Robert Deboer has been working on this project for the past 15 years, and it was not until he took it to Chris Friel that the project was able to move forward with the City of Brantford Parks and Recreation Department. Micheal St. Amant president of Brant Historical Society was in attendance as Robert Deboer unveils the plaque located in
Lorne Park on the Fordview Trail near the Lorne Bridge.
This weekend marked the last in our series of Walking Tours for this year with Brian Moore as he took us on his Monuments and Memorials Walk. Although the day was cold and cloudy, the 15 people that attended ensured that we were kept in the warmth of friendly company.
We started outside the armouries as we were given a brief overview and were advised of the monument to commemorate the three battles from the Boer War. On the one face are the names of three individuals from Brantford who were killed during the Boer War and the other three have pictures of the battles where their lives were lost. It was dedicated on Victoria Day in 1903.
Our attention then focused on the Armoury itself as Brian pointed out the official name is now “Sgt. William Merrifield VC Armouries”. National Defense wanted to raise awareness of Victorian Cross recipients by renaming armouries. Sgt. William Merrifield was chosen for Brant as he enlisted with the 4th Battalion, which originally captured enlistees from Halton, Hamilton, Niagara, and as far west as Peel Region.
We then stopped briefly at Gore Park to be reminded that this was with the original location of the World War I Memorial erected by the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E.). It has been moved just down the street to Tom Thumb Park where the memorial current resides.
We briefly stopped across the street from Major Ballachey’s House at the corner of Brant Ave. and Church Street. Major Ballachey served in WWI and was killed while performing his rounds with the 58th Battalion. Before the war, he served with the Board of Education and resigned from that position to serve in the war.
We continued on our journey to the next brief stop at Grace Anglican to notice the stone work of their memorial tower that was also erected as a monument to the war. After this, we walked to the Bell Memorial where the park is wedge shaped, signalling the breakdown of distance as a barrier by the invention of the telephone. Originally, this feature was built as a major planning feature, where West Street would become a large boulevard to facilitate movement from the train station to downtown. The original plans also called for a fountain to be installed on the backside of the monument. Alexander Graham Bell made a speech stating that the concept of the telephone was thought of in Brantford, not Boston like others had been claiming.
Finally, we attended the Brant County War Memorial which was dedicated in 1933. It was originally constructed to remember those who died during WWI, but names have been added from WWII, the Korean War, and the recent Afghanistan Conflict. It should be noted that the Six Nations was the largest Aboriginal contributor to the war effort, but none of their names are listed on the memorial, like Donald Brant. This monument was constructed by Walter Seymour Allward, who also built the Bell Memorial and Vimy Ridge War Memorial. The subsequent addition of the seven statues were meant to represent men and ladies from each contingent (Army, Navy, and Air Force), but the women have the additional representation of the Medical Corp.
Family Counselling Centre of Brant Exhibit Opening
Last night we had our opening of the Family Counselling Centre of Brant’s exhibit opening. The Brant Historical Society partnered with the Family Counselling Centre to celebrate their 100thanniversary. As the doors opened, we were excited to receive our guests for the event.
Shortly after 7PM, the President of the Brant Historical Society, Michael St. Amant, spoke about the history of the Family Counselling Services of Brant and how they have contributed to the community. He highlighted how the organization has changed and evolved, much like the Brant Historical Society, over the years starting in response to WWI when it was then called the Social Service League. Susan Reid, President of the Family Counselling Services of Brant highlighted how the exhibit brought to light information that they were not aware of in their history. Finally, Dave Levac spoke about what Family Counselling Services of Brant has done, noting that they have saved lives in the community through their work.
Attendees enjoyed seeing the exhibit, which includes an interactive portion while nibbling on snacks and having a glass of wine. People also enjoy the engaging conversations with their neighbours and work colleagues to celebrate the success of the organization.
The Creepy Baby
Woohoo! 800 likes!
As promised, we’ve put together a special post for our 800 followers. Introducing: Creepy Baby.
The artefact is a baby doll made from wood and plaster, with painted-on features. It has been dressed in a cotton sleep set, and….
Ok. We’re sorry, it’s just ridiculously creepy. We actually had to draw straws to decide which one of us had to pick her up to find her identification number. We had to get the least superstitious person to take the picture so the doll wouldn’t steal anybody’s soul. It’s just a creepy, creepy baby.
We don’t actually know anything about this doll except a bit about its composition. Its facial features have been painted on, in what we can only assume was a deliberate attempt to make it look menacing, and that someone took great care to sculpt its bottom, which is remarkable considering it would likely be covered by clothing most of the time. The item has found a home in the Brant Cradle which typically lives in our Edwardian Bedroom exhibit, fascinating and terrifying visitors and employees alike.
We’ve had a few visitors mention hearing the laughter of a little girl while touring upstairs despite the fact that there are no children in the museum. Some employees swear up and down that the place is haunted, and that it’s this doll who’s responsible. Because we don’t know where she came from, our popular mythology is that she just mysteriously appeared in the museum one day, found a place in one of the higher-visibility displays, and has been nightmare fuel ever since.
We’re putting together a social media series involving creepy baby. That’ll be starting shortly, but in the meantime we’ve put together a lil .gif to keep everyone entertained. Enjoy!!