Named for bristle-headed Indians

Huron Street is part of the old Huron Road, a trail which was blazed through the virgin forests by Dr. William (Tiger) Dunlop and his survey party in May 1827. Actually, in laying out a proof line to determine the best location for the Huron Road, the surveyors went north of Stratford where they encountered considerable difficulty in the Ellice Swamp. Col. Mahlon Burwell (see Burwell Road) was a leading member of that party which was working for the surveyor general of Upper Canada and John Galt of the Canada Company.

It was on the return trip from Goderich that Dunlop took note of the point at which the Huron Road would cross the "Little Thames" (renamed the Avon River) and marked it as a future village site on the Canada Company map. Dunlop, the Canada Company's warden of the woods and forests, is now a legendary figure because of his exploits in the Huron Tract. One of his major claims in Stratford is that he chose the site of the village that was permanently founded in 1832. The Tiger was probably one of the first white men to walk down Huron Street, and he would be pleased to know that it still carries the name of the lake he loved so dearly.

Wyandot chiefs   

Writing in 1639, Father Lalement stated that in about 1600, when a French soldier saw a party of Indians (Wyandot) with their hair chopped and coloured silver, he dubbed them “Hurons.” The word was derived from the French word meaning bristly. The manner in which they tended their hair suggested the bristles of the wild boar. This information is contained in The Origin and Meaning of Place Names in Canada by G. H. Armstrong. The Huron Indians were called bristle-heads.

Huron Street remains part of Highway 8. On the 1834 map of Stratford, Col.  John C. W. Daly called it Goderich Street, but the name Huron is the one that stuck.  By Stanford Dingman. Picture: Wikipedia

Courthouse and Royal Oak  Photo Fred Gonder

Photo Fred Gonder

Perth County courthouse

The present Perth County courthouse was built in 1886 but took two years to complete. It replaced the original courthouse, which had been built in 1853 north of the river, on William-Street land known as McCullough's Hill (see William Street). That was after Perth County separated from the Huron District in 1850.

The new courthouse was designed by London, Ont., architect George F. Durand , who also designed the jail, on St. Andrew Street, the original pumphouse (now Gallery Stratford) on Romeo Street North, and the city's first general hospital on the south side of John Street near the west end of Cambria Street. 

Built in the Queen Anne Revival style, the building uses various architectural details including turrets, decorative chimneys, Italianate brackets and neoclassical features such as columns adorning the windows. There is a contrast of materials, colours and textures, and terra cotta details created by sculptor Henry Plasschaert of the United States. It also contains tile flooring, stained glass and other elegant appointments. 

The new courthouse opened in 1887 during Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee (50th year as queen). During a party costing $500, electric lights in the courthouse were turned on. That was the year electricity became available in Stratford. The courthouse is one of the most photographed structures in Stratford. It's a landmark that can be seen from several kilometres when entering Stratford from the east, on Ontario Street. Sources: Stratford -Perth Archives. City of Stratford Website. 

In 2023, the building dating from 1887 was made fully accessible at a cost of just more than one million dollars with the addition of a self-serve three-story elevator to accommodate county staff and both the Superior and provincial courts that operate there.  Source: Stratford Beacon Herald, November 4, 2023.

Stone plaques that in front of the courthouse read :

                                                                                     Stratford First House Erected in 1833

It was the frame residence of “John Corry Wilson Daly” (see Daly Avenue) and family. Mr. Daly was the local Canada Company Agent and Leading citizen in the Settlement. The house was demolished in 1885 for construction of the Court House.

                                                                                            The Nearby Royal Oak 

Marked the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on 12 May 1937. It was provided by the Men of Trees from the New Forest England.

* For more on the Court House see two excellent Flashback Articles:

1897: The Courthouse has always dominated both Huron and Ontario Streets.

1897. The Court House is seen in this photo at the head of Ontario Street. The photo was taken from the steeple of Knox Church at the corner of Ontario and Waterloo Streets in 1897 looking west along Ontario Street. The Court House and Huron Street Bridge built in 1885 are both clearly seen in the photo. The Gordon Block on the southwest corner of Downie and Ontario is visible as is the top of the clock tower on the Old Post Office opposite. Photo courtesy of Vince Gratton.

