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Nightclub impresario’s burning entrepreneurial spirit fuels success

Community ProfileNightclub impresario’s burning entrepreneurial spirit fuels success

Eddie Wisdom, also known as Misa Wiz, has always had a desire to excel despite many obstacles that he faced when he and his family settled in Brantford in the 1980s.

“When I first came here, and I came…looking for a job, I was turned away many times. Things like that fueled my fire as a youth. I don’t like trouble. I was always focused [and] I got into the business because of one of my brothers. “Wisdom continued,” My youngest brother is a chef [and] he wanted a restaurant…so I decided to rent a place [while holding a] full-time job. So that’s pretty much how my journey started and how I got into the entertainment part of it.”

Although Wisdom originally wanted to become a mechanic, he couldn’t ignore his entrepreneurial spirit. He owned a pizza parlour for a while before opening the Ring, which has been a popular night club and a fixture in Brantford’s downtown core for close to 25 years.

Wisdom is pictured here along with friends including Tammy Evelyn Stewart (to the right), who has been an important part of the operations of the Ring Night Club for the past 16 years. Photo courtesy Nightlife Promotions.

After a year of going through hoops in securing a liquor license, Wisdom was on track to building the club he envisioned.  

“At one time, my club was the only place open on Colborne Street. Right down to the lights. Everything [else] was boarded up [and] it was a mess.” Wisdom continued, “Honestly, I feel good, considering I started off with nothing [and] watching this thing grow. I felt very proud…that people from Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener, Cambridge, Guelph, and Niagara Falls came to the Ring.”

Wisdom is pictured here with popular singer-songwriter Luciano. Wisdom has been successful in bringing many world renowned artists to the Ring Night Club. Photo courtesy of Steph Turner/Snap Shots.

One of the major reasons for the Ring’s success has been Wisdom’s focus was making it a safe environment for patrons while making it a place that people want to come to especially for the world-class entertainment.  

“Because I come from Jamaica, I have links with many artists. I’ve always surrounded myself with good people including Luciano who is my idol. I brought him here numerous times, because I loved the way he performs and sings…he talks about what’s happening in the world. So that’s the kind of people that I gravitate towards,” said Wisdom.

However, despite Wisdom’s drive to grow his club through his dedicated work ethic and passion, he had to endure many challenges including racial profiling.

“There were hardly any black people in Brantford when we moved here, so we got stereotyped. The biggest problem is when I bought a red sports car; I would get pulled over three to four times a day. It was bad. And [when] I opened the club …the police [hung out] across the street where Laurier University campus [is now] and they used to watch my car [because they] thought I was doing something bad.” Wisdom continued, “They would follow me to work [and] pull me over…it got to the point where [the police] realized that I wasn’t doing anything bad.’”

Wisdom is pictured to the left as a young boxer; he achieved some success in boxing, but decided to pursue business. And the photo to the right is Wisdom accompanied by respected Brantford boxing coach/trainer Bill Williams (of Bell City Boxing.) Williams has had a strong and positive impact on Wisdom’s life. Photo courtesy Eddie Wisdom archives.

Despite this, Wisdom preserved, and he owed a lot of his determination and resolve from his days as a boxer, when he was invited by an acquaintance to join the Boys and Girls Club from down the street from where he used to live around Wellington Street. Someone there quickly realized that Wisdom had potential to become a good boxer.  

“One evening, I went to the club and started hitting the punching bag. Someone said I had a lot of power, [and I] should come join [boxing] the gym. I went back home to ask my mom if I could join …and told me I wasn’t getting into that. She wouldn’t sign the forms.” Wisdom continued, “When she didn’t sign them, I would sneak out to train. In 1990, I went to Kingston and won a silver medal, but lost one flight. I didn’t fight for another ten years because I was so disappointed.”

After close to 30 years of operating various businesses in Brantford, Wisdom has contemplated retirement sometime in the near future. Photo courtesy Eddie Wisdom.

However, from his short time in boxing, Wisdom was coached by respected local boxing trainer Bill Williams, who would become an important part of his life.  

“He’s been a mentor, a friend, and a father figure [and] there’s not enough good things I can say about that man,” Wisdom continued. “And he’s the one who said I should call this place the Ring. And there was no looking for another name once he said that.” 

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