C. H. Meier Boulevard



Brooks Steam Car   Stratford-Perth Museum

Art: by Rick Thistle

Stratford’s only boulevard is named for Clarence Henry "Dutch" Meier, who was the mayor of Stratford from 1960 to 1967, which at the time was a record for consecutive years in the mayor's chair.

He always had an active interest in sports. He played softball and baseball for local teams, but his real love was hockey, which he played as long as he could. From 1946 to 1955, he was sponsor, manager or coach of the Stratford Indians in the senior Ontario Hockey Association. The most memorable of those years was 1952, when he and the Indians went to the Allan Cup final (for the national senior championship)  but lost in six games to the Fort Frances Canadians.  

Dutch was born in 1905, and after attending Stratford Collegiate Institute, he was ready for his first job. And what an exciting job it was. He was interested in mechanics, and was lucky to land his first job as a test driver for a new luxury car being produced at a factory in Stratford, the Brooks Steam Motors Ltd. (see Ontario Street) for more on the Brooks Steamer.

That job ended when the plant went up for auction in 1931.  He then entered the Canadian National Railways shops as an apprentice machinist, and eventually used his skills to go into business himself.

He started the Meier Novelty Co. in 1935 and began servicing vending machines that sold pistachio nuts and peanuts. The business prospered and expanded to pinball machines, and food, beverage and cigarette vending until he sold out 30 years later.

During his eight years as mayor, he helped to bring 22 industries to the city. His major projects included the justice building, Spruce Lodge, Memorial Park, R. T. Orr Dam, the Festival bridge, the St. Vincent Street bridge and  Dunn’s bridge.

He received the Queens Jubilee Medallion for service to the City of Stratford. He retired in 1981 after 11 years as manager of the Stratford Housing Authority. With notes from Stanford Dingman

The Allan Cup

Personal note: One of the most memorable times was sitting by the radio listening to the Allan Cup final between the Indians and the Fort Frances Canadians in 1952. 

The Stratford Indians had a fabulous team and a fantastic line that we idolized:  Flick, Roth and Flanagan. Listening to Bill Inkol (see Morenz Drive) calling the games on radio was heart-pounding excitement. The whole city went nuts and virtually came to a standstill when the games were on. 

Unfortunately, several players, including Flick and Roth got hurt and they lost the final in six games. It seemed the whole city turned out to meet the team when they got off the train. They were given a hero’s welcome. That was as close as any Stratford team came to winning the Allan Cup. The Billy Flick, Lyle (Mickey) Roth and Denis (Dinny) Flanagan line was a legend during their years together from 1951 to 1957.  

The Allan Cup is the trophy awarded annually to the national senior amateur hockey champions of Canada. It was donated by Sir Montague Allan, and has been competed for since 1909. The cup has been won by teams from every province and from the Yukon as well as by two teams from the U.S. which played in Canadian leagues. The city with the most Allan Cup championships is Thunder Bay with 10. The original cup was retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and a replica is now presented to the champions.  By Paul Wilker

Photo: Fred Gonder  

Dean Robinson's Book-Road to the Allen Cup

* Dean Robinson wrote a 67-page history, Road to the Allan Cup, in his book Not the last waltz and other Stratford stories. It's filled with great pictures and statistics.

In 1967, Mayor Dutch Meier announced his proposal for revitalizing the city centre.  Stratford Perth-Archives

Save the city hall

Save the city hall was the rallying cry in Stratford during the 1960s and 1970s and saved it was. Seven women started the battle and over the next decade (from 1964 into the 1970s) they were joined by many others. But it's the women we salute here: Mary Brothers, Madeline Ferguson, Jo Ann Hayes, Winnifred Kneitl, Evelyn Melodysta, Ellen Stafford and Dolores Whiteman. They were the charter members of the Save the City Hall committee. The group name changed, as did its leaders and voices, but eventually the monarch of Market Place continued her reign in proudly refurbished one-of-a-kind regal splendor.

In 1964, letters to the Stratford Beacon-Herald supported the "save” position, but it was not an easy battle and the outcome was far from assured. In 1967, Mayor Clarence (Dutch) Meier presented a proposal to revitalize the city that called for replacing the city hall (at 1 Wellington St.) with a high-rise tower that included a hotel and rental outlets. The fight to save the city hall stretched across the reigns of six mayors and city councils before a win was declared. Renovation work on the building began in 1974.  

Information taken from  Dean Robinson's book, Not the Last Waltz and other Stratford Stories, which includes the famous interview of the city hall itself by Lotta Gibson of the Beacon Herald in June 1969.