A Tour of the Bodega Inn, the Bell Homestead and the Mohawk Chapel
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 Bodega Inn, to give me a tour of this unique boutique hotel. Before we started the tour of the hotel, Jennifer took me right outside to Harmony Square, Brantford’s favourite gathering spot. All sorts of events and programs happen here: during the winter there is free family skating while the summer months offer lots of diverse entertainment: the Brantford Jazz Festival, Yoga in the Square, Chess in the Square as well as Movies in the Square where the locals can gather to watch free movies outdoors under the stars. There is always something happening on Harmony Square.
Brantford’s Harmony Square, just after the rain stopped
Across the street from The Bodega Inn is the historic Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, Brantford’s beautifully restored 1125 seat heritage theatre. The Brantford Arts Block, a community arts centre housed in the historic Victorian-era Temple Building is next door to the theatre, followed by the Beaux-Arts style sandstone Federal Building. The Bodega Inn is embedded right in the middle of these outstanding heritage buildings. On the main floor of the hotel is a stylish Coffee Culture café that also serves as the breakfast venue for the hotel guests.
Downtown Brantford, with the Bodega Inn on the left
Jennifer then took me into the lobby of the hotel where I studied a photo book that talked about the history of this area. A historic inn from the late 1800s had been located here, but it burnt down in 1962 and had to be demolished. The current building is about two years old, but the architectural style was inspired by the Victorian area.
The cool lobby of the Bodega Inn
Today’s Bodega Inn features eighteen very large hotel rooms, all equipped with a full kitchen and dining area. Eleven long-stay apartments are available as well. Every hotel room has a unique décor: all rooms on the second floor of the hotel are decorated in an African theme, the third floor rooms are Asian inspired, while the fourth floor features a series of European-inspired rooms.
The mural of the Tower Bridge in the British Room
Leaving the lobby behind, we took the elevator to see some of the hotel rooms. Jennifer showed me two rooms on the hotel’s 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. Other European inspired rooms are titled Germany, France, Italy, Greece and Spain. Like all the other rooms at the Bodega Inn, every single room is unique.
The huge colourful mural in the conference room of the Bodega Inn
Our next stop was a large meeting room that was flooded with natural daylight and enhanced by colourful murals that cover two large walls and depict the heritage buildings of Brantford. The view over Harmony Square from the meeting room’s four large windows is spectacular. Finally, I also got to see a spacious attractive room on the African-themed second floor.
Getting ready for breakfast at Coffee Culture
Now it was time for breakfast and my friend and I headed next door to the Coffee Culture café where I enjoyed an egg and cheese bagel. Melissa, our local tourism expert, came to pick us up right on time at 9:30 for our whirlwind tour of some of Brantford’s major sights. We started with the Bell Homestead, a National Historic Site. It is the home of Alexander Graham Bell and played an important role in the invention of the telephone.
The Bell Homestead, one of Brantford’s most important historic sites
The Bell Homestead is located on the banks of the Grand River in the attractive Tutela Heights neighbourhood of Brantford. It consists of the actual home of the Bell family who settled in this farmhouse when they came to Canada from Scotland in 1870; they lived here until 1881. This house provided the inspirational background for Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone. Next door is the Henderson Home, the house of Reverend Thomas Henderson, a good friend of the Bell family, which happens to be the location of the first business office of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada.
Living and dining room at the Bell Homestead