Glenhyrst Gardens in the North.
Holmedale/ North End in Brantford
Over the years, I learnt Brantford has its share of noteworthy talented citizens who have impacted different fields. One such resident is E. Pauline Johnson, the celebrated poet and speaker. She was born at the family home Chiefswood on Six Nations, the youngest of four children. Pauline, at 23 years old, moved to Brantford shortly after her father’s death. They lived at 7 Napoleon St, now the block of Dufferin Ave in Holmedale neighbourhood. Her occupation is listed as an elocutionist. Pauline Johnson died of breast cancer in 1913.
Brant Avenue/ Holmedale in Brantford
Brant Avenue, a historically prominent avenue in Brantford’s Holmedale neighbourhood, is becoming one of the commercial/ financial thoroughfares in the city; it runs into the downtown core and, with name changes, straight up to the town of Paris. While Brant Avenue has large homes, you are likely to find law offices, insurance companies, photographer studios, bookstores, a high school, and culinary forward restaurants like Health Rabbit Restaurant. As an avid foodie, I enjoy walking into the customer-friendly restaurant for a sandwich or a cup of organic specialty teas.
In addition, Brantford Collegiate Institute, BCI is one of the oldest schools in Brantford.
Brant Avenue Historic District.
There is no shortage of historical homes on Brant Avenue, and Brant Avenue Armoury is a glowing example of the history. The Armoury is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building that intersects various neighbourhoods at the corner of the downtown core. Brant Avenue is also close to colleges and universities, so It caters to students’ housing, entertainment, and job needs.
According to Canada Historic Places
“The Brant Avenue Heritage Conservation District includes buildings on Brant Avenue between St. Paul Avenue and the Lorne Bridge in the City of Brantford. However, this district includes the Armoury, Brant Ave. Church and the Brantford Collegiate Institute, most of the 132 properties are residential, built between 1870 and 1889.”
The City of Brantford has brought me a wealth of knowledge in my journey, especially knowledge about heritage designation. As a realtor REALTORS®, I knew enough about heritage buildings but now, I understand better.
According to Canada’s Historic Places, Brant Avenue in the neighbourhood of Homedale in Brantford fell within the following criteria for it to have been designated:
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Brant Avenue Heritage Conservation District include its:
- proximity to the commercial and industrial core of Brantford
- south entrance marked by the Cenotaph and Tom Thumb Park
- combination of large and modest structures
- construction of buildings as duplicates, pairs or mirror images
- features embedded in the traditional architectural styles such as Neo-Classical, Italianate, Gothic, and Queen Anne
- elements that enhance the buildings’ scale, including brick or stone quoins, window and door openings, balconies, bargeboard, cornice moulding, belt courses, entrance porches, cresting, and window and door labels
- traditional architectural details, including cornices, trims, mouldings, window and door labels, arches, quoins, balustrades, cresting, and chimneys.
Dufferin Avenue in Brantford
Another important Avenue in Homedale is Dufferin Avenue. Dufferin Avenue runs parallel to Brant Avenue. Although close to Brant Avenue’s hustle and bustle, Dufferin is calm, interesting, and family-friendly . For instance, every time I walk or take a drive through Dufferin Ave, it is like the first time, there is always an interesting bit you missed the last time and so I stop. But some things remain constant: the large well-manicured lawns, families riding bicycles, and leisurely walks with dogs, which creates a picture that warms the heart.
Dufferin’s closeness to everything; schools, parks and playgrounds, Wilkes Dam and the bustling downtown yet the avenue stands without distractions but still approachable. This is particularly noted as I took a walk in Preston park, the quiet demeanor of the street sight of the park bursting with colours stimulated my senses. The bloom of Cherry blossom announced. “Springtime!”
Wilkes Dam in Holmedale Brantford
According to history, George Samuel Wilkes built the first dam in 1850 to make power for his mill downstream, but today the dam is used to control the water flow to the intake pipe at the water treatment plant.
Wilkes Dam was the first place I visited in Brantford as a visitor, and I am still drawn to it daily. The dam is one of the top-rated tourist attractions in Brantford. My family enjoys launching our kayaks and canoes from Wilkes Dam down the Grand River during the summer. Equally important, visitors and tourists take advantage of the outdoor water activities, including the kayaking, fishing, and canoeing on special occassions.
Finally, community awareness is very important to the residents of Homedale in Brantford. Residents gather to create activities and events for the neighbourhood. “Porch Party” is a very popular example of such events. Homedale Neighborhood Association created “Porch Party” to showcase the talents of the neighbourhood residents whilst getting to know their neighbours. This is an annual event that has taken place every summer for the last few years.