McCulloch Street

One of the builders of Canada.

McCulloch Street was named for Col. William Frederick McCulloch, a leading businessman in the pioneer community of Stratford. Born at Strabane, in County Tyrone, Ireland, in 1813, he was member of the aristocracy. His father, James McCulloch, was a barrister in London, England, and his grandfather, a colonel in the British army who, served with distinction in India.

James McCulloch, in affluent circumstances, gave his son a first-class education in Cannes, France, and it was self-evident that his educational qualifications were of a high order. Source: Stratford Beacon.

In about 1835, Col. McCulloch married Elizabeth Hamilton, a descendant of the Duke of Abercorn. Their first five children were born before they immigrated to Canada in 1842. In this section of wilderness (Stratford), the colonel took a fancy to the property now called "The Grange," which he purchased. The Grange was a large property on the south side of the river which included the present Queens Park and continued from the river up to Ontario Street.

The colonel played a major role in the development of Stratford. He was the first reeve, in 1854-55 and mayor in 1860-1862. His son, James Alexander McCulloch, was also the mayor (1891-1872), as was his son-in-law, William Gordon (1884-1885) ,who built the Gordon Block.

Col. McCulloch's house was on the site of the Perth Insurance building at 210 Water Street, whose entrance was a long tree-lined private drive from Ontario Street (now Trow Avenue).

He was one of the first to invest heavily in the future of Stratford. He was the largest purchaser of Canada Company land and played an important role in developing pioneer industries such as a grist mill and sawmills along the Avon River. McCulloch was also a founder of St. James Church (see Mornington Street), which was built on his land deeded to the wardens for 5 shillings. He was one of the last to be buried there in 1870, joining other early pioneers.

As a wealthy aristocrat and the biggest landowner, it would be easy to label him as a big bad capitalist. But the evidence indicates that was not the case. He built and operated mills to feed and house people, and played an important role in developing the town for 30 years. He was one of the builders of Canada. By Stanford Dingman

Map showing The Grange

The Grange Stratford-Perth Archives map 1857, modified