Albert Street appears on the 1848 Map of Stratford. It is named for Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1819-1861), the prince consort of Queen Victoria of Great Britain. She was born in Germany. Albert was the second son of Ernest, Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha by Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.
Victoria and Albert married on Feb. 10, 1840, and Albert Street in Stratford was probably named in honour of the new prince consort.
Prince Albert served effectively as Queen Victoria's private secretary and confidential adviser. He was an informal but potent member of all cabinets. He gained effective control of and completely reorganized the household. He made the Queen intensely happy and made her work almost as hard as he worked.
He was the prime mover in the great exhibition of 1851. His perseverance was rewarded by success, and the surplus funds were used to endow the Victoria and Albert Museum. He died in 1861 of typhoid fever, at Windsor Castle. By: Stanford Dingman
55 Albert St.
George Forbes Maitland, photographer
Mary Ann Maitland, poet
The old firehall
1897. The Old Firehall with three doors is seen at the northwest corner of Albert and Waterloo Streets looking south from Knox Church Steeple in 1897. Note the house in the centre foreground on the north side of Albert Street at the front of the photo that was moved in 1905 to allow The Armouries (see Waterloo Street) to be built. (see story below). The church on the left is Congregational Church on Waterloo Street. Photo: Courtesy Vince Gratton from a post on If you grew up in Stratford... FB
Original firehall, built 1897. There were three large equipment doors before the building was enlarged to the west in about 1915. Stratford-Perth Archives
With a 1926 Dodge coupe second from left in this lineup, Vince Gratton dated the photo to 1928. By then the firehall had been enlarged and had six large doors opening onto Albert Street. Photo: Vince Gratton
The fire hall in 1930. Full View showing all 6 doors. Photo: Vince Gratton
Photos: Stratford Perth Museum
The following information, which provides a glimpse into Stratford life in the early 1900s, is taken from Mary Jane Lennon's book, A Stratford Album.
The two-story brick firehall with its bell tower, in the top postcard, was built in 1897. Vince Gratton pointed out that the original firehall in the top photo had just three doors facing Albert Street. Beyond the firehall in that photo is Dr. James Robertson's house and office. After the hall was enlarged, it had six large doors facing Albert Street, and its new west wall was not far from the Robertson house, at 55 Albert Street.
In the tall bell tower atop the original firehall, the fire hoses were hung to dry after each use. The hall also featured an office for the chief and sleeping accommodations and various other facilities, including a pool table and a bathtub, for the men. And there was a loft for storing hay.
When an alarm rang to signal a fire, everyone in town knew the location of the fire because of the ring-code.
They also knew that each morning, at 8:45, when the alarm bells would sound, the kids had 15 minutes to get to school. At the same time, the firehall doors would fly open and the horses, harnessed to the hose wagon, would come trotting out for their morning exercise, up Waterloo Street to Ontario Street, around the block and back to the firehall.
In the evening, there was harness practice. When the alarm sounded, at precisely 9 p.m., the horses would race from their stalls to be harnessed and hitched to their wagon, and the firemen would assume their positions on the engine. After a minute, the men would get down from the engine and unhitch the horses. These "exercises" often drew onlookers. The bell that kicked it all off also signalled the 9 o'clock curfew for all city children under the age of 14.
In 1967, the F. W. Woolworth Co. purchased the firehall and the adjacent market buildings. The fire department moved to new quarters at 388 Erie St., the market to the fairgrounds, and the firehall was demolished. Sources: Adelaide Leitch, Floodtides of Fortune: Wendy Lynn Dietz, If You Grew Up in Stratford . . . FB
* For more detailed history see Flashback Old Stratford Fire Department History: Brian Wendy Reis, Taken from Tom Dolan 8 Part Series
Brick House Moving Day. July 17, 1905. Photo: Clara C. S. Mitchell
Move a house . . . build the armouries
This private residence originally sat on the northwest corner of the Albert and Waterloo streets intersection. From there, it was moved farther east on Albert Street, because the federal government wanted 80 Waterloo St. S., on which to build an armouries. (Waterloo Street). In this photo, the eastbound move has just cleared the Waterloo Street intersection.
This card was produced by Mrs. Edward (Clara C. S.) Mitchell, an early local amateur photographer. Her full-time job was in the office of the Grand Trunk Railway locomotive repair shops. Her husband also worked in the shops, as a fitter.
The Mitchells are listed in the Vernon's City of Stratford Directory in 1896 but not in 1880. They are not listed after 1906. This early Edwardian postcard is part of a series of cards collected by Vince Gratton.
The collection with historical commentary can be viewed here. Mrs. Edward (Clara C. S.) Mitchell - Stratford History Stratford Ontario Historical Photo Postcard 057.
Edward Brett, historical property
377 Albert St. Photo: Fred Gonder
Bill Inkol and John Grigg testing equipment for the Indian's 1952 playoff run. Stratford - Perth Archives
The Otto Henderson Orchestra played live on CJCS. Photo loaned to the Beacon-Herald by Herbie Fink
CJCS 1240 radio
CJCS Reunion at The Festival Theatre October 16, 1999. Photo: Dean Robinson
CJCS Reunion, 1999
The CJCS Reunion of former staff took place at the Stratford Festival Theatre on Saturday October 16, 1999. Steve and Carolyn Rae, CJCS Radio owners, hosted this receipt of their station’s former employees.
