Monday, April 30, 2012


As is usual, I spent most of my time in Canada staying with my sister and her family in Bradford.
Let me preface this by saying right away that I am not a particular fan of the town.  I don’t want to knock it too much though, since Shona has lived there for a while, the kids seem to like it and I guess it has something to offer.  It is just not my cup of tea and never really managed to capture my enthusiasm.  On this trip, I found myself with some free time, usually in the evenings when I took the chance to walk the streets of Bradford and give it a chance to make me love it.
Here is the town hall, the centre of all things Bradford.

One of the things that I dislike about the town that remains unchanged is the way it is developed.  The houses all have a sameness about them…I often refer to them as “Lego neighborhoods” since they look so cookie cutter to me.  The way communities develop in small town Canada is this:
1) Aging farmer sells a huge plot of land to a developer
2) developer builds a few hundred houses that look identical, or perhaps vary with 3-4 models
in Germany however, small towns tend to develop very differently.  The aging farmer divides up his land into as many plots as he can, then sells them off one by one to potential homeowners.  The homeowner then engages a contractor to build the house however they want on the plot.  Personally I like this method better since it leads to a much more diverse looking collection of houses.  That being said, there is a definite sameness to German architecture that dominates housing right now.  The blocky white house with red tile roof.  I guess it’s a matter of personal taste.
Anyway, here is a typical Bradford street. (or is it stepford, how can you be sure…)
bradford (8)
Once you get out of the residential part, you are treated to the main street of Bradford.  A fabulous collection of new and old.  Which is to say, fast food restaurants that are in new buildings or fast food restaurants that are in renovated old buildings.  These are spaced out with strip malls and huge package stores of course.  I am again being unfairly critical I'm sure, but since I am writing this, I get to use my blog as a platform however I choose.   I choose to dislike downtown Bradford.
Bradford has ~25,000 residents, yet has the following fast food outlets on a single street. 
2x McDonalds
Burger king
Pizza Pizza
Kentucky Fried Chicken
3x Tim Hortons
Swiss Chalet
Mr Submarine
Popeye’s Chicken
Pizza Nova
Gino’s Pizza
Lamar’s Pizza
Little Ceasar’s Pizza
I am sure I missed some and I did not count non-fast food restaurants…  I think Bradford must have one of the highest restaurant per resident ratios on earth.    The people here must also eat at home as well, in addition to the 20 fast food and at least 15 more normal restaurants, there are 3+ giant grocery stores.  So what is there to do in Bradford, answer#1 would have to be eat.
One restaurant worth noting is this one.  Jamaican patties are one of the greatest foods anywhere:
Bradford 2
Check out the lovely Bradford Food mart, located next to the always needed small town exotic birds store.  Apparently the people of Bradford also enjoy a parrot or two in their lives.

bradford 1
While out for a walk, I also saw this sweet ride.  Check out the El Camino.  this one is more polyfilla than car at this point, but I am sure with a coat of paint, this could be brought back to its former glory.  I think they should consider a giant mural of a wolf howling on the moon on the hood.  Somehow it would seem like the right thing to do.
 Bradford 4
el camino
Something else I liked is that there are wild rabbits just roaming around the town.  Maybe this is because West Gwillimbury is the carrot growing capitol of North America.  On a walk one evening I saw these two rabbits enjoying a visit to someone’s yard.  I thought at first they may be pets, but no, they are just neighborhood rabbits.
bradford (4)
One really great thing that is new to Bradford is the recently completed recreation centre.  For a town the size of Bradford, this thing is amazing.  Two ice rinks with 900/500 seat capacity, swimming pool, water slide, indoor running track, multiple basketball courts.  the place is really great.  I guess with that many fast food places, the town felt compelled to give the residents a place to work it off.
rec centre
rec center (7)
OK, a longer post than I anticipated making today.  This ends my in depth look at the glory of Bradford, Ontario.  I hope I showed all of its greatness.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

well, accurate and in depth analysis of my booming metropolis. Just a note...we are WEST gwillumbury....gotta have the facts man!

Fraser Anderson said...

Many apologies, I have corrected this glaring error. Amazing that I can not tell the difference.

In fact, I dont think I have ever been to East Gwillimbury now that you mention it.