Main Images: The Crystal Cottage Before Relocation

The Relocation of the Crystal Cottage – Brantford Ontario

On Sunday  November 7th  2021, a 19th century building known as the Crystal Cottage was relocated in Downtown Brantford to make way for  a new residential development. This culminated in over a year of project planning between the developer, Market Street Developments Inc. (Aaron Zahler / Zahlco Construction), the City of Brantford and the Brant County Museum and Archives .

Moving a building from its original site is a difficult and expensive process. Attempts to retain the building in-situ or move it  to another area within the development parcel were considered but  could not be accommodated. Nonetheless, sometimes its worth the effort in a case like this. The proposed mixed-use building on the site will create over 200 rental apartments in the Downtown Brantford Urban Growth Centre. It was also feasible to relocate it to the Museum site, which was only  about 500 meters distance. was the project lead negotiating between the parties and providing heritage planning oversight. The move was undertaken by Nestor Kozey who at 93 years of age brought decades of experience moving buildings for this  project. Additional support was provided by Bob Phillips at J.H Cohoon Engineering  and Cynthia Baycetich (CB Planning). Though the Crystal Cottage is not a large building being relocated a short distance, moving through Downtown Brantford was the complicating factor. Dozens of City staff across various departments worked with the project team to ensure safe delivery of the building to the Brant County Museum and Archives.

As part of a rezoning application to permit development of a 10-storey mixed use building, The City of Brantford asked the developer  to save and relocate the cottage which was designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. This was one of several options offered through the Heritage Impact Assessment prepared by Allan Avis Architects and The proponent agreed to the estimated $300,000 in costs to undertake this request. The City in turn provided a Heritage Grant of $100,000 to the Museum who undertook its own Site Plan Approval process and construction of a foundation to receive the building.

To provide the City of Brantford the necessary safeguards to ensure delivery of the building, several reports and agreements were prepared. These included a Building Relocation Report, a Photographic  Catalogue  documenting the Pre-Move Building (see attached), a Heritage Easement Agreement, and Letter of Credit  providing financial securities . Perhaps the most complex facet turned out to be insurance coverage required by the City for the actual move period. In addition, a variety of permits and approvals needed to be secured right up to the weekend of the move. This included Demolition, Moving and Road Encroachment permits, all requiring coordination of  sign offs from various departments. The actual move to the interim staging area  only took a few hours. Delays in crossing the street to the recipient foundation added another week along with the need for security, and altogether the building was placed next to the foundation by November 29th. Soon thereafter, the cottage was positioned over the new foundation and the museums contractor has been working towards completion of the project in spring 2022.


The Crystal Cottage was prepared for its relocation  for over a year. The 900 square foot, one-storey brick building was carefully removed from its brick foundation. All external features such as the porch, chimneys and rear addition were removed and retained for reinstallation where appropriate at the new location. (Photo Credit- Jeremie Warshawsky)

The cottage sat on steel girders over 6 months in preparation for move day. Eventually the 900 square foot / 60-ton house was placed on a 48-wheel heavy-duty trailer and pulled to the recipient site.







The route from the original location of the cottage to the museum was not far but complicated by its urban location and need for public safety and no damage to public roads and sidewalks. The City of Brantford generously allowed the cottage to use the parking lot behind City Hall as the staging point for the final positioning of the cottage onto the new  foundation at the museum across the street.


Articles on the Relocation of the Crystal Cottage


Crystal Cottage has completed its move | Brantford Expositor

Crystal Cottage on the move | Brantford Expositor


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