Shakespearean Gardens    Photo Fred Gonder

The Shakespearean Gardens

In 1927, Robert Thomas Orr and his son Thomas Webster Orr made a trip to England to study English gardens. It had long been Tom Sr.’s dream to have an English garden as part of the Stratford park. Having had a longtime interest in Stratford upon Avon, he and his son spent a lot of time there.

Long before Tom had gone to England, he had corresponded with Sir Archibald Flower (great name), chairman of the Shakespearean Memorial Trust. No sooner had Sir Archibald introduced Thomas to the delights of the Shakespearean Gardens that his Canadian guest became so engrossed in his excitement over the prospect of planting a Shakespearean garden that he could not wait to get home.

While in England he could visualize the Stratford Shakespearean Gardens taking shape on a site he had picked out by the Avon River many years earlier. It was one of the few sites along the Avon still occupied by an industrial building, the Dufton Woolen Mills, which had operated near the Huron Bridge for more than 50 years. Twice the mills had been destroyed by fire, in 1910 and in 1922. The showroom and office on Huron Street, and the the powerhouse and chimney were all that remained.

When it was decided not to rebuild the woolen mills. Mr. Orr was quick to appoint. J. S. Russell to negotiate the purchase of the property for the parks board. The price of $7,000 was agreed upon in 1925. The task of removing the tangle of burned rubble and machinery was a considerable challenge, b ut it was met successfully under the leadership of Tom Orr.

Before the Shakespearean Gardens on Huron Street     

The Stratford Woolen Mills, occupied later by the  Dufton mills, were located where the Shakespearean Gardens are now. This mill stood for about 80 years before it was destroyed by fire in 1922. The property was purchased by Tom Orr, and gifted to the parks board. Photo: Brian Wendy Reis . . . FB

Plaque reads:

To the memory of Thomas Orr

One of the Founders of the parks board in 1904 served faithfully until his death in 1957.

For you there is rosemary and rue. These keep seeming and savour all the winter long. Grace and remembrance be to you.

The Winter’s Tale Act IV Scene III  Photo : Fred Gonder

Once again, it was the leadership and determination of Robert Thomas Orr that kept the Stratford Shakespearean Gardens alive. It was largely through his initiative and the handiwork of Frank Freeman, a gardener and veteran member of the parks staff, that the garden was created.

When R. T. and T. W. Orr returned from England in 1927, they brought back an assortment of Shakespearean plants and herbs given to them by Sir Archibald Flower as a gift from Stratford upon Avon to help establish Stratford’s Shakespearean Garden.  By Stanford Dingman

*   For more on the gardens see  Flashback    Reviving Shakespeare Gardens   Beacon Herald

On  May 28,  1936    Lord  and Lady Tweedsmuir  officially opened the gardens on May 28, 1936      see Tweedsmuir Place

Cleeve Horne and his bust of Shakespeare    Stratford-Perth Archives

William Shakespeare bust

The bronze head of William Shakespeare by Toronto sculptor, Cleeve Horne was commissioned by the Sons of England.  R. Thomas Orr accepted the memorial on behalf of the Stratford board of parks management on Sept. 5, 1949. The bust Horne created is a fixture in the city's Shakespearean Gardens. Source: Stratford-Perth Archives

Cleeve Horne was an influential Canadian portrait painter and sculptor. Throughout his long career, he was commissioned to do portraits of hundreds of prominent Canadians. He was an Officer of the Order of Canada, an Appointee of the Order of Ontario, president of the Ontario Society of Artists, and a council member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. One of his sculptures of note is of Alexander Graham Bell, in Brantford. In 1998, he died at age 87 in Toronto, where he had lived since 1913.

The Lych Gate 

The Lych Gate at the entrance to the Gardens was built by William Morrice of Stratford, likely based on a design that Thomas Orr adopted from a gate he saw in England. Lych is from an English or Scottish dialect that means  corpse; thus the Lych Gate is an entrance to a churchyard or burial ground, under which a coffin could be placed, out of the weather, until the arrival of the clergy and mourners. These gates were also often built at the entrance to a garden. The roof of the Lych Gate was originally thatched by a professional thatcher, who was likely trained overseas. These thatched roofs could last for decades, but when this one finally wore thin and had to be re-thatched, the Stratford authorities were reluctant to spend money for a professional thatcher. So the parks board had to depend on local farmers to supply straw and doing whatever they could in the way of thatching. In 1958, Cecil Meadows, from Downie Township, thatched the roof with bundles of specially prepared hay, and in 1968, Edwin Finch, from near Sebringville, (second photo), who had helped his dad thatch barn roofs in Worcester, England, had a go at it, using wheat straw. The parks board members advertised for a thatcher in 1973 with no success, so they gave up on the idea of thatching, and had stained cedar shingles put on.  By Stanford Dingman from Brian Wendy Reis


