Description of Historic Place
The Brant Avenue Heritage Conservation District includes buildings on Brant Avenue between St. Paul Avenue and the Lorne Bridge in the City of Brantford. Although this district includes the Armoury, Brant Ave. Church and the Brantford Collegiate Institute, the majority of the 132 properties are residential, built between 1870 and 1889.
The district was designated by the City of Brantford for its heritage value under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act in 1988 (By-law 239-88).
The south entrance to the Brant Avenue Heritage Conservation District is marked by the Cenotaph (the Brant County War Memorial) and Tom Thumb Park. This popular area saw rapid residential growth due to its proximity to local employment opportunities, shopping and easy access to the commercial and industrial core in the Colbourne Street area.
Brant Avenue is presently part of Highway 2, a busy two-way main artery, which began serving Brantford in circa 1823 with the opening of the Hamilton to London section of road. Since its construction the street has functioned as a vibrant entry point to the city.
The increase in economic development in Brantford from 1870-1889 resulting from the opening of large farm related companies such as Harris Kirby Mower (1871) and the Cockshutt Plow Company (1878), resulted in a boom in residential construction. It was during this time that most of the larger homes along Brant Avenue were built. Residing in these large impressive homes were the “movers and shakers” of Brantford, which included Henry Brethour, Director of the local Fire Company and a business man; Hanson Harris, co-founder of Massey Harris; William Buck of Buck Stove Works; and Clayton Slater, owner of Wincey Mills. Each played a key role in creating growth in the City of Brantford. By 1890, the Brant Avenue neighbourhood was considered fully developed.
Noteworthy properties include the W.H Brethour House, David Plewes House and the Brant Avenue Church which were designed by local architect John Turner. Turner also designed St. Andrew's United Church, Brant Community Church, and the Brant County Court House, all located around Victoria Park Square in downtown Brantford.
Brant Avenue is a combination of both large and modest structures creating an exceptional streetscape. The buildings feature traditional architectural styles including Neo-Classical, Italianate, Gothic, and Queen Anne, creating a cornucopia of detail and an interesting skyline. Predominant elements on the buildings include: brick or stone quoins, window and door openings, balconies, bargeboards, cornice mouldings, striking belt courses, interesting entrance porches, iron crestings and various window and door labels.
Many of the buildings have been constructed as duplicates, mirror images, or complimentary pairs adding a uniqueness to the District as a whole. They feature segmented or round headed windows. A number of the buildings had porches added during the Edwardian Period (1903 -11). These additions possess a level of detail, scale and proportion compatible with the original building design.
Sources: City of Brantford By-law 239-88; Brant Avenue Heritage Conservation District Study, Townpride Planning Consortium, 1988.
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 which 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, trim, mouldings, window
and door labels, arches, quoins, balustrades, cresting, and chimneys