The Brantford Farmers’ Market, Harmony Square, a Bike Ride & a Historic Train Station
We quietly cycled down the Gilkinson Trail, following the winding path of the Grand River, and enjoyed the warm fall air. A canopy of Carolinian forest trees was overhanging the pathway and gave the area a serene and southerly ambience. Various educational displays beside the path invited us to stop and learn about the local fauna and flora.
Pedestrian / cyclists’ bridge over the Grand River
Now thoroughly famished from our workout we returned to the van and resumed our drive to have lunch. We stopped briefly at the historic railroad station of Brantford which today is still one of Canada’s most active train stations and an important stop on the Windsor – Quebec City rail corridor. Next to the train station is the Station Coffee House and Gallery, the destination for our late lunch. This café is located inside a building that is part of the historic Brantford Railway Station and also features a gallery that showcases local and regional artists.
The historic train station in Brantford
The Station Coffee House & Gallery offers diverse menu choices such as bagels, breakfast sandwiches, toasted westerns, BLTs, omelettes and sandwiches, rounded out by a variety of sweet goods such as cheesecakes, pies, cookies, various pastries and specialty coffees. I decided to have the mushroom soup, followed by a chicken wrap, a perfect choice. Apparently the mushroom soup at the Station Coffee House & Gallery has been designated as one of Canada’s best mushroom soups according to one of the Globe and Mail’s food critics.
A well-deserved lunch after our bike-ride
The owner, Mike Tutt, joined us and gave me a tour of the Via Rail Station. He explained that this is the 11th most active station in Canada and handles nine trains a day. Actually about 150 people commute from here to Toronto every weekday morning, illustrating that this train connection makes it feasible for people to enjoy life in a small town while working in the big city.
Mike Tutt, owner of the Station Coffee House & Gallery inside the train station
The train station was built in 1905 and is protected through Parks Canada. Mike’s café even sports an authentic station sign for Brantford and a collection of other historic pictures. His connection with the Brantford train station is close: he used to work at the caboose station himself as a teenager. Today the Brantford railway station attracts hundreds of train buffs from all over the world.
The Coffee Station Station House and Gallery
Mike opened the Station Coffee House & Gallery in early 2009, always with the intention to promote local artists. His gallery features different artists on a regular basis, and he even has a painting made by Kevin Hearn, drummer for the Barenaked Ladies, on the walls. Live music, special events and gallery openings highlight the social calendar at the Station House Café and Gallery.
The Station Coffee House and Gallery
After our fulfilling and interesting late lunch stop we got back in the van and headed to Paris, a quaint riverside town from mid 1800s, about 15 minutes from Brantford.