Blowes Drive

Blowes Drive was named for the Blowes family.

Stan Blowes Book & Gift Shop and Stan Blowes Travel Service opened its doors for the first time on March 31st, 1949. 

Two generations of Blowes business owners celebrate their 70th anniversary of business in Stratford, ON. (Left to right) Brian, Rob, Sam and Bob Blowes (seated).  

Stan Blowes Gift Shop:  1949

On March 31st, 1949 Stan Blowes opened his shop doors for the very first time, beginning the long line of Blowes family businesses with both a gift, book and office supply shop, along with a travel service. 

Stan originally purchased a business called Kenner's Book Store, (that opened in 1890, which sold all different types of books, including the textbooks needed by students for each school year. Many Stratford residents remember standing in long lines out front of this book store, as well as the Blowes store, waiting to collect their books for the upcoming academic year. 

Stan Blowes continued the book store tradition, while adding office furniture and equipment, as well as giftware and a travel service throughout the upcoming years. All the while, the apartments seen above continued to stay occupied by different tenants up until 1953, and housed a few notable people. Interesting facts about this building are that it was the first business in Stratford to use electricity to put up an electric sign, and it was the original home of the box office of the new Stratford Shakespearean theatre in 1953 ( see Wellington Street). 

Blowes Stationery & Office Supplies: 2019

On March 31st, 2019 the Blowes businesses (Cards & Gifts, Stationery & Office Supplies and Travel Agency) celebrated their 70th anniversary of business in Stratford. 

Since opening their doors in 1949, all three businesses have stayed within the Blowes family name, with hopes to stay within further generations to come. Aside from a few coats of green, yellow and red paint, the building stays almost identical to its roots that date all the way back to 1873 when it was first built and named the Brandenberger Block. Inside the store itself, many original aspects of the building throughout the years are featured within displays and signage throughout the store. The original wooden squeaky floor and tin ceilings could tell some stories! 

Ted Blowes:  Mr. Stratford

Edward Stanley (Ted) Blowes Former Mayor of Stratford (1978 - 88) was affectionately known as "Mr. Stratford. Born in Oshawa, Ontario on October 18, 1936, Ted was the son of the late Jean (Gibson) and Stan Blowes. Ted was a secondary school educator for 34 years, retiring as the Head of the Geography Department at Northwestern Secondary School. Ted's life was personified by his endless promotion of Stratford. He served six terms on the Stratford City Council, two as an Alderman and the last four terms as Mayor. Ted also worked with St. John's Ambulance, Community Living, Communities in Bloom, Winter Lights, Winterfest and was a former member of AMO. Ted was also a Senator of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Ted received many awards and accolades over the years including being honoured as a Paul Harris Fellow through the Stratford Rotary Club. He was also honoured with  the Queen's Silver and Diamond Jubilee, Man of the Year and Senior Volunteer of the Year for Stratford. Source: Obit. Published by Toronto Star on May 13, 2013.

Ted was known especially for his involvement in and promotion of the Communities in Bloom competition over the past several years, Blowes served on a number of boards and committees, including on the Stratford Festival board from 1980-1996 and on the Gallery Stratford's board. His many accolades, as mentioned,  included being named 2009 Senior of the Year and in 1998 Citizen of the Year.  Blowes founded Stratford Citizens for the Environment Club and in 1994 the Stratford Beautification and Environment Awareness Committee. In that year, he continued his work as a mover and shaker, once again joining with students in the annual ritual of tree planting during Green Week.

 On the one year anniversary of  Ted Blowes passing in 2012 , the Civic Beautification Committee planted a tree in Lower Queen’s Park  to honour the memory of “Mr. Stratford”  Source: My Stratford now

The $10,000 cost to purchase and install the  Memorial Fountain in Lake Victoria was entirely paid by the Blowes family.

* He was also honoured with a Stratford Bronze Star in 2016. It has been located at the city hall and titled Mr. Stratford.

Ted Blowes memorial peace garden

In 2017, Stratford’s Communities in Bloom committee created The Ted Blowes Memorial Pollinator Peace Garden. It was a Canada 150 project which recognizes the contributions of Ted Blowes, a former mayor and one of the founding members Communities in Bloom. The garden features native pollinator plants and has attracted many pollinators since it was established. It helps the pollinators by providing valuable habitat, and educates its many visitors as to how they too can help. Thanks to Brilliant Images for the picture and text.

The garden was planted under the Confederation Bridge in a butterfly wing shape. The bridge was used by walkers to cross the railway tracks which have long since been removed. The structure is now called "the bridge to nowhere."