Born in London, Ont., on July 19, 1889, Rev. Corcoran was a beloved priest at Immaculate Conception Church (see Well Street), whose cornerstone was laid in 1905. That church was established after St. Joseph’s parish divided at the turn of the century. St. Joseph’s, with seating for 900, was opened on Nov. 8, 1868, by the Bishop of Sandwich.
Father Corcoran, as he was affectionately known, loved flowers, and his garden was open to everyone, regardless of faith. He took joy in growing and hybridizing irises, giving some of them to friends and acquaintances and donating some to horticultural societies. His City of Stratford iris found its way into the Royal Botanical Gardens in London, England; the spring garden of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton; the Montreal Botanical Gardens; and many other places.
After his death, the Stratford Horticultural Society planted a memorial iris gardens for the gentle Father Corcoran beside the Avon River. in Stratford. A plaque in his honour was dedicated in 1970. Sourced by Gordon Conroy from Floodtides of Fortune by Adelaide Leitch and from the Stratford and District Horticultural Society newsletter, May 2016.