The stone sundial, in the Knot-Garden in the Shakespearean Gardens, was a gift to Thomas Orr from Sir Archibald Flower, a former mayor, of Stratford-on-Avon, England. A knot garden is a garden of formal design in a square frame, consisting of a variety of aromatic plants and culinary herbs. Most knot gardens now have edges made from box (Buxus sempervirens), whose leaves have a sweet smell when bruised. The paths between are usually laid with fine gravel and there is often a sundial in the middle. By Stanford Dingman from Brian Wendy Reis

"Ah, the smell the Aromatic plants and herbs is amazing". Now I jump into my car to go to the Stratford Perth Museum on Huron Street to see the Brooks Steamer  "the gentle giant of motion".

E. T. Dufton Woolen Mills

The E. T. Dufton Woolen Mills were where the Shakespearean Gardens are today.

Edmund Tinsdale Dufton, an immigrant from Yorkshire, England, came to Stratford when he was a boy. His career in the wool business began in nearby St. Marys. He then bought the existing Stratford Woolen Mills in 1877. (In 1867 it had been listed as the Stratford Scutching Mill). E. T. would rename it Dufton and Sons and later Dufton’s Ltd.


Despite having a successful business, Dufton Woolen Mills faced some unfortunate, if not unsurprising experiences, for a late 19th/early 20th century woolen mill; it burned twice. Fire first ravaged the mill on April 4, 1910, and a little more than 12 years later, on July 28, 1922, another fire sealed its fate. Only the iconic 65-foot powerhouse chimney could be salvaged. It remains today as an iconic balance between Stratford’s industrial past and its creative present. Source : Stratford History Facebook; picture courtesy Nancy Musselman


The chimney was erected in 1910 by E. T. Dufton for his Woolen Mills, operated by the Duftons from 1874 to 1919.

The Dufton Woolen Mills, on left, before the fire. The chimney that was left in the Shakespearean Gardens was turned into a blue martin birdhouse. It was designed at the suggestion of ornithologist Jack Miner of Kingsville. The house proved popular among the intended birds, but their droppings not so much among the Gardens' visitors. So the openings for the birds were closed. Picture: Nancy Musselman . . . FB

John Corrie  Stratford-Perth Archives

Huron Street bridge


The Huron Street stone bridge was built in 1885, the year Stratford officially became a city. It is the only double-arched aqueduct road bridge in North America still in use for automotive traffic. Its limestone blocks came from nearby St. Marys, often referred to as "the stonetown." The Stratford bridge was intended to be a triple arch, but the Avon river at that point was too narrow.

John Corrie was an Englishman who came to Canada to build culverts on the Grand Trunk Railway's mainline from Toronto to Sarnia. In Stratford, he is known as the builder of the Huron Street bridge. 

This stone plaque, on the southeast pillar of the bridge, honors the man who constructed one of Stratford’s great landmarks, but also one of the most controversial. The building of the bridge caused some grief for many city employees and politicians of the time. In fact, the mayor, William Gordon, was voted out of office in the first election after the townspeople had their beautiful new bridge. 

It was Mayor Gordon who had cast the deciding vote to build the bridge out of stone instead of iron. The cost of the bridge, $11,400, also stirred controversy. This original nameplate was broken when the bridge was struck by a truck in 1970. The two pieces were reunited with cement when the bridge was repaired. Source: Beacon Herald scrapbook 

Originally, a wooden bridge built by Van Egmond in about 1832 joined the settlement developing on the south side of the Avon River to land on the northwest side of the river. That structure was replaced by a stone bridge that featured a large sandstone dome and top. It was built in 1885, at about the same time as the courthouse and county jail. That bridge is under construction in this photo. The new bridge took 150 wagonloads of stone, and the county building took 200. John Corrie was the contractor. Many people criticized the materials, the direction of the structure, and even the design of the new bridge. But, after much debate, it was completed, the job overseen by engineer Alexander Hepburn. Today it is one of the most photographed landmarks in Stratford. From Nancy Musselman

* Note: The carriage works can be seen top left. They were where the north entrance to T. J. Dolan Drive is today. 

