The Early Years

In 1891, 347 Greenwich Street was the home of the Alanson Harris and Son manufacturing company. Following a series of acquisitions and mergers the company was eventually renamed Massey-Ferguson and remained in operation until 1986 when the company closed it doors. Through private investments and land ownership, attempts were made to convert some of the buildings into artists lofts while other buildings were leased for storage, small industrial operations, and eventually a military museum.

“A” - 1960s Massey-Ferguson Property – Arrow identifies industrial building that eventually became the museum

Following a major fire in 2005, many of the suitable buildings were destroyed with other buildings abandoned by the landowner. Through a failed tax sale in 2007, the City of Brantford became the new property owner that now included 66 Mohawk Street, 22 Mohawk Street, and 347 Greenwich Street. Following an assessment of all properties the City decided to demolish all buildings excluding the military museum, recognizing it as a heritage asset.

The museum today following the City’s demolition of the surrounding buildings

Founding a museum: Vision for preserving Canada’s military heritage

The Canadian Military Heritage Museum was a vision by a dedicated group of volunteers, comprised of veterans and military history enthusiasts, spearheaded by Derek Pite, a D-Day veteran.

Negotiating with the property owner in 1992-93, this small group of enthusiastic volunteers acquired a lease for 347 Greenwich Street, a 13,000 sq. ft. abandoned and dirty shell of a building. Despite the obstacles, clean up crews worked long hours tackling the decades of grime and dirt layered on the floor and walls and removing the current tenants of pigeons and local rodents. With a design in mind, an interior layout was created that could house and present exhibits and displays reflective of a museum and suitable for public viewing.

Realizing that this vision had to be more, in 1993 the volunteers undertook the task of having the museum registered as a charitable non-profit organization and in 1994, the ribbon was cut for the grand opening of this new museum in the City of Brantford. The years ahead were not easy as the museum struggled to maintain a presence in the city working hard to keep the museum alive; a committed effort by its volunteers that eventually secured the museum as a strong and viable facility entrenching it as a must-see destination site.

When the doors opened to the public for the first time, collections and artifacts had been generously donated or loaned for the creation of exhibits and display areas. The first donated item to the museum was an inert air-to-air Falcon missile that was manufactured by Hughes Aircraft and was used by U.S and various NATO forces. This missile was deployed as armament for Canadian CF-101 Voodoo Aircraft in the 1960s. This artifact can be seen in the photo of Derek Pite cutting the ribbon at Museum Grand Opening in 1994 and is on display in the Air Force Exhibit Bay.

Moving Forward: Rising and Improving

The present museum is a result of a healthy development in collections and use and the commitment to continually refresh exhibitions and displays. Although unable to structurally expand in size, extensive interior and exterior building upgrades were undertaken to improve accessibility, functionality, and aesthetics. In 2014 insulation, new siding and proper signage was completed. In 2016 a two-level environment controlled archival room was built within the museum to aid in preserving the collection. 2018 saw the installation of a new accessible main entrance, two vehicle entrances at the rear side of the building and complete repair and painting of the interior walls and floor. To help preserve artifacts on the exhibit floor, all interior lighting was replaced in 2019 with LED fixtures. 2020 was a busy year with the completion of new washrooms including accessibility, the complete renovation and upgrade to the back building, construction of a kitchen/storage area, a new Board Room, a refresh of the exhibit spaces and the main parking area paved and properly marked. In 2021, a new metal gate and fencing was installed along with the creation of an outside exhibit space. By mid-winter of 2023, a compact mobile filing

system will be installed in the Archive Room allowing for expanded and improved storage and handling of the museum’s extensive collections. In addition, the cataloguing and digitization of the collections will be launched allowing for eventual public access through the museum’s web page.

We believe that the current museum honours the vision and intention of its founders. With the commitment of its strong volunteer Board and aided with the support from the City of Brantford, County of Brant, upper levels of government, members, donations, generous benefactors and grants, the museum today is a first-class venue that continually strives to honour Canada’s rich military heritage through stories, community events and engaging

Canada military heritage museum_Our heritage - then



The museum has grown since its early beginnings and today is a registered charitable organization, registration number 13826-5589-RR0001.