Not a 'tourist trap' per say, but there really is nothing special about this mall. Since you have to go through the mall parking lot to get to the Brantford Tourist Centre don't be fooled.
You'll find the same chain stores here as you'll see in any Canadian mall. The standard food court, clothing stores and greeting cards, with nothing going for it architectually speaking.
Unique Suggestions: Stop by the Brantford Tourism Centre. Yes our city spent way too much money on this building that locals debated and grumped over for the longest time, but one must admit it is pretty nice.
However, at a price tag of over one million dollar$ to build - it better be nice! So stop by and get some info.
Fun Alternatives: To truly experience Brantford - shop our local merchants! You can see my suggested shopping guide on the Brantford Shopping Tips section.
In a nut shell we had a gorgeous, large, expensive building formerly known as the Icomm Building that sat very, very empty.
Behold the birth of our charity casino. While it makes a pretty backdrop to some amazing Brantford sunsets, the inside is quite standard to that of any other large charity casino in Ontario.
Granted I like the fact that this is a charitable organization but if you're coming to experience BRANTFORD, you won't find it in the casino.
Unique Suggestions: Spend $20 and hope for the best. If you lose still take heart in knowing it went to a good cause. The eatery inside reputably has good food so catch a bite to eat there. Know that you have to be over 19 years old to be admitted as alcohol is served on the premises and the casino is largely smoke-free.
Fun Alternatives: Just behind the casino is a fantastic little loop of a larger walking and biking trail. Cross pedestrian bridge and look over the side, you just might see some beaver and Canadian Geese. Cranes are also know to frequent the area.
After crossing the bridge turn left and walk atop of the scenic designated look out point and view the large outdoor map of the area that also boasts some great historical Brantford facts. Walk under the vehicle overpass and you'll find yourself in beauiftul Lorne Bridge Park.
Return to the pedestrian bridge but this time walk past it, going straight for 5 minutes and you'll find yourself coming to the old railroad bridge. Attached to this is a pedestrian walkway. Walk on it.
When you finish crossing the river make another left and it will take you back to casino. Allow yourself a comfortable pace, the whole walking loop I described should take a little under half an hour.
Many cities and towns have great downtowns. Brantford is not one of them.
Our downtown, once a flourishing place of great shops, started going downhill when the area known as "The Market Square" was the object of a Mohawk "curse" many years ago. The Mohawks claim they own the land on which the mall is built and the downtown will not thrive again until the market square is back in Native ownership.
Unique Suggestions: Much of the downtown is currently under demolition (Colborne St.) and the few businesses that remain there are reputable and visit-worthy. Including Quan 99s, SPCA Thrift Shop, The Brantford Public Library and more.
Dalhousie Street is a cleaner and more safe bet, be sure to check out the beautiful old post office building with lion statues, the Sanderson Centre, The Brantford Expositor Newspaper and The Accentor.
Be sure to check out Brantford's architecture and monuments like the picture I took below. (By the bus station).
Fun Alternatives: Stop by Earth Goodies on 395 St. Paul Avenue to pick up a free guide to some funky, independant and family run stores in the area.
Some buildings downtown are quite nice and noteworthy, and the downtown is being re-vitalized so stay tuned. Wilfrid Laurier University students usually stay in the area which is helping to reshape the image.
Most people wouldn't put this under the 'tourist trap' catagory. And granted, I have nothing bad to say about this place, in fact it is a great day for the family to spend a hot summery afternoon to cool off and have fun.
So why did I put this in this catagory? - Because chances are, if you live in a city with a populous of over 75,000 you too will have a 'waterpark'. The arcade is overpriced just like all arcades and the rest of the activities are probably about average prices.
Unique Suggestions: A family of five can expect to pay $24 for use of all water areas and a round of 18-hole mini-golf, plus a $1 admission fee each. ($5)
But you can bet the kids will want to play on the go-karts too ($20 for 15 laps), bat some balls at the batting cages ($9 for 90 balls) and the arcade ($20). Add in your locker rentals, and no doubtedly food and drinks ($50) and the cost can surmount pretty quickly. Your day of fun can easily add up to $130. But it may be worth it if you're traveling with kids and need a break!
Fun Alternatives: Spend $30 for admission and the family day pass of unlimited water areas and a round of mini-golf.
Skip the batting cages, go-karts, arcades & bring your own healthy snacks and beverages. As dusk hits when you're kids are probably done swimming, they'll want to hit the above. Instead, pack up and hit the trails that run right behing the waterpark to let them expend any extra energy. Voila! You just saved yourself $100.