Born in 1881 and raised near Elora, Rose McQueen was such an excellent student that after graduation from Elora High School, she was engaged for three years as a teacher there. She left to attend the University of Toronto and, immediately upon graduation there, she was was hired by principal Charles A. Mayberry (see Mayberry Place) to teach at the Stratford Collegiate.
Rose McQueen dedicated her life to teaching English and history, and retired from the collegiate in 1946 as head of the English department. During 34 years of imparting her love of those two subjects, especially Shakespeare, she had an undeniable influence on the city of Stratford. She was a mentor to Tom Patterson (Delamere Street), founder of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival. Most of the 1952 chamber of commerce members, and the Festival steering committee they appointed, were former students.
She had a sure and extensive knowledge of her subjects, which she imparted with illustrative and anecdotal material. She brought Shakespeare to life with historical information about the Globe Theatre and the people of his time. She succeeded in arousing her students’ curiosity and desire to learn by thoroughly covering each play and poem. The book, Rose McQueen and Stratford, by Ernest Stabler, published in 1985, records many comments to that effect about Miss McQueen. Ernest Stabler said "She knew Falstaff personally sums up the intimacy with the plays conveyed to the students ."
She had an abiding interest in her students' education long after their graduation. She maintained a 100-page scrapbook of their accomplishments, dating from 1931 to 1950. On several occasions, she gave financial assistance to students who otherwise could not have pursued a university education.
Though she was heavily involved in collegiate activities, she found time to participate in community affairs. In 1920, she was the first president of Stratford's Women’s Canadian Club. A month after her election, she introduced Emmeline Pankhurst, the well-known British suffragette as the guest speaker.
In 1929, she was one of the vice-presidents of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation. She was also a member of the Stratford library board and the University Women’s Club. Much to her pleasure, she was named honorary president of the Stratford Little Theatre.
Rose's retirement in 1946 included a dinner arranged by 150 of her students. She lived at 42 Waterloo St. She died in 1963. Source: Streets of Stratford 2004; Fibergenea; and Gordon Conroy