Manning Avenue

Rev. Thomas Manning

Manning Avenue first appeared on the Stratford map in 1922. It was laid out in 1914 by Howey and Ward, men who acquired from the estate of Judge James P. Woods the block of land between Caroline Street and Avondale Avenue. Caroline Street was named for the judge's daughter, Caroline Woods (Van Buskirk), who lived in the big house at 62 John St. N. That house was later the residence of Dr. Ian Lindsay and his wife Molly (Warne) Kent.

Though little is known today about Messrs. Howey and Ward, it is believed they named Manning Avenue for Rev. Thomas Manning, the minister at Central Methodist Church from 1913 to 1917. That church was at 145 Erie St., just south of St. Patrick Street. It was destroyed by fire on Sept. 20, 1959. Later there was a bus depot on that site, which is now occupied by a single-storey commercial mall.

While the identities of Messrs. Howey and Ward are uncertain, there were families with those surnames who were members of Central church when Manning Avenue was named in 1914. Howey and Ward like chose Manning name for a street in their subdivision in honour of their minister.

By 1915, Central's membership had reached 670. Its Sunday school had grown to nearly 400 pupils, and its teacher roster included Mrs. J. W. Ward. Thomas Manning's wife was president of the woman’s missionary society during her husband’s tenure at Central. They lived in the Methodist manse at 166 Church St. (see Church Street).

In 1917, the year of the Mannings' departure from Central, construction began on a new entrance tower on either side of the church, which would replace the central entrance, which was then closed. Work was also started on a Sunday school annex. About two years after Rev. Manning left Stratford, his nephew, H. Gordon Manning, a teacher at the University of Toronto Schools, was appointed to teach English and history at the Stratford Normal School. Gordon Manning was later appointed vice-principal of the SNS and retired in 1947 after nearly 30 years of service.

Although Rev. Manning was not here to see it, Manning Avenue gradually developed into a quiet and secluded residential street. With notes from Stanford Dingman

* Click on picture to hear Anderson and Brown music

In 1995, they recorded the album In the Moon of Wintertime with Paul Haslem on hammered dulcimer. Click here.

Anderson and Brown, Celtic music duo

Anderson and Brown were a musical folk duo from Stratford who played festivals and craft shows throughout Ontario. They also recorded some albums during the 1990s.

With Mary Anderson on harp and Ken Brown on guitar, flute and vocals, they explored the lyrical edges of the traditional Celtic repertoire.

Mary was the daughter of John and Shirley Anderson of Stratford, who lived at 5 Manning Avenue. John Richard Anderson (1913-1980) was a respected lawyer and Queen's Counsel with the firm Gregory, Anderson Ehgoetz and Bell. He later headed the firm, as did his son Bob (1941-1982) after him. The family was deeply involved in the community, and in the 1950s were staunch supporters of the Stratford Indians hockey teams (see Sports Wall of Fame McCarthy Road).

The musical work of Anderson and Brown was described as never rushed or frenzied, as they worked their way inside the loveliness and beauty of traditional music, presenting it in fresh, frequently dreamy, arrangements.

On Off on a Tangent (1990), they said, "Like many Canadians, we were not brought up in the Celtic music tradition; we drifted into this music and fell madly in love." They also recorded More Than Just Live in 1990, Crimson in 1991 and Alone with a Dream in 1994.

The l1994 album is primarily instrumental, with harp and guitar, and occasionally harp and flute. "Brown's soft, gentle voice accords well with Anderson's harping." - Northern Journey.

Source: Gord Conroy and Anderson and Brown | Discography | Discogs