Galt Road

Galt Road is named for John Galt, founder of the Canada Company

John Galt

John Galt


Galt Road bears the name of the founder of the Canada Company, John Galt 1779-1839), a man to whom Stratford owes its existence. Galt founded the Canada Company in an effort to raise money for the compensation of Canadian claimants who sustained losses during the War of 1812, and also as a means of helping his fellow  Scotts find a new and better life in Canada.

Galt was a dreamer, a philosopher and a philanthropist. He was a novelist who was educated in business and law, but he was too much of an idealist to become a hard-headed administrator. He founded the Canada Company and became its first superintendent because he wanted to help people, but he clashed with the original Canadian establishment, the Family Compact. He also failed to realize his court of directors were mainly interested in making a profit on their investment.

Stratford was seven years old when Galt died in Scotland. The man who had conceived the Canada Company as, in his words, a "philanthropic dream," never saw this community for which he laid the original plans. By the time Stratford was settled in 1832, Galt had been recalled to England by the court of directors of the Canada Company.

In earlier and happier Canada Company days, Galt delivered the first stroke of the axe in the symbolic felling of a giant maple tree to initiate the founding of Guelph, which he named after the royal family. During his last winter in Canada, Galt made a journey through his beloved Huron Tract to Goderich. It was a sad trip, as he set out by sleigh to travel the Huron Road, which he had directed should be cut through the virgin forest. He died a broken man in ill health and poverty, away from his wife and three sons. Source: Streets of Stratford 2004