Morison Street

All in the family

Lt. Col. Morison Delamere

Morison Street was part of the original Delamere subdivision laid out by Lt.-Col. Thomas Gillmor Delamere in 1920, one of five streets named by the colonel (see Delamere Avenue). He gave his family name to Delamere Avenue and named four more streets after his three sons. Dawson and Martin Streets were named for his eldest son, Alan Martin Dawson Delamere (1907-1967), who didn't use any of those names, but went by the name "Del."

Denison Street was named for his second son, Thomas Denison Delamere. He also did not use either of his names and chose to go by the name "Pete." Morison Street was named for the Colonel's third son, John Morison Delamere, who was born in Stratford in 1909. He didn't use the name Morison, but went by his first name, John.

John Morison Delamere was born while the family lived in their first Stratford house, one of the first located beyond James Street. It was built for the colonel's bride, the former Agnes Forbes Morison of Winnipeg. John Morison Delamere was named for his mother's family. The house still stands, at 98 Hillcrest Dr., though it was then called Front Street. During the early years of the Stratford Festival, this house was occupied by the Festival's founder, Tom Patterson.

The second Delamere house was built on the family's poultry farm, which occupied 55 acres between what is now Guthrie Avenue and the north bound railway line, and north from the Avon River to what is now Delamere Avenue.

Col. Delamere later gave to the City of Stratford, all the parkland along the river, east of Guthrie Avenue to the railway track. He had the foresight to preserve this prime riverfront land, which today is across the river from the Festival Theatre. William Street was only a footpath when the Delameres moved to their new house, but the farm provided a great playground along the river for the Delamere children.

The new house was built in about 1913, so John would have been four or five years old when the family moved. He grew up quickly. He was just nine when he became a drummer, in the military tradition well established in the Delamere family. In 1926, when he was 17, he joined the militia in Stratford at a time when his father was in command of the Perth Regiment. He served as a private and later a lieutenant with the Perths, and also became a captain with the Queen's Own Rifles in Toronto.

During the Second World War, he served in the Pacific Command in the infantry brigades. He was mentioned in dispatches. In 1948, he became the director of recruiting for the three Armed Forces, and a year later was appointed the assistant adjutant and quartermaster general of Eastern Command headquarters. In 1951 he was appointed to command the 1st Canadian Rifle Battalion of the 27th Infantry Brigade.

He was fourth in succession in his family to hold the rank of lieutenant-colonel. His great grandfather, Col. George Denison, was commandant of Upper Canada in 1860. His grandfather, Lt.-Col. Joseph Martin Delamere, was adjutant of the Queen's Own Rifles in the Northwest Rebellion, and an officer commanding the regiment in 1898-1902. His father, Lt.-Col. Thomas Gillmor Delamere, was a trooper in the South African War, serving with the Canadian Mounted Rifles. In 1915 he commanded a company of the 1st Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), and in 1916 became an officer commanding the 110th Perth Battalion CEF, and subsequently in command of the Perth Regiment, 1926-1927.

In 1953, Lt.-Col. John Morison Delamere, commanding officer of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, was among the deputy military advisers chosen to serve on the Indo- China Truce Commission. He died in 1967 while planning the Centennial train for the Canadian Government. He was 58. By Stanford Dingman

The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada

Formed 26 April 1860, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada is Canada’s oldest continuously serving infantry regiment, and since that time its members have served in every significant conflict in which Canadians have participated.

Source: Queen's Own Rifles Museum