The noteworthy and celebratory event signalled the end of an era that had begun for 1240 AM radio in 1924. The program for the event is printed below. It includes the formal welcome, the list of speakers, the alumni and guests, and the staff of the radio station in 1999. Source Dean Robinson.
Stratford CJCS 1240 Radio Good Times Great Oldies. Source: Program Gala and Photo provided by Dean Robinson.
The photo on the left shows three former CJCS employees from left to right: Lloyd Robertson, Charles (Charlie) Trethewey, Dean Robinson.
Eddie Matthews at the Vista radio studio in 2019. Photo: Casey Kenney
Eddie Matthews ...moves from Vista radio
Switchboard operators, 1920
Bell linemen, early 1900s
Ron Thom at Westmount Gallery Stratford-Perth Archives
Ronald Thom, artist
Drs. Robertson, The Elms
The Windsor Hotel 2022 and as it looked in 1910. Note the barber pole bottom-centre and the fire alarm box on the top to summon the fire department. The Quirk Building, now demolished, on Downie Street can still be seen to the right of the photo.
Windsor Hotel Block
The elegant Windsor Hotel was an important structure when built in 1881. From the corner of Downie Street, it stretched easterly nearly a half a block down Albert Street. At the time of its opening, there were 30 hotels and drinking establishments within the village boundaries. Numerous retail outlets occupied the hotel's ground floor section that faced Downie Street. In 1883, the Windsor was the first city hotel to include telephone service in its guest amenities.
It became one of the few hotels of its day that would operate into the 20th century. However, in 1935, the owners, because of the building's age and a decline in business, were forced to reduce their hotel to half its original size. They sold their abandoned half to the F. W. Woolworth Co., which built a new five-and-dime store on the southeast corner of Downie and Albert streets. (See Downie Street). Now the TD bank occupies the space that was formerly Woolworth's fronting on Downie Street. The Windsor entrance is still from Albert Street as seen in the top picture on the left.
The reduced but well-known Windsor Hotel survived for many more years. Today (2022), it and its updated facilities continue to serve under the name of the Albert Street Inn. Source: Vince Gratton
1896 postcard, advertising Large and well-lighted sample rooms. All modern conveniences. Vince Gratton
In 1903, an addition to the Windsor Hotel was designed by Edward James Lennox, a famous Canadian architect. Photo to the left. He also designed the Old City Hall and Casa Loma in Toronto. See The Immortality of E. J. Lennox – from Casa Loma to Old City Hall.
1881 Construction: The Windsor Hotel Block and The Merchants Bank (see article below).
Original Photo and Digital Photo restoration work of the original by Vince Gratton.
The Windsor Hotel being built in 1881 beside the Quirk Building seen on the right of the photo.. The Quirk Building which is no longer there was the only iron-faced building in Stratford. The building many knew as The British Mortgage and Trust building on Albert Street is being constructed just to the left of the spire of Knox Church visible from its location on Ontario Street. The spire collapsed in the Knox fire of 1913. (see Ontario Street). The Merchants Bank was the first institution to use the building. It was levelled about 1960 for parking. The building on the extreme left of the photo is the Trow Building. The view is looking east from Market Square. Knox Church remains on Ontario Street at the corner of Waterloo as seen in the centre background. Photo courtesy of Pat Petit from Stratford and District Historical Society FB. ..
This is the same photo of The Merchants Bank and the Windsor Hotel under construction at the corner of Brunswick and Downie Streets n 1881 as seen above after digital restoration work by Vince Gratton. Part of the Trow building remains visible on the left of the photo. Knox Church spire lost in the fire of 1913 is visible to the right of The Merchants Bank . The Odd Fellows building is on the extreme right of the photo.
Vince Gratton: This is I think a really unique early photo and contains a lot of interesting elements going on. The photo is definitely one half of the "lense" on a stereoscopic view card. These cards are not common to find and after years of collecting I only have about a dozen such stereo cards in my Stratford collection. The cardboard type mounting were prone to warping and mould problems. I took the time to sharpen the image, remove most of the mould spots and then did a light colourization.
Windsor Hotel Ad from 1882
This ad noting the newly built Windsor Hotel under the proprietorship of J. E. Shipman was placed in the Stratford Civic Directory for 1882. What follows is the message of the ad: "This first class hotel - the largest, handsomest and best hotel west of Toronto-is open for the reception of guests. Sample rooms for commercial travelers and every accommodation for the travelling public. Terms $1.50 per day." Note the stagecoach outside the entrance on Albert Street. Source: Stratford and District Historical Society FB
Waddell's Livery Stable
The Merchants Bank of Canada was listed at 10 Albert Street but early on was listed at 20 Albert. The numbering changed; there was only one building. Built 1881. The sign in the window photo says 'The Merchants Bank of Canada.'
In 1926, for the first time, British Mortgage and Trust is listed there. Photo: Vince Gratton.
Merchants Bank...built 1881...across from Windsor Hotel...in 1926, the building became home to British Mortgage and Trust
Memories of Waddell's Stables.
From Stratford Dairy to Silverwood's
The Stratford Dairy, 116 Albert St., circa mid-1920s. Photo: Brian Wendy Reis from the Beacon-Herald.
Albert Street paving
Albert Street paving Stratford-Perth Museum