Col. James Trow 

Stratford-Perth Archives

Apostle of the West

Originally Trow Avenue was a private tree-lined drive leading to the finest early Stratford residence, The Grange, built by Col. William Frederick McCulloch in the early 1840s (see William Street). Trow Avenue was later named for the second owner of The Grange, Col. James Trow (1826-1892). Trow bought the large estate from Col. McCulloch, Stratford's wealthiest pioneer citizen and largest land owner.

Col. Trow bought The Grange house, including the land between Ontario Street and the Avon River, on both sides of what is now Trow Avenue. He had been born Newtown, Montgomeryshire, North Wales, in 1826. He had no formal schooling. He immigrated to North Easthope Township in i841. There, he taught school and later became the township's assessor, clerk and reeve a record 21 years. He was Warden of Perth County in 1871. The 1879 Perth County Atlas claimed "He (James Trow) now stands in the front rank of our country's self-made men, whether judged from the eminent success which has attended his private efforts, or from the advanced position he has assumed as a leader of the people in agricultural, commercial, educational, municipal, or political (affairs)." His municipal record was described as one "no other man in the province can boast."

Elected as the first MPP for South Perth in the first parliament of Ontario after Confederation (1867), Trow introduced the "Mechanics Lein Act" and the "Homestead Law." But he became best known for his role in federal politics. He was elected MP for South Perth in 1872 as a Liberal, and served in the Dominion Parliament for 20 years, until 1891. He was re-elected easily in 1874, following the Pacific Railway Scandal of John A. MacDonald’s government. Col. Trow developed a keen interest in the West. 

Stratford-Perth Archives

He became chairman of the immigration committee responsible for colonizing the West. He travelled across the Prairies in a horse-drawn buggy, but "his real inspiration came with the opening of the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast." 

Known as the Apostle of the West,  James Trow MP wrote about his trip across the Prairies by buckboard in the Stratford Beacon. Thomas J. Dolan, former managing editor of the Beacon-Herald, wrote as follows about Col. Trow: "During a train ride, he was enthralled with the overwhelming grandeur of the mountain scenery. He foresaw that the Rockies would one day become a great highway for traffic and that people would want to stop and enjoy their beauty. He was one of many who played an important role in establishing Banff National Park. He had the imagination to visualize what has become one of the finest parks in the world. Trow was in the banking business too, and his building on the present site of the Royal Bank was known as Trow Block.

In 1880 he bought the Grange from the McCulloch estate. A private lane (now Trow Avenue) bordered with pines and poplars, extended from the house through Cobourg Street to Ontario Street. Large gates closed the drive at Cobourg and at Ontario. While the property was owned by the Trow family it was considered one of the showplaces of the district. The property was surrounded by beautiful gardens and a glass conservatory at one side of the house contained what was known as the largest collection in Canada of stuffed birds and animals, assembled by Mr. Trow."

Col. Trow died on a stretcher in Toronto during a business trip in 1892. His grave is marked by one of the largest monuments in Avondale Cemetery. He was the author of books on Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. In 1906, the Grange was surveyed into building lots, and Water Street and Trow Avenue were put through. The late George McLagan (furniture manufacturer, see McLagan Drive) bought the Grange house, tore it down, and built his own handcrafted house on the same site in 1907. The McLagan home still stands at 210 Water St. It was the Perth Insurance Co. building.  By Stanford Dingman

 A portrait of James Trow was painted by Peter Dierlamm who lived on Shrewsbury Street (see Shrewsbury Street).   Picture from Find a Grave

John Hayes reading to Elliott and  Alycin

John Sullivan Hayes, executive producer, author

John Sullivan Hayes was intimately connected with the Stratford Festival for 40-plus years, beginning with its inaugural season, 1953.  

He was born in London, England, on Sept. 1, 1919, to British stage and screen actor George Hayes and Canadian sculptress Margaret Scobie.

Following in his father’s footsteps, John pursued a career as an actor, stage manager and theatrical producer in England, the United States and Canada.

In 1953, Tyrone Guthrie invited him to help launch the Stratford Shakespearean Festival in Stratford, Ont. He and his wife, JoAnn (Elliott), moved from her family’s ranch in Texas to Canada, where they both worked at the Stratford Festival in its first season. From that date forward John was instrumental in planning and organizing 27 consecutive seasons. The Hayes family lived at 13 Trow Ave.

After he tried to retire in 1979, he was asked to return to help the theatre so often that his retirement became merely a six-month sabbatical. Without his astute behind-the-scenes negotiations, the Stratford Festival might not have survived its early years. A member of the Festival Theatre board from 1983 until his death on July 5, 1993, John contributed to the Stratford Festival for four decades.

Originally named in his honour, the John Sullivan Hayes Program for Theatre Training is now called the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. John Hayes was also a passionate collector of children’s literature. His superb collection of 6,000 antiquarian children’s books was donated by his children to the Osborne and Lillian H. Smith Collection in the Toronto Public Library. John died in 1993.    Source: Amazon Bio

John Hayes wrote " The Stratford Adventure of Adrian and Tiddlewinks"  

Click on picture to hear a sample  

His book follows the adventures of a shy boy, Adrian, and an amazingly brave mouse, Tiddlywinks, as they aspire to be actors on the stage of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada. John, a member of the original company at the Stratford Festival, uses the names and personalities of original directors, actors, and designers to create his colorful characters. This skillfully written children's chapter book teaches the young reader about what actually happens behind the scenes backstage in every theatre.

