Helping revitalize communities
Share this story

In the late 1990s, Brantford was devastated by the collapse of a once-thriving manufacturing sector. That changed in 1999 when Wilfrid Laurier University embarked on a risky experiment in urban renewal, opening a small satellite campus in Brantford’s downtown. Eighteen years later, Brantford’s downtown core has been reborn as a bustling centre of cultural, academic and social activity. Laurier’s campus is home to more than 3,000 students, and the university has spent an estimated $80 million on building a downtown campus that spreads to more than 17 buildings. The private sector has followed suit, adding new student residences, a public plaza and new businesses to account for the budding student population. Laurier continues to expand into Brantford’s downtown, and is scheduled to open a Laurier Brantford-YMCA athletics facility in summer 2018.

"In our wildest dreams, we did not expect what has happened here. It grew so quickly, it was beyond anything anyone imagined... Post-secondary completely changed our culture, it completely changed our focus."
Chris Friel, Mayor of Brantford
Experience Laurier through Brantford students

In 1999, Wilfrid Laurier University embarked on a risky experiment in urban renewal, opening a small satellite campus in Brantford’s downtown and leading to the revitalization of the city.

More Stories
Celebrating Indigenous arts through the First Peoples Performance Space
Brewing a better cup of coffee