Laurier’s Brantford campus is unlike other’s in the area: the whole campus is immersed in a downtown core with a rich history. Many of the buildings are owned and operated by the university, and are longstanding, historic buildings that have been restored for student use. For example, the Expositor residence building use to house The Expositor newspaper, while the Odeon lecture hall was originally a movie theatre. Surrounding these stunning buildings are local attractions, sights and institutions. As the city expanded, so did the things to do.
Let’s be real here – you’re not going to spend all day studying. So whether while you’re taking a break, here are some exciting things you can do while living in Brantford.
< Get Involved
“Your greatness is not what you have, it’s what you give.” So, to make the most of your Laurier journey, get involved in different things on campus! The Students’ Union (the lovely organization that runs Orientation Week and that all undergraduate students are a part of) offers an abundance of different volunteer positions and clubs that you’ll have the chance to join, covering all sorts of different interests. You’ll meet lots of people that share similar interests and gain valuable experience while having fun along the way. Plus, the more you get involved on campus, the better your Co-curricular Record looks when you graduate – it’s win-win!
#TreatYoSelf to some Dairy Delite >
Dairee Delite is a Brantford landmark (seriously, there’s even a sign that says so). This retro-style ice cream parlour has been serving delicious treats to Brantford citizens and visitors for over 60 years and shows no signs of slowing down. Dairy Delite is a definite “must” on your Laurier to-do list.
< Face off at the Devil’s Bench
Who doesn’t love board games? The Devil’s Bench, located at 436 Colborne Street East, has walls of board games suitable for all ages and interests. It’s a great place for a chill night with friends. No cheating!
Get out to the Escape Key >
Escape rooms continue to be all the rage. The real-life puzzle adventure games are so popular Laurier’s own Game Design & Development program now offers a course on the topic. Located at 20 Roy Blvd., Escape Key features two rooms that you can attempt to #escape with friends. Are you up to the challenge?
< Enjoy free soup & frybread at the Aboriginal Student House
You heard right – FREE soup and frybread! Every week, the lovely people at the Aboriginal Student House invite all Golden Hawks over for a nice hot lunch. This event gives you an opportunity to learn more about the indigenous communities in and around Brantford, as well as the chance to enjoy some delicious food. Did we mention that it’s free?
Take a stroll along the Grand River >
If you’re looking to get some fresh air by exploring the great outdoors (or just trying to live up your Instagram with some sweet nature pics), take a walk along the Grand River. By far one of the most beautiful sites to see in Brantford, wandering along the Grand River trails is a terrific way to spend the better part of your weekend.
<Visit the Great One at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre
Brantford is the proud hometown of “the Great One,” Wayne Gretzky. So it makes sense that the City of Brantford commemorated the hockey legend with his own statue, located right outside a large sports centre named in his honour. In the wise words of Mr. Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the [trips to my statue] you don’t take.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Go skating in Harmony Square >
Make sure to get your skates ’cause you’ll be lacing them up come winter. When the cold weather hits, Harmony Square turns into a real beauty of an ice rink that’s sure to get you to stop riding the pine and get back in the game. That’s something to celly about (hockey slang encouraged, but not mandatory). Surrounding Harmony Squares of several other downtown Brantford hot spots like Williams Fresh Cafe, Rocklings and the Works.
< Join a First Year Leadership Program or LOCUS
As first years, residence is one of the first starting points in your Laurier journey. To make the experience worthwhile, consider joining a First Year Leadership Program. If you’re living off-campus, take the time to register for LOCUS! These first-year exclusive committees allow you to meet new friends, establish yourself as a leader and shape your university experience.
Be Active >
Look good, feel good, do good! Being active is important to students: to stay in shape, socialize with friends and serves as a solid stress reliever. You can hit up Wilkes Gym or participate in some of Laurier Athletics’ activities: fitness classes, intramural and extramural sports (such as dodgeball and volleyball), and sports clubs for students to join.
P.S. don’t skip leg day!
Have any recommendations for those new to Brantford? Tweet them to @students_union!
Written by Matt DeSumma, Orientation Week Communications Executive