Born in Toronto in 1892, to Lt. Col. Joseph M. and Mary (Denison) Delamere, Thomas G. Delamere came to Stratford as a young man in 1905. He remained in Stratford for 33 years and built two houses here. As a young man, Col. Delamere saw active service in South Africa with the Canadian Mounted Rifles during the South African (Boer) War (1899-1902).
After the war, he joined the Bank of Montreal and was transferred from Brockville to Stratford. In 1905 he became manager of the Canada Poultry and Produce Co. Ltd., a poultry farm which occupied 55 acres on what is now Guthrie Avenue and the railway tracks running north from the Avon River to what is now Delamere Avenue.
Prior, for his bride Agnes (Morison), he had built the first house beyond James Street, whose address today is 98 Hillcrest Dr. Tom Patterson, founder of the Stratford Festival, lived in that house during the early years of the Festival.
Col. Delamere and his wife, a native of Winnipeg, had five children, three boys and two girls. Four of the streets in the subdivision are named after the boys (all old Delamere family names), but note the girls.
The five streets named by the colonel are Dawson, Delamere, Denison, Martin and Morison. Four of the children were born while the family lived in their first house, and the colonel thought they needed more space. So he built anew, in about 1913, on his poultry farm, facing the river. The large brick house still stands, at 480 William St. In those days there was nothing but farmland beyond the big house on James Street, and William Street was only a mud footpath beyond James. Delamere Avenue was a narrow dirt road with two or three farmhouses nearby, and there were no other streets.
Col. Delamere was commissioned in the Perth County Militia Unit, then known as the 28th Regiment. With the outbreak of the First World War, he volunteered for active service and went overseas with the First Division. In 1915, he was wounded in action in France. Promoted from captain to major, he was invalided home and was instrumental in recruiting and organizing the 110th battalion of Stratford in 1916. He was transferred with the rank Lt.-Col. to the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment and posted to command Speedwell Military Hospital in Guelph, where he remained until retirement from active service in 1919.
Back in Stratford, Col. Delamere laid out the Delamere subdivision in 1920 on his 55-acre chicken farm, but it wasn't until well after the Second World War that the area started to develop. At the reorganization of the Perth Regiment in 1930, Col. Delamere held the appointment of second-in-command in the original slate of officers. In 1938 he left Stratford to go to the army ordinance depot at the Petawawa military camp, where he was employed as a civilian expert until his death at the age of 63, in 1945. He died in Pembroke, Ont., where he lived the last seven years of his life.
In addition to the five streets that Col. Delamere gave to Stratford, he donated all the parkland along the river, east of Guthrie Avenue to the northbound railway track. It was a magnificent gift to the people of Stratford, one for which he deserved recognition. It is unfortunate he did not live to see his subdivision built, or to see the beautiful Festival Theatre rise across the river from the parkland that he donated, the land on which his children used to play. He died on Oct. 27, 1945, at the age of 62. With notes from Stanford Dingman