Alycin Hayes was his daughter and Elliott Hayes his son. See below.

Alycin Hayes, Author, Producer 

Alycin Hayes is a writer of poetry and prose, an actress, filmmaker, producer, singer, songwriter and wildlife conservationist. She is the creative director of Echo Hill Productions.

She grew up backstage at the Stratford Festival. Duke Ellington introduced her to music on her family's piano when she was three years old. Glen Gould played piano for her at the Hayes home when she was five. Ravi Shankar dropped by for tea with his sitar to share his insights on Indian music. She wrote a handbook on Gourd Music and has designed instruments for The Thai Elephant Orchestra's Elephants, for their third CD, Water Music

She is producer and co-director of the award-winning short film, Wild Florida's Vanishing Call, which won best local film at the Cinema Verde International Environmental Film and Art Festival in 2020. She is also the singer/songwriter and co-composer of the film's soundtrack.

She is the author of the award-winning children's picture book, Milo and the Mustang, which was chosen by R. Morrow Books as a great kids book for road trips. 

Alycin's newest book, a true adventure travel memoir, Amazon Hitchhiker - A Woman’s  Adventures from Canada to Brazil, is about her adventures in the 1970s hitchhiking overland to South America and then paddling a dugout canoe deep into the mystical rainforest of the Amazon River.      Source: Alycin Hayes Bio

Click picture to Watch Video

Elliot Hayes  (photo by Eliot's sister, Ann Alycin Hayes) 

13 Trow Ave.

Elliott Hayes wrote many of his poems, short stories, plays and novels in this small isolated, family farm cottage in the Canadian woods. 

Elliott Hayes, playwright

Elliott Hayes was a playwright born in Stratford, Ont., on June 22, 1956. He died at age 37 in a car accident on Feb. 22, 1994, in Fairview, Ont. He lived at 13 Trow Ave. during his childhood. The Hayes house is second from the right in the above coloured postcard photo. 

He was born into a theatrical family, the grandson of classical actor George Hayes, the son of John Sullivan Hayes (see above), one of the original company members of the Stratford Festival, who also was instrumental in the planning and organization of 27 consecutive Festival seasons. 

The Stratford Festival of Canada Conservatory was an outgrowth of the John Sullivan Hayes Program for Theatre Training, which was named in his honour. Elliott's mother, JoAnn (Elliott) Hayes, was instrumental in saving Stratford's historic city hall and was a founding member of Gallery Stratford. 

Hayes was surrounded in his childhood by the likes of Duke Ellington, Ravi Shankar and Robertson Davies, all friends of his family.

A graduate of the Old Vic Theatre School (Bristol, England) Elliott worked in Hollywood for several years. He returned to Canada in 1981 and served as the Stratford Festival's literary manager, dramaturge and occasional lyricist and assistant director, until his death. The Elliott Hayes Award, a prize in dramaturgy given by the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, was created in his honour.

His career was brief but produced several important works, including short stories, novels, poems and plays, the most notable being Homeward Bound, which has been presented with resounding success across the country, after premiering at Stratford in 1991. It is a tribute to his parents, both of whom died in 1993. Further information about Elliott Hayes and his family can be found at Echo Hill Productions Echo Hill Productions-Home 

Other plays include: Blake (with music by Loreena McKennitt(see Wellington Street), 1983), Happily Ever After (Solar Stage, 1993), Hard Hearts (Oldcastle Theatre, Bennington, Vermont, 1993), Life on Mars (Solar Stage, 1993), World of Wonders (adapted from Robertson Davies, Stratford, directed by Richard Rose, 1992.

Source: Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia  and Bios - Echo Hill Productions  Material compiled by Gord Conroy

Marti Maraden (see below) directed the world premiere of Elliott Hayes' Homeward Bound as well as his Hard Hearts (Canadian Stage, 1996).  

Picture: Marti Maraden's production of Elliott Hayes' Hard Hearts at Canadian Stage with Lorne Kennedy (top) and Michael McMurtry.  Source: Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia  

Marti Maraden

Toronto Library Digital Archives

Marti Maraden, actor/director

Marti Marden acted in 13 productions and directed five plays plays at the Stratford Festival. See all her works at  Shakespeare in Performance.

She came to Canada in 1968 with her husband/actor Frank Maraden and first settled in Vancouver. During cross-country auditions for Stratford both were accepted into the company. From 1974 to 1990 she became one of the company's great ingenues; her beautiful voice, elegance and loveliness were evident in Love's Labour's Lost (Katherine), The Tempest (Miranda), Hamlet (Ophelia), and the magnificent John Hirsch production of Three Sisters (Irena opposite Martha Henry's Olga and Maggie Smith's Masha). 

From 1992 to 2010 she directed Love's Labour's Lost, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, Alice Through The Looking Glass, Les Belles-soeurs and A Man For All Seasons, and others. In 2008, she had a brief tenure at Stratford as a co-artistic director with Des McAnuff and Don Shipley. She directed The Trojan Women and All's Well That Ends Well in 2008 and The Winter's Tale in 2009.  Source: Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia