Dover Street

John Street was renamed Dover Street in 1879.

That the Street heretofore known as John Street in Arnold and Robinsons Survey shall hereafter be called and known as Dover Street

City of Stratford -Flashback Friday

Port Dover railway station Stratford-Perth Archives

All aboard

Dover Street is named for a railway company, the Port Dover and Lake Huron Railway which completed its line from Port Dover to Woodstock in 1876.

The PD and LM Railway continued from Tavistock over eight miles of Grand Trunk track to Stratford, where it entered the town in the vicinity of Dover Street. The railway had received a grant of $124,000 from the Ontario government, and Stratford contributed $30,000. Perth County's contribution was $120,000 most of which was intended for a line through Listowel.

The plan was to link Port Dover on Lake Erie and Goderich on Lake Huron with a railway line running through Stratford and Perth County. Leading members of the Stratford business community were among the chief promoters. Snow had fallen and it was cold in Stratford on Thursday, Feb. 3, 1876, but 4,000 people turned out that day to cheer the arrival of the first train from Port Dover.

In the above photo, the large arches of cedar boughs are at the corner of Albert and Downie streets. The large corner building (with the small Dominion Telegraph sign) was taken down in the 1970s and replaced with the present Royal Bank Building. To the right is the Farmers Home Bank building with its mansard roof. That bank went broke and it was taken over by the British Mortgage and Trust company in the mid-1950s. Stratford-Perth Archives

The "first train" from Port Dover was actually two trains, one engine hauling three coaches, the other hauling four. When the trains came to a stop near Nile Street at 2 in the afternoon, 500 visitors to Stratford poured from the coaches. The great crowd shouted its welcome as church bells peeled and factory whistles blew. The Beacon described the celebration as a: "red-letter day in the history of Stratford, commemorating as it will, the successful completion of three important enterprises, each of which will add largely to the prominence which Stratford has attained as a live, prosperous town, soon we hope and expect, to be elevated to the dignity of a city."

Dover Street was originally named John street. It was changed to Dover when the railway came because there were two John Streets. Today, Dover Street is the only remaining link with this early railway. Even the tracks are gone. With notes from Stanford Dingman