Off to the lovely city of Brantford this morning

Famous for Wayne Gretzky and Alexander Graham Bell.

Any other famous Brantfordians we should be aware of?


10 thoughts on “Off to the lovely city of Brantford this morning

  1. If high school art history memory serves: birthplace of Group of Seven painter L. Harris, who was also painting pal of Banting; and one more thing…Brantford is somewhat famous for Beaux Art style architecture (don’t know if old library, and a couple of other institutional buildings still stand.)

    • That’s Lawren S Harris of the Massey (Vincent) Harris (Lawren sr.) family
      in agricultural implements, not to be confused with his artist son Lawren P.
      re maternal surname. Banting of Alliston is often forgotten as a “fallen”
      in WW2, Feb. 21 1941, airplane crash in then-British colony Newfoundland.
      A contentious figure – some still bitter over Nobel credits – and the trophy
      wife in late 30s which scandalized medical circles and others in society.
      As a neighbouring housewife said – wouldn’t you know ! The second wife
      always gets the title !

    • Kathy, AG Bell wasn’t a native of Brantford, he was an immigrant
      from Edinburgh Scotland. Same as FG Banting’s relationship
      with London – an historic event re a discovery. A home, not a
      birthplace. Watch for the IODE Bell Chapter plaque and others.
      But now the internet reveals that child star Justin Bieber was
      secretly born in London, Ontario, we can start capitalizing on
      that.- does this cap mere athletes Gretzky and also Syl Apps?

      • The local rules about who can be claimed as a real Londoner
        are unclear. Birthplace is fair enough, home address – not just
        a local hospital, or do both count ? – even if family later moved
        away. Site of an historic event is worthy of local commemoration.
        Banting’s place is secure as the nation has recognized it with
        our Site designation. However how much of Banting’s London time
        overlapped with the post-war getting back together of the core
        of the group, some also having served overseas, needs a close
        look. Was he painting yet ? Could Maltman at the House shed any light ?
        -“It was in 1919 that they began to call themselves the Group of Seven
        – they couldn’t come up with a name, and so Harris dubbed them
        the “Group of Seven” and it stuck. The group was initially funded by
        Harris – heir to Massey-Harris fortune – and Dr. James MacCallum.
        Together they built the Studio Building (Toronto) serve as a meeting
        and working place for the new Canadian art movement. In 1920, the
        group had their first exhibition….
        — “Banting returned from the war was for a short time a medical
        practitioner at London, Ontario. He studied orthopaedic medicine and
        was, during the year 1919-1920, Resident Surgeon at the Hospital for
        Sick Children, Toronto. From 1920 until 1921 he did part-time teaching
        in orthopaedics at the University of Western Ontario at London,
        besides his general practice.” Two am, Oct. 31, 1920 is the moment
        of inspiration on Adelaide St.
        Hockey player Syl Apps ic claimed by Paris, Ont. The London reference
        re boy Bieber is just being parroted around – don’t hold your breath.
        To clarify what makes a Londoner for historical purposes, check with
        LFP James Reaney’s mentor, Dan Brock.

  2. Great piece of writing. Great story. Thanks for bringing this wonderful item to my attention. Funny, how time passes, and untiI I read your work, simply just had not thought about such topics in a long time. Well done. Thanks for the memory

    My art teacher was devoted to Group of Seven…a collector and had, as I recall, many stories of personal connections. Also big architecture fan. She lived a larger-than-life role of teacher. Taught beyond the syllabus.

    My mother experienced one of the most important moments in her life, at the innaugural dedication of the Banting House Museum, where she met and was photographed with the Queen Mother.

    I hope the Museum honours your story(ies) and presents them for public enjoyment. May they similarly inspire others to remembrance, contemplation, and maybe in such a way even encourage you to pursue additional exploration and scholarship on the Bantings paintings.

    I can’t understand why the Museum hasn’t made a more concerted effort to collect all of his paintings. My impression is that they and the wider community just haven’t understood the value or the importance. The city too, has always struck me as impecably devoid of coordinated vision. Everyone talks big, starts off the block with fanfare and glory, but then the collective inferiority complex always comes rushing in, and suddenly there’s no one with any idea about what to do next. Arrogance then becomes the mask to self-delusion. Seems everyone wants to believe that any minor accomplishment, however inconsequential in the wider context, is but the next step to greatness. You may have seen Boosterism and Arrogance regularly walking your city streets hand-in-hand, and proudly sporting their big empty shirts.

  3. The Museum was created as a shrine to the discovery of insulin and the brief role London played.
    in it. Toronto is finally coming up with a proper one, apparently aftifacts all over the university. Can’t see how the Diabetes Society could divert funds to create a Banting art gallery here. Getting to be a National Historic Site was achievement enough – mighty high powered PCs
    took an interest back then. Lucky your Mum re Queen Mum photo op.
    Sorry London is such a disappointment. But some keep trashing it in print and online perhaps
    discouraging others from taking it seriously. Perhaps a focus on what it does have going for it would be better. and where gaps are identified doing something to fill them.

  4. Excited to know Queen Mum came to the Banting House opening.
    I feel London should be very proud of the museum and site.
    Toronto just recently opened an exhibition about Banting’s (and Best’s) gift to the world (as M references). Some in London may have felt slighted that our city barely got a mention. Banting did more than spend a night in our city. He worked, researched, painted here.

  5. I think Brantford came still claim Bell. And maybe we can now claim Bieber? Born in London as were Hollywood stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.
    But McAdams at least grew up in nearby St. Thomas. Gosling left London as a toddler so we really shouldn’t claim him as a London native.

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