“Brantford” and “beautiful”: two words that are never used in the same sentence, as I learned very quickly as a first-year. Coming from a small town surrounded by rolling hills and quaint villages, I found myself fitting right in with the hordes of first-year students complaining religiously about the – for lack of a better word – ugliness that is the Laurier Brantford campus. 

As I moved through O-week, walking back and forth from Expo to RCW, I would listen to conversations around me that primarily revolved around phrases like: “Oh god, I’m gonna be mugged,” or: “How is everything here so gross,” and of course the sarcastic sigh of: “Ahhh we just love Brantford,” always followed by a nervous laugh or dramatic eye roll. I will admit I joined in on these conversations, each time feeling increasingly sorry for myself and my choice of campus. But then one afternoon, something changed. 

I was walking home from RCW. I had done up all the buttons on my coat and pulled my beret far down, attempting to shield my ears from the crisp fall wind. My eyes were watching my feet and my music was blocking out all contact with the outside world. 

Suddenly, a car horn screamed, sending my heart racing down Dalhousie and causing my eyes to rocket up from their current fixation on the pavement. As I was attempting to calm myself down, I found myself stuck in a state of shock. My eyes had landed on quite possibly the most beautiful of sunsets.  

A pink sun was sitting delicately upon peach and cherry clouds – radiating the most bewitching of golden glows that I could see ghosting over every building ahead. I was stunned, mystified. It was in that moment that I came to the conclusion…Brantford is beautiful. 

A contemporary project created by Brandon Stanton, author, photographer, and videographer, broadcasts the most touching and raw examples of beauty in the scary, hard and cold streets of New York City. In a series of photos, Stanton proved to the world that beauty can be found in even the darkest of places, the dirtiest of streets, if only you chose to look. 

I recently travelled around campus asking students to spit out the first word that came to mind when I said beautiful. I got responses of architecture, smiles, home-cooked meals, love, fall, singing, and even Euler’s Equation.  

Not one person said the same thing; meaning beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Brantford is beautiful. The thing I love most about beauty is that it is one of the most subjective things on this planet. Beauty can be found anywhere or mean anything to anyone. 

So I ask you, why is it that we are allowing ourselves to be comfortable in this Brantford loathing? We are all dedicated, passionate and hardworking students, whose imaginations and minds are being opened and educated here.  

We all know, or at least can feel the electricity that flows from the unknown. So I implore you, get out into our little town. Explore this diamond in the rough. Fall in love with the charm of the old, run-down buildings. Let yourself be romanced by the sunsets and swoon in the presence of newly discovered cafes and trails – which are everywhere.  

There is a certain intimacy in the aged atmosphere here. I assure you that once you open yourself up, slap on those rose-coloured glasses and attempt to view Brantford through their deliciously tinted lenses, you will find that we are truly living in a jewel of a city. It’s imperative to make the most of what we’ve got. Brantford is beautiful. 

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