Waddell Street

One Subdivision, two plans

John Boyden, baritone poet of Canada

Eugene Faludi, street planner,  1969.  Stratford-Perth Archives

Andrew Waddell in his office at the livery stable, 26 Albert St.  Stratford-Perth Archives

One subdivision, two plans

Waddell Street bears the name of the family that established the first Avalon Park subdivision in 1913. Two Stratford businessmen, brothers Andrew and James Waddell, developed the property owned by the Waddell family just prior to the First World War.

The present "Waddell Street" is a born again name. First laid out and named by the Waddell family in 1913, it ran north from Britannia Street to Princess Street. But what we now know as the Avalon subdivision was also "born again." Only two houses were built in the original Avalon Park before the First World War intervened. Avalon Park then fell dormant, and remained as open fields for more than three decades. Waddell Street now runs south off Greenwood Drive and ends with a cul-de-sac between Somerset and Coriano streets, near the former agricultural fairgrounds. Source: Streets of Stratford, 2004 

In 1946, immediately after the Second World War, the Avalon subdivision had a second coming. As chairman of the Stratford planning board, Donald Strudley was responsible for supervising the building of 108 houses for returning veterans and their families.

Because Avalon was designed for families with young children, it was decided to avoid through streets and fast moving traffic. One of the province's leading town planners, Eugene G. Faludi of Toronto, was hired to design the Avalon Street plan. He was also responsible for Stratford's official plan.

One of the first official plans in Ontario, Faludi's design put Stratford at the forefront of town planning in Canada. Stratford's plan formed the basis of a film on town planning which was widely shown in North America. He died in 1981 and his documents are now in the National Archives of Canada.

A return to the Avalon plans necessitated another look at Waddell Street. Faludi was not happy with the rectangular layout devised by the Waddells. The Waddell name was moved to one of the new Avalon streets next to the fairgrounds. The original Waddell Street was renