The Brant house, a replica of the original structure, will be moved in the coming days so construction of the 12,000 sq ft expansion can take place.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

February 18th, 2018



There was provision in the construction budget for a harsh winter. And we have had several harsh days and a lot more snow than many wanted.

But the weather does not appear to have slowed down the construction that will expand the Joseph Brant Museum from its current 50000 square feet to 17,000 sq. ft.

Site Feb 16-18 A

Brant Museum with holes cut out in the foundation ready for the steel beams that will move the house a short distance.

The Joseph Brant house is a replica of the house Mohawk native Joseph Brant, Thayendanegea, built on a 1798 Crown land grant.

The expansion by contractor Aquicon Construction, on behalf of the City of Burlington, will add more than 12,000 square feet to its current size that will the Museum to become a cultural destination and a place to host national exhibitions and the collection of artifacts. Or so we are told.


Brant Museum as it is expected to look like when construction is completed in 2019.

The current 5,000-square-foot museum will be expanded to provide barrier-free space for gallery displays, interactive programming, the storage of collections and community outreach.

Construction will take 18 months, depending on weather

The total project amount is approved at about $11 million, which includes a contingency fund and allows for cost increases due to a winter construction period. Funding includes:

$2.9 million from the City of Burlington
$4.5 million from the Government of Canada
$1.5 million from the Province of Ontario
$2.5 million from the Joseph Brant Museum Foundation

Retaining wall - west side Feb 16-18

Retaining wall on the west side of the Brant Museum site is being put in place.

The museum has 25,000 artifacts and receives about 18,000 visitors a year. The new space will meet all the display and security criteria to attract national travelling exhibits. Put quotation marks around that “about 18,000 visitors a year and then add a question mark.

Steel beams that will move the house.

Sturdy sell beams that will be slid under the Brant House and then moved by heavy duty equipment to the resting spot while construction of the 12,000 addition is completed.

The current museum will be moved in the weeks ahead to a spot adjacent to the construction so that the creation of the great hall that will be underground can be built.

Then the house will get moved back to where it will remain for some time to come.

This house has been moved a number of times – the title to the land was a bit of a land registry challenge; it was in the hands of the hospital in trust and is now believed to be back in the hands of either the city or the Museum Foundation.


Joseph Brant – Mohawk warrior, Captain in the British army – Thayendanegea to his people.

Joseph Brant, Thayendanegea, lived from 1742 to 1807 but never lived in the house that is being moved around. In 1798, the Mohawk warrior and British captain was granted 3,450 acres at the head-of-the-lake (Burlington Bay) by King George the third.

The site is now a muddy construction site that will see the house get a number of bright blue steel beams slid underneath the foundation so it can be lifted and moved. These are always delicate procedures.
The plan is to have the site completed sometime in 2019.

No word yet on what the public can expect in the way of program for the expanded museum which is a little odd – the kind of exhibits that move from location to location are usually scheduled years in advance. The museum does not appear to have any plans to do any original programing.

This project is a good example of collaboration between the city, the federal and provincial governments and the Burlington Museums Foundation. There were a lot of bumps along the way.

On site almost daily is Burlington's Jimmy Tapp checking on the progress. Here he talks with Pier Project Manager Craig Stevens.

On site almost daily during the second construction of the Pier was the late Gordie Tapp checking on the progress. Here he talks with Pier Project Manager Craig Stevens.

Craig Stevens is the city lead on the project; he is the city hall staffer who took over the construction of the second attempt to get The Pier built. He also brought in the Performing Arts Centre – on time and on budget.

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2 comments to The Brant house, a replica of the original structure, will be moved in the coming days so construction of the 12,000 sq ft expansion can take place.

  • martin

    How much will it cost once it’s built? Executive director $$ General Manager $$ Curator $$ Staffing $$ and so on. 2.9 mil is nothing compared to ongoing expenses.

  • Penny

    Can you imagine the impact 2.9 million dollars could have made if put toward the Public Transit System?