Patterson Street

He established a church

Canon Ephraim Patterson, Stratford-Perth Archives

In the William Gordon survey laid out in 1874, Patterson Street was named for Mr. Gordon's friend, adviser, and rector of his church, Canon Ephraim Patterson (1826-1892). Patterson Street runs from St. Vincent Street South to Monteith Avenue, one block north of Lorne Avenue.

Rev. Patterson was appointed rector of the parish of St. James of the Church of England in 1851. The appointment was made by Rev. John Strachan, the bishop of Toronto and the diocese of Upper Canada. At that time, the Church of England was the established church of Upper Canada. Bishop Strachan transferred Rev. Patterson to Stratford from the mission field at Portsmouth and Wolfe Island, across from Kingston, in Frontenac County.

Rev. Patterson was the second rector of St. James and held the position for 41 years, from 1851 until his death in 1892.

The church he came to was not the handsome Gothic brick church of today. The first church was a small frame structure, 36 feet by 27 feet, its construction completed before 1894. At a cost of about $4,000, a second church was erected in 1855. It was a red-brick structure that measured 70 feet by 45 feet.

In 1862, when that building was seven years old, it was decided the almost flat-roofed "monstrosity," as it was called, must be replaced. In 1867 a motion was passed to take down the church. The congregation was so ashamed of its second church, that at the time of demolition (1868) there was a successful effort to have all pictures of it destroyed.

Rev. Patterson became the greatest builder the Anglican Church in Stratford has known. Not only was the present St. James Anglican Church built under his guidance, but also the St. James at 108 Mornington St., the St. James Parish Hall (completed in 1892, the year of Patterson's death), and the Home Memorial Church, which later became St. Paul's Anglican Church). He also established Trinity Anglican Church in Sebringville and Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Mitchell. He was appointed canon of the Diocesan Cathedral of London in 1889.

Ephraim Patterson was born in Perth, Lanark County, in 1826. He was still in the service of St. James when he died in 1892, in his 66th year.

The stained-glass window, in the centre of the north wall of St. James, was installed in 1915 in memory of Ephraim and Jane Patterson, by their children. When the cornerstone for the present St. James Church was laid in 1868, the Stratford Beacon said "Occupying a commanding position, the new edifice will be an ornament to the town and will be such as the people may point the stranger to with a feeling of pride, instead of avoiding it to escape mortification ." By Stanford Dingman

Rev. Patterson was immortalized in the Stratford novel Committed To His Charge, by the Lizars Sisters (1900). The book can be read online at: Open Library