Little Thames Place

Little Thames the first name given to the Town of Stratford

Thomas Mercer Jones

When Galt arrived at the Huron Tract, Stratford was not even a paper town. The road had yet to be built, the lots yet to be surveyed. When the first settlers came, they neither knew nor cared what the men in London had named the place. They would call it Little Thames, as the road builders and itinerants had done before them.

Traffic gradually increased along the first communication road through the bush, and others would follow in the wake of the first white man to set foot on the actual site of Little Thames, the Canada Company’s colourful warden of the woods, Dr. William “Tiger” Dunlop (see Dunlop Place).

Stratford began to take shape in 1832, when Thomas Mercer Jones, a Canada Company director (see Jones Street), gave a picture of William Shakespeare to William Sargint (see Sargint Street ), who hung it outside his inn, called the Shakespeare Hotel. A stone marks the site of this hotel, near 70 Ontario St.

Jones is said to have given the village the name of Stratford, and the creek, which had been known as Little Thames, was renamed the Avon River. Stratford was incorporated as a city in 1885. Source: Floodtides of Fortune.

Shakespeare Hotel. William Sargint, prop. Built 1832. Destroyed by fire 1849.