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Brantford, Ontario (Canada)

Brant County

Last modified: 2018-07-06 by rob raeside
Keywords: ontario | brantford | beaver |
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[Brantford, Ontario] image by Peter Orenski, 12 November 2012
based on research and information provided by James Croft and Kevin Harrington

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Brantford is the county seat of Brant County and is located on the Grand River. The settlement was christened Brant’s Ford in 1827 and was the site chosen by Joseph Brant and his Six Nations leaders as their headquarters when the arrived in 1784 after the close of the American Revolution.

Although white settlement dates from 1825, it was not until the 1830s when the First Nations people surrendered the town site, that growth really began. The settlement was incorporated as a town in 1847 and a city of May 31st, 1877. Brantford is widely known as the telephone city for in the summer of 1874 Alexander Graham Bell invented the phone there. Reference is made to this fact by the tulip style telephone being present on the fly of the prior flag of Brantford.
Neal Wilson, 13 July 2016

The City of Brantford (93,650 inhabitants in 2011; 7,247 ha) is located in southern Ontario. Brantford is known as the Telephone City, as it was here in 1874 where Alexander Graham Bell first conceived the idea for the telephone.

"The Grand River, a Canadian Heritage River, has played an integral part in the development of the Brantford, Brant County, Six Nations and New Credit communities. The river valley is steeped in stories, traditions and history. In 1784, Captain Joseph Thayendanegea Brant, a Mohawk Chief, led the Six Nations people from upper New York State to the Grand River basin, a  shallow crossing spot. Here, they made their village, which is now known as Brantford." - Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 16 November 2012

Current Flag

Text and image(s) from Canadian City Flags, Raven 18 (2011), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) by permission of Eugene Ipavec.


The flag of the City of Brantford is a Canadian pale design of red-white-red with a simple shield in the centre in red, three-fourths the height of the flag. It has a horizontal top and simply-curved sides forming a pointed “U” shape. On it is a large brown beaver, facing the hoist and perched on a brown log with ends gnawed into points, all with black details. The beaver’s tail hangs from the log toward the centre, and a branch, slightly longer than the tail, extends downward from under the hoist side of the log, also toward the centre.
Doreen Braverman, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


The beaver (Castor canadensis) has long symbolized Canada, officially adopted as the national animal in 1975. First placed on the town’s corporate seal in 1850, it has remained a symbol of Brantford for over 150 years. According to the city: "As well as its patriotic and local heritage associations, the beaver is an apt emblem for a community where industry, both in the sense of attitude and commerce, has long been important." Industriousness, of course, is represented in the phrase “busy as a beaver”. The shield comes from the city’s arms.
Doreen Braverman, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


The city applied to the Canadian Heraldic Authority for a grant of a flag.
Doreen Braverman, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011


Robert D. Watt, Chief Herald of Canada, Canadian Heraldic Authority.
Doreen Braverman, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

More about the flag

In 1977 the city registered its first coat of arms, in basic design nearly identical to the current arms, as a trade-mark. This coat of arms was presented to the city by the Zonta Club, a women’s service organization. On 7 March 1989, the Kiwanis Club of Brantford, another service organization, assisted the City of Brantford in petitioning the Canadian Heraldic Authority for a grant of arms. In April 1991 the city requested that a new flag be presented with the newly granted arms, in a ceremony that took place on 24 September 1991.

On 22 May 2001, Chapter 155 of the City of Brantford Municipal Code restated under Article 3, the official uses of the flag, that had been originally adopted on 22 May 1984:

  1. The municipal flag shall be flown outside City Hall, and shall be displayed within the Council Chambers and within each municipal Courtroom at 102 Wellington Square.
  2. The municipal flag may be freely flown or displayed by any person. The municipal flag shall be available for purchase by the public through the City Clerk’s Office.
  3. The general design of the municipal flag shall remain unchanged, but may be altered to include the words “City of Brantford”.
Doreen Braverman, Canadian City Flags, Raven 18, 2011

Photos of the flag
Ivan Sache, 16 November 2012


Previous Flag

[Brantford, Ontario] 1:2 image by Eugene Ipavec
Source: Canadian City Flags, Raven 18

In 1974, in preparation for the city’s centennial, a flag committee was formed on the suggestion of several civic groups. Advertisements invited “Entries from any interested person, professional or amateur, who resided in Brantford or Brant County.” The committee received 143 submissions – entries were primarily from school children and the committee was “disappointed adults had not seen fit to enter the competition.”

Two submissions were selected as the basis for the design eventually decided upon. Judy Spagnuolo, a pupil at St. John’s Separate School and John Kalmar of Coronation Public School were the entrants whose designs were used as the basis for the city flag.

Dominion Regalia, a Toronto flag manufacturer was asked to refine the ideas and offer suggestions for a suitable and pleasing pattern for an official municipal flag. The Civic flag was dedicated on March 15, 1976. It was described as “A red diagonal bar from right to left, on a white background, separates a black upright (daffodil type) telephone in the lower right corner from the official city crest, in red and black in the upper left corner.

With the release of the flag, public controversy was reflected in the media. The Brantford Expositor ran a story on September 11, 1975 headlined, “Brantford’s Flag ‘Poor’ in many areas.” Other comments over the next few days included:
“It is terribly weak in design, too many elements”, “The telephone has been done to death… and should be removed to strengthen the flag”, “I believe children should be encouraged but it was a tactical error to leave it to them.” The largest complaint received was regarding the red diagonal bar across the flag.

With the controversy that constantly surrounded the original design, a new flag design was eventually developed. It was based on the Canadian flag with a 1:2 proportions and the beaver from the center of the city shield of arms centered in a white square.

The City’s Shield of arms, adopted in 1850, is also on the prior flag along with the city crest. This section of the flag consists of a shield with a beaver in the center. The shield is flanked with a Mohawk Indian carrying a bow on the left and a pioneer carrying an axe on the right. The motto, “Industria et Perseverantia” translates to “Work is Rewarded Through Perseverance”. For clarity reasons, items such as daffodils, grass, waves of water and details within the crest are omitted.
Neal Wilson, 13 July 2016