Bradford was incorporated as a Village in 1857 with a population of about 1,000 and has since grown to become the primary country urban center within the area. Within three years, Bradford had grown enough to be incorporated as a Town and today has a population of approximately 24,039. Bradford overlooks a beautiful landscape of prosperous farmlands along the Holland River, known locally as the Holland Marsh. For many years the Holland River and Lake Simcoe provided the only means of transportation into and out of the village until the Northern Railway of Canada laid its tracks through town just prior to incorporation.
The Downtown core of Bradford has survived two fires, the first on May 23, 1871. The blaze destroyed upwards of 100 homes and all of the business part of the village except two hotels. In the wake of such devastation the residents rallied around one another and immediately began rebuilding, this time with brick, where the old structures once stood. These new buildings stand to this day and serve as a testament to the spirit of the townspeople. A second fire in the 1960’s only moderately damaged the northwest corner of the intersection at Highway 11 and Highway 88, sparing residents a repeat disaster.
One of the structures that survived the original inferno is the historical Village Inn Hotel, a sturdy building from well before incorporation. It remains in operation to this day and offers visitors a glimpse into the past.
For the past 30 years, Bradford has hosted a Canada Day Event put together by the Recreation Department and has enjoyed great success. Every year more attendees take part and every year more events and entertainment venues are added. Come for the obligatory Canada Day Official Ceremonies and stay for the myriad of activities that include rock climbing, singing and dancing, stage acts, guest appearances, fireworks, fantasy airbrushing and so much more.
If you happen to be around on non-Canada Day days and you’re looking for something to do, you can take a hike. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park and Camp Resort is a great place to kick back and forget the demands of everyday life. The park offers a range of activities that include fishing, mini-putt golf, horseshoes and trail hikes. Bring the kids along to enjoy Yogi Bear cartoons, camp sing songs, photos with Yogi and friends and the Hey, Hey, Hey Rides with Yogi Bear. With so much fun to be had, you can be sure your kids will be too tuckered out to bother you for the rest of the evening. If you are just out for a stroll you can stop by the Queen’s Rose Garden, a peaceful little spot within the Scanlon Creek Conservation Area. It is a beautiful project that was completed in 1981 and offers a rest area among the flowers. It is a perfect spot to relax, read or just smell the roses.
Fred C. Cook Public School Bradford Public School Fieldcrest Elementary School Sir William Osler Public School Hon. Earl Rowe Public School St. Charles Catholic School St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic School Mother Teresa Catholic School Bradford District High School Holy Trinity High School (Catholic)
Bradford United Church Holy Trinity Lutheran Church St. John’s Presbyterian Church
Bradford Curling Club Bradford Minor Hockey Bradford Minor Ball Hockey Bradford Soccer Club
Mike Kilkenny, major league baseball player Karleen Bradford, children’s author
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