Media

Spec: Brantford a 'Greener Pasture'

By Jason Leach
Published December 10, 2007

Here's one from the "good chuckle" files. According to the Spectator, Brantford is a "greener pasture" for Hamiltonians to consider moving to.

Apparently they have "all the amenities of Hamilton" too. Interesting. They're doing one heck of a job hiding them then, since I've been there many times and have never seen a downtown with neat shops, dining and cafes.

I must have missed their massive waterfront with boat tours, trolleys and expansive green space.

I seem to have skipped all of their bustling shopping districts similar to our Locke, Ottawa, Westdale and Concession Street neighbourhoods and totally missed out on the hundreds of acres of Bruce Trail / Dundas Valley-like trails, conservation land and 60+ waterfalls.

C'mon, Brantford. Do a better job of selling yourself.

I'm now expecting that the Spec will do a piece early next week calling Hamilton the "greener pasture" of Toronto. Maybe it wouldn't kill them to rave about our own city if we're going to start doing stories from the census.

After all, many more people left Toronto for Hamilton than the other way in the past five years.

Don't hold your breath waiting for that report, though. Instead, take the family and enjoy next weekend in beautiful, bustling Brantford.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By Frank (registered) | Posted December 10, 2007 at 09:29:23

Haha! Honestly though, what's the Spec called the Hamilton Spec for? The local news section is a whole, what, 1 page? It's not like their stellar coverage of local news has earned them the name "Hamilton" Spectator. What's to be expected?

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By hmag (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2007 at 12:22:44


Jason - I want to comment on your post. I think Brantford is a very different kind of city - first off it is quite a bit smaller than Hamilton and definitely has that small-town kind of feel with amenities suitable for young families, retirees and working class folks.

As Hamilton is becoming a place for Torontonians to escape high house prices and fast paced lifestyles - I think the same could be said for many in Hamilton leaving for a slower pace, cheaper houses and job opportunities. Think of it as a constant shift. Brantford is really close - I think 20 minutes by car - so even if Hamiltonians do move they are close enough to family and friends to visit - but being in different lifestyle.

It is very true that folks from Toronto are moving here to also be close to their hometown, perhaps to commute to work or be close enough to the big city while enjoying the perks that come when living in Hamilton.

We shouldn't get angry with the Spec pointing out things like this - they should just do the other side of it too. We aren't losing people to cities like Brantford - they're just shifting from other places like Toronto.



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By jason (registered) | Posted December 10, 2007 at 12:36:36

that's my point HMag. you can be sure they'll NEVER do the 'other side' making Hamilton look great. It's always the negative. I forgot to mention, they had a little graph in the Spec showing various stats on the two cities. Despite all the stuff we've been told in the past by our EcDev department, Brantford has a higher tax rate and much higher development charge fees than Hamilton according to the Spec's graph.

In no way was I attempting to slight Brantford. It's exactly as you say - a completely different city. I have no interest in comparing Hamilton to Brantford, Burlington or Barrie.

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By peter (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2007 at 18:01:30

can't believe they're still going on about how wicked awesome brantford is. know what i do to avoid all that lameness? don't read it.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted December 10, 2007 at 19:01:41

Thank God Maple Leaf didn't set up shop in Brantford. We'd never hear the end of it. Actually we're still not hearing the end of it, are we? My new nickname for the Spec: The Broken Record.

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By souwester (anonymous) | Posted December 11, 2007 at 11:09:05

Jason,

Apparently you HAVE missed quite a bit in Brantford!

Our downtown is coming alive again with university students, restaurants and shops .. come and enjoy thai food, sushi or vegan fare -- along with our world-famous french fries!

The waterfront boasts almost 60-km of trails and bridges and the new Lowe's Loop -- an exercise area -- is supposed to be completed in the new year.

We have plenty of shopping areas -- including little boutique stores that offer a variety of unique items.

Picking on Brantford is usually a way for Hamiltonians to feel better about being picked on by Toronto!


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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 11, 2007 at 12:09:50

Hi souwester, thanks for the perspective. I think one significant difference between Hamilton and Brantford (and there's an analogous difference between Hamilton and Burlington) it that the latter city seems to be a reasonably straightforward place to do business.

In Hamilton, by contrast, development decisions are too often sharply politicized. Council regularly micromanages affairs without a coherent plan or strategy to follow. Worse, where such a plan or strategy exists, Council routinely ignores its own mandate to make ad hoc decisions, often on the fly, in bizarre and counterproductive ways.

An article in Saturday's Spec made a similar argument: "The consultant's report [on economic development in Hamilton] noted poor communication at city hall, the city's negative image, delays in planning approvals and a perception of a fractured city council."

http://www.thespec.com/article/293366

Further, its accountability to different "stakeholder" sectors is idiosyncratic and highly variable - consider the recent contrast between Council ignoring hundreds of resident letters asking not to implement the transit fare hike and then eagerly following a single letter from the Hamilton Halton Home Builders Association asking not to implement the developer fee hike.

As I've written elsewhere on RTH, while other cities focus on attracting innovative business, Hamilton is still stuck on bidness:

http://raisethehammer.org/article/437

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 11, 2007 at 18:03:16

and to reiterate. I had no intention of picking on Brantford. I highlighted some of Hamilton's assets that don't exist to the same level, or at all, in Brantford. Obviously there are things in Brantford that can't be found here in Hamilton too.

I attempted to make my point carefully so as not to come across as slighting Brantford and appreciate the feedback souwester.

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By everywhere (anonymous) | Posted December 27, 2007 at 18:29:51

I like all cities and curious to visit some I've never visited. Lived in TO & loced it, Oakville(school), Burlington hometown(lived raised there)but Brantford? I certainly have no complaints there. Friends there & more open minded city for cycling etc. It's kinda like Hamilton where u see abandoned stores but also nice areas old and new views, weird things like that railway only mtres from homes adjacent to road. And many cool events that we never have in Hamilton. I almost moved there but long way to visit here in hamilton. As long as we keep in touch is almost like being there or there....

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