Brantford is also the birthplace of hockey player Wayne Gretzky, comedian Phil Hartman, as well as Group of Seven member Lawren Harris. Brantford is named after Joseph Brant, an important Mohawk chief during the American Revolutionary War and later, who led his people in their first decades in Upper Canada. Many of his and other First Nations citizens live on the neighbouring reserve of Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, the most populous reserve in Ontario.
In August 2014, Henan Education Canada Inc. took over the Victoria School and plans to give the 117-year-old former Victoria School new life.
The school would include Chinese students and those from other countries. Local students would also be welcome to attend, said Norman Zhang, an Ontario resident who will be principal of the school to be called Victoria Academy.
"We looked at sites in Toronto, Mississauga and Markham but so many of the people there are from China," said Zhang. "We wanted to have a more Canadian environment."
Zhang, who represents Henan Education Canada Inc., said the company recently purchased the Richmond Street school from the Grand Erie District School Board. He estimates the company's total investment in the school, including the purchase cost and renovation, between $2 million and $3 million.
The plan is to initially have 250 students enrolled in Grades 9 to 12, with future growth, perhaps at another location, said Zhang. There will also be a need for student residences.