Huron Street bridge Photo Fred Gonder

The carriage works just north of the Huron Street bridge on the west side of the street, where the entrance to T. J. Dolan Drive is today. Photo: Stratford-Perth Archives 

Pridham and Walkom carriage works

Established by James Walkom in 1869 at what is now 18 Huron St. was the Pridham and Walkom carriage works. As of 1879, it was called the Perth Carriage Works and employed eight men. 

The company earned about $7,000 per year, at a time when a worker's average pay was $10 to $18 per month. 

Carriage works were responsible for all types of conveyances, from wagons for hauling goods, to the style and elegance of carriages.

James Walkom was the son of Walter Walkom and Elizabeth Thomas, natives of Cornwall, England. They came to Canada with five children in the early 1840s and farmed near Bowmanville, Ont. James was their first child born in Canada, on May 24, 1844.


When he was about 25, James moved to Stratford and, with Jasper Pridham, who may have been a friend of his father, founded a carriage-making business on the north side of the Avon River near the Huron Street bridge. Under the name of Perth Carriage Works, the company manufactured carriages, wagons and sleighs, etc., from 1869 until the early 1900s. 

House built in 1904 at 49 Huron St. by James and Mary Walkom

In 1872 James married Mary Pridham, and they lived on Huron Street, next door to the carriage works. In 1904 they moved into a new house, built a little to the north of the existing buildings. James was 76 when he died at 49 Huron St. in November 1921. Mary continued to live in the house at 49 Huron until her death at age 93 in February 1942. The house was later home to Don McCaul and Dr. Evelyn McCaul and their family.  Source: Reflections by Ellen Thomas, Stratford-Perth Archives and Historic Plaque Properties  

* Note: In the bridge photo, above, the carriage works are in the top left.

Dutch memorial  Photo Fred Gonder

Plaque Photo Fred Gonder

Dutch Memorial Garden

The Dutch Memorial Garden is at the corner of Huron and William streets. It was a gift from the Netherlands after the Second World War, as a token of appreciation for Stratford's hospitality to 700 men of Dutch birth who came to Stratford to form a battalion. They came from Canada, Australia, South America, from wherever they were living in freedom at the time. After the occupation of Holland by Nazi armies, Canada invited the Netherlands to use Stratford for a military base to train medics. Queen Juliana of the Netherlands came four times to Stratford to visit the trainees. Their kaserne, or barracks, named Julianne Kaserne, was the former McLagan furniture factory on Trinity Street. Movie stars also visited the soldiers. For that reason, and participation of the Perth Regiment in the liberation of Holland in 1945, there is a close bond between our the Netherlands and Canada. The pair of hands, symbolizes Canada's support; the dove with broken wing is symbolic of the Netherlands. Holland sent red and white tulips to Stratford for the garden. Source: Nancy Musselman

Plaque reads:

Her royal Highness, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Prof. Pieter van Vollenhoven unveiled this plaque during their official visit to Canada in May 2017. 

The Statue of The Wounded Bird was gifted by the Dutch community of Stratford to the city in 1956.

It represents the Netherlands when it was occupied from 1940-1945, with two strong hands symbolizing Canada, who supported the Netherlands during its difficult period.

It is an important reminder of the shared history between Canada and the Netherlands.

Queen Julianna visits the troops  Nancy Musselman

Dutch garden:   Photo: Fred Gonder

Stratford-Perth Archives

R. Thomas Orr was an avid historian who over the years gathered an enormous collection of historical items from a variety of eclectic sources. At the time of his death, in 1970, the Orr collection had been divided between the basements of the Beacon Herald and Stratford Public Library.

 Jim Anderson, also a historian and Orr contemporary, implored Tom to permanently preserve his collection. Jim was a teacher, but said he would retire and look after the collection if he got a grant form the historical Society. He did, and that secured Anderson’s place as Stratford-Perth’s first official archivist.

4275 Huron St.

The Orr collection was moved into a large office space at an empty King Street factory, and then to the basement of the Perth County Courthouse. From there it was moved into the former registry office, on St. Andrew Street, beside the jail. Ultimately, the collection was in several locations until it found a dedicated and permanent state-of-the-art home on the Huron Road (Hwy 8), at the westerly outskirts of the city.

