Taylor Street

Veteran of the Boer War

William Tailor points prudly to his new name on his street 1991

Residence: 57 Taylor St.

On the 1922 map of Stratford, Front Street ran from Delamere

Avenue in the north, almost to Downie Street in the south end of Stratford. It was then known in its three parts as Front Street, Front Street North, and Front Street South. But that led to a lot of confusion because the river and the Canadian National Railway yards acted as barriers.

Because of the increased confusion when Front Street North became more built up, it was renamed Hillcrest Drive, for the gentle slope rising from the Avon River up to Delamere Avenue. About 60 residents of Front Street South decided it was time to rename their part of Front Street. It didn't take them long to come up with a new name.

William Taylor, then in his late 70s, was a veteran of the Boer War (1899) and the First World War (1914-1918). He was also a veteran of Front Street South, having lived on the street longer than anyone. He was popular with his neighbours, who decided to honor the "oldest resident in the area," a man who had also "proven himself a good citizen."

City Council approved the name change "as caused by split streets." That ended the Front Street divide caused by the CNR railway yards.

Born in about 1884, William Taylor came to Canada and Stratford in 1913. He got nicely started in the Grand Trunk Railway shops when the First World War broke out in 1914. He went overseas, where he served with the First Division of the Canadian Army. Previously he had been in the Boer War, and in India. He returned to his job as a boiler-maker in the shops, where he clocked in for 30 years before retiring in 1949.

After the First World War, William Taylor lived in the same house, at 391 Front St. for 50 years, until he died in 1965. The house is still there but at 57 Taylor St.

The street is named for a hero who served both Canada and Britain in the time of war. Taylor Street is also a tribute to those who worked in one of the largest locomotive repair shops in the world. By Stanford Dingman

* Taylor Street runs south from the east end of Guelph Street to Bruce Street. There is a gap in the street between two sections of Elgin Crescent. Source: Streets of Stratford, 2004