Ontario Travel: Discoveries In and Around Brantford: Driving through Tutela Heights





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Published on Oct 29, 2009

October 10, 2009, my second day in Brantford, was an absolutely action-packed day. I got going early at about 8 am when I headed downstairs and requested Jennifer, the manager at the La Bodega Inn, to give me a tour of this unique boutique hotel. She kindly showed me two rooms on the hotels European-themed third floor: the British Room and the Italian Room. The highlight of the British Room was a giant mural of the Tower Bridge in London. We then headed into the meeting rooms which are flooded with natural daylight and enhanced by colourful murals that cover two entire walls and depict the heritage buildings of Brantford. Finally, I also saw a spacious attractive room on the African-themed second floor.

After a brief excursion outdoors to take in Harmony Square, the Beaux-Arts-style Federal Building and the Victorian-era Temple Building that is now Brantfords popular Arts Block, we had breakfast in the attractive Coffee Culture café right next to the hotel.

Melissa, our local tourism expert, came to pick us up right on time at 9:30 for our whirlwind tour of some of Brantfords major sights. We started with the Bell Homestead, the home of Alexander Graham Bell, which was the backdrop to the invention of the telephone. From here we moved on to the Mohawk Chapel, Ontarios oldest church, where we received an introduction to Brantfords native history. The Farmers Market was our next stop where I had a chance to chat with a number of the local farmers and merchants.

We then made a brief stop back on Harmony Square where there was a child-friendly free Fall Festival going on with a fashion show, a hip hop dance class, make-up applications and other dance performances. Now it was time for a bit of a workout for ourselves: Melissa took us on a much-needed bike-ride beside the Grand River during which we thoroughly enjoyed the serene atmosphere on the quiet winding paths by the river.

We stopped in at the Station Coffee House & Gallery for a brief lunch. This café is located inside the historic Brantford Railway Station and also features a gallery. After our brief rest we got back in the van and headed to Paris, a quaint riverside town from the 1850s, about 15 minutes from Brantford. During a brief walk we admired the Victorian streetscape on the towns main street and stopped in for a quick chat at the Café Paris which offers a lovely riverside terrace.

From here we headed to Robert Hall Originals in St. George, where we admired a wide variety of artistic creations made from pewter and natural stone. Robert even gave us a demonstration of the pewter casting process and explained that he has moulds for several thousand different objects that are for sale at his studio.

In the late afternoon we headed into the historic village of St. George where we met our hosts for the night: Rene and Jose Gonzalez from the Two Roses Bed and Breakfast who have worked miracles to restore their 1860s mansion to its former glory. This Victorian jewel was going to be our home for the night.

To cap off this amazing day we had dinner at La Cantinella, an Italian restaurant on St. Georges Main Street, housed in a historic 1850s former inn. The hosts Renato and Susanna Reale provided us with an excellent dining experience and a truly welcome atmosphere. Susanna and her daughter Alex even gave me a tour of the kitchen where I had a chance to meet Susannas son Domenic and her mother in this family-run restaurant.

At about 11:30 pm I finally fell into my plush bed at the Two Roses B&B, ready for some much-needed sleep for another interesting day in Brantford.


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