With its roots in the Thomas Orr collection, the Stratford-Perth Archives is the second oldest archives in Ontario. The Perth County Historical Society also contributed resources to the S-P Archives.

Jim Anderson Award

James Anderson was instrumental in the creation of Heritage Stratford (formerly the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee). He was a long- standing member LACAC and served as its chair. He helped establish the Stratford-Perth Archives and the Stratford Perth Museum, as well as the Brocksden County School Museum and for many years served as its curator.

James Anderson demonstrated leadership in the restoration and preservation of heritage structures within the City of Stratford. He assisted in saving the Gordon Block from demolition and helped preserve many other heritage properties, including the Perth County Courthouse

Jim Anderson  Stratford-Perth Archives

The James Anderson Award was created by Heritage Stratford in honour of James Anderson (1929-1994). It is awarded to individuals who have made a significant contribution to Stratford in the area of build or cultural or natural heritage preservation, or heritage garden conservation. Source:  R. Thomas Orr  by Dianne Sewell, from Rick Orr

4275 Huron St.

John Kastner

John Kastner was general manager of the Stratford Perth Museum for 10 years. He retired Dec. 1, 2023

 You can hear a podcast of him talking about the museum and his Justin Bieber display by Stratford Slice.  Click on Justin Bieber’s Best Friend Forever

Stratford Perth Museum

The home that became the Stratford Perth Museum was built for Thomas Holliday (1832-1914) who came from Yorkshire, England, to Canada in 1849 at age 17. He moved to Stratford in 1862 and worked with William Worth as a butcher.

In 1867, Holliday bought the Corn Exchange Hotel on Market Square in Stratford. In 1880, he replaced the building with the grand Royal Hotel

In 1869, Holliday purchased 100 acres on the Huron Road and in the following year built a large buff-brick house to replace the 1854 log house that had burned that year. 

Thomas and Mary Holliday raised 10 children on this property, which in 1946 was sold to Wesley Thurston. It is now the site of the Stratford Perth Museum. The museum’s collection building is on the footprint of the Thurston horse barn. That collection dates back to the beginning of the 20th century when the Library Act of 1902 permitted local libraries to collect and display museum collections. Since its incorporation in 1997, the Stratford Perth Museum has been a not-for-profit institution. Source: Stratford-Perth Museum

*     The Brooks Steamer is a prize possession of the museum  see Ontario Street where it was built.

See more on Thomas Holiday :  ACO Stratford -Perth

Brooks Steamer

"This is neat".  The Brooks Steamer was built on Ontario Street. It is the only one in captivity . Only 180 were made.  Now I drive back  to the bandshell to read the nearby plaque on Veterans Drive.

Kelly McIntosh

Kelly McIntosh, General Manager 

Kelly McIntosh replaced John Kastner on  Nov. 20, 2023

Ms. McIntosh has spent some 30 years in arts and heritage administration, along with a very active theatre performance career. Kelly worked previously at the Museum for four years in the capacity of administrative and membership coordinator, engaging daily with Museum staff, members, key donors, volunteers, students and patrons.

Ms. McIntosh was recently pivotal in the writing and staging of the hit Kroehler Girls stage production,( see Water Street) as well as the previously successful Ladies Of The CNR, which toured southwestern Ontario. Most recently, Kelly has worked as audience development coordinator & artistic associate at Blythe Festival Theatre, with primary responsibilities for donor, sponsor and member relations.  Source: Stratford Perth Museum

Here For Now Theatre . Outdoor venue at Perth County Museum 

Here for Now Theatre

Here For Now is an independent feminist theatre company based in Stratford Ontario that challenges and inspires its audiences by producing a bold annual theatre season comprised of new or underproduced plays. It was founded by Artistic Director Fiona Mongillo in 2012.  

The company has performed in several locations in Stratford. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the evolving artistic environment in 2020, Here for Now created an open-air festival on the backyard lawns of the Bruce Hotel that featured intimate, tech-light theatre with a strong focus on storytelling. 

n September 2020, the company incorporated as a not-for-profit and developed a larger 2021 season. The company commissioned ten world premiere productions and ran over 160 performances.

In 2022, the company moved indoors for the first time and transformed the community room at the Falstaff Family Centre into a temporary black box theatre. This season which featured nine intimate productions, including seven world premieres, was met with critical acclaim both in Canada and in the United States.  In 2023. Here For Now became a registered charity.

