A new pictorial historical plaque has been set up at the west end of Spencer Smith Park, the scene of the former Brant Inn. The incredible lineup of stars who performed at the Brant Inn in its heyday from the 1930’s to the 1950’s included, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Lawrence Welk, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, Xavier Cugat, Count Basie, Les Brown and Woody Herman. Some of the Canadian and local orchestras that played there included Ellis McKlintock, Glen Gray, Mart Kenny and Bobby Gimby and locally Darkie Wicken, Gav Morton and Harry Waller. Major solo acts included big names such as Andy Williams, Victor Borge, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Rae, Martha Raye, Frankie Laine, Liberace, Jayne Mansfield, Lena Horne and Sophie Tucker. When Sophie Tucker played the Brant Inn she stayed in the luxurious penthouse owned by Brant Inn impresario John Murray Anderson.
The Brant Inn even was scene to performances by a pre-movie career Bert Lancaster who was a vaudeville acrobat before becoming an actor, and Jayne Mansfield. The nightclub also made nationwide celebrities of local radio announcers who were heard Saturday nights from coast-to-coast and in the United States when the CBC would broadcast live from the venue. Norm Marshall, Paul Hanover, Gardie Tapp and Alex Reynolds all took turns hosting the live broadcasts. During its active period the club was owned by empresario John Murray Anderson who was personal fiends with may of the major stars of the days and often hosted them in his lavish penthouse apartment above the club.
The plaque, which was unveiled Thursday by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward was a collaborative effort of the Burlington Historical Society, Heritage Committee, and local resident David Craig and others. Tweeted Meed Ward, “ Let’s do more “stories in the street” via these plaques to bring our history to our people.”