In 2023, the company moved back outdoors into a more intimate tent on the property of the Stratford Perth Museum. This season welcomed artists that included Sheila McCarthy, Kelli Fox, Clare Coulter and  Carmen Grant.

In 2024, Here For Now  will continue in its outdoor venue at the Perth County Museum. Source: About Us — Here For Now Theatre 

The Very Best bread company

Long before there were large bread manufacturers, small-town operators delivered bread to residential customers, door to door, street by street. In 1909, Albert Henry Zurbrigg bought a bread-making business from Joseph Farr in St. Marys, Ont. He called his company TVB, as in Thames Valley Bread. In 1922 he began using trucks to make deliveries in St. Marys and the surrounding area. In April 1927 the company added a Stratford bakery at 56 Huron St., just above where the Lions pool is today. That outlet, too, was named TVB, but in that case the letters stood for The Very Best Bread.

In the photo to the right is a red wagon used for delivering TVB bread. 

Like every new business, the TVB Bread Co. had to engage in an advertising campaign to announce its arrival and convince Stratford customers it was selling bread and baked goods that were better than the competition, which in those days included the Keystone Bakery, Ontario Bakery, J. C. Richards, Stratford Bakery and Weitzel's Bakery. With the campaign came slogans such as "Just over the river," and at Christmas a cartoon character called Jimmie Jingle ( see below).

Harry Zurbrigg

In addition to bread, the product line featured pies, cream puffs, cakes and rolls. The future featured the introduction of large grocery stores, and the TVB ovens went cold in 1950. Source: Brandi Borman and Stratford-Perth Archives; photos from Colleen Misener.

Personal note: My grandmother (Charlotte) married Albert Henry Zurbrigg and she iced wedding cakes at the TVB. I remember visiting  her at there, and the wonderful smell of fresh baking bread takes me back to those days. Brandi Borman

The TVB Bread Co. at 56 Huron  St.  Stratford-Perth Archives

The Founding of Stratford plaque: 

In 1832, some three years after company surveyors had erected shanties near this site, the Canada Company, a large private land settlement agency, initiated the development of " Little Thames" as the market centre for the eastern Huron Tract. By 1834 a tavern, sawmill and grist mill existed here and a year later a post office called Stratford was opened. Settlement was slow until the early 1850s when the advent of the railway and the designation of Stratford as county town transformed the village into a thriving administrative and commercial centre. Expansion of the community was accelerated after 1871 when railway repair yards were located here and in 1885 with a population of 9,000 Stratford was incorporated as a city.

Photo Fred Gonder

According to Tom Patterson, Mrs. John F. (Algiva) Adamson’s interpretation of Shakespeare was based on Victorian morality and was heavily bowdlerized. In short, she was censoring the plays.

Stratford’s founding director, Tyrone Guthrie, was furious. Censorship went against almost everything he believed in. But he restrained himself and said nothing. According to the retelling in A Star Danced, Guthrie heard that teaching the groups brought a deep sense of purpose back to Mrs. Adamson’s life, which had been shattered by the suicide of her daughter.

Classes continued and expanded, in a more organized fashion, to the city high school (St. Andrew’s Street) and the YWCA (Waterloo Street). The study sessions continued for years and the Adamson study booklets could still be purchased in town 40 years later.

This was all volunteer work by Mrs. Adamson. The booklets were clear, straightforward and, as Dama Bell said, “The Adamson classes helped us all get so much more out of Richard III than we would have.” Source: A Star Danced, by Barbara Reid and Thelma Morrison

Stratford Hotel, an early Stratford landmark 

 The square, three-storey, red-brick building to the northwest of the Huron Street bridge was the Stratford Hotel in about 1910. Directly behind it is St. Joseph’s Church. Photo: Stratford-Perth Archives.

In 1876, the Stratford Hotel was listed in the Vernon's city directory on the corner of Huron and St. George streets. (The name of St. George Street was later changed to Mornington Street). 

In this photo, thought to be from about 1910, the hotel is the three-storey, red-brick structure directly in front of St. Joseph's Church. Left, in the foreground, is the Huron Street bridge, built in 1885. The Pridham and Walkom Carriage Works, just north and west of the bridge, had been demolished by the time this photo was taken. The white-yellow brick house north and west of the bridge was built in 1904 for James Walkom, owner of the carriage works and his wife Mary.

The proprietor of the Stratford Hotel in 1876 was P. J. Writt. By 1880, John Kastner was running the place, and doing well enough to afford an ad in the city Directory.

By the mid-1880s, replacement of the wooden bridge on Huron Street had begun.

Eventually the Stratford Hotel was demolished, and replaced by a gas station. It is now green space. 

This view is from the south end of the Huron Street as it is under construction in the 1885. This is an earlier photo from the Perth County Archives still looking north across the Huron Street Bridge being built in 1885. The builder was A. J. Corrie, who also owned the Queen’s Arms Hotel. The Stratford Hotel is on the right and St. Joseph’s Church behind it. The Pridham and Walkom carriage works, on the left, were torn down in the early 1900s, before the above coloured photo was taken, in 1910. Photo: Stratford-Perth Archives. 

The Stratford Hotel is seen across from the light-coloured house at the right of the photo, the James Walkom house, built in 1904.  The Stratford Hotel is the square three-story building on the corner of Mornington and Huron Streets. Huron Street runs left to right in front of of St. Joseph’s Church. Douglas Street runs on the angle toward the bottom left of the photo from the junction of Huron and Mornington.  Photo: Stratford-Perth Archives. 

Sources: Stratford city directories; If You Grew Up in Stratford . . . FB; Stratford-Perth County Branch ACO (Architectural Conservancy of Ontario) | Historical Plaque Properties   * See the history of  a second Stratford Hotel on Erie Street. 

Bruce Nickel

Residence: 153 Huron St.

 Bruce Herbert Nickel, RCAF

Bruce Herbert Nickel was born in 1921, in Stratford, Ont. His father, William Fred Nickel, was a trust officer, who married Gertrude Elizabeth Yundt in July 1913, in Perth County. They lived at 153 Huron St. Bruce was an apprentice machinist at the Canadian National Railways repair shops in Stratford. He enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force on May 17, 1941, and set off for England on March 20, 1942 for further training. At the end of June, 1942, he converted to Spitfires at No.53 Operational Training Unit, Royal Air Force, Heston.

On Dec. 4, 1942, 401 and 402 squadrons RCAF took part in Rodeo 115 – a large fighter sweep. They rendezvoused over Kenley Air Field and had reached 12,000 feet by the time they crossed the English coast at Dungeness. From there, they turned south and flew parallel to the French coast to gain more height, with time in hand. Enemy aircraft were reported inland, so they turned south of Boulogne, at 25,000 feet and climbed towards Audruicq. They had reached 28,000 feet when they caught sight of several German FW190 War Thunder Fighter planes and made a head-on attack from above. But the height advantage came with  brought its own dangers – as well as the perils of oxygen failure,. The 401 squadron found frost creeping over their windscreens and hampered their visibility with disastrous consequences.

Nickel's Spitfire dropped out of formation in a spin and was seen to hit the ground near Boulogne, France. It was assumed he could not withstand the failure of his oxygen system, and that caused his death on Dec. 4. He was posthumously promoted to flight sergeant in October 1944, in effect from Aug 27, 1942.  He was 21.

Bruce Herbert Nickel, having no known grave, is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial and the Stratford cenotaph Source: Kenley Reviva

Notes for Henry IV Part 1 from 1958 

Elgiva Adamson: Shakespeare study groups

 In 1953, many in Stratford did not know the plays of Shakespeare but wanted to learn them. Some read on their own, but many more attended group studies as The Beacon Herald reported on Feb 13, 1953. Mrs. John F. (Elgiva) Adamson (1898-1973) led the study sessions, known as the Adamson Classes, which were highly successful. She also published booklets on the study of individual plays each year for several years. The booklets sold for 25 cents each in local stores.

The first class, for Richard III in 1953, was in the home of Mrs. Harold (Mabel) Martyn (Water Street). When she talked with neighbours about Richard III, one of the two plays presented by the Shakespearean Festival in 1953, she discovered just a few people knew anything of Shakespeare. So, she invited Mrs. Adamson, a retired English teacher, to speak, and it all grew from there.

The classes involved an hour of lecture followed by an hour of discussion. “The early classes were held in people’s homes and went on for about five weeks,” said Dama Bell (see James Street).  “Mind you, she (Mrs. Adamson) was very, very careful, and sex was handled with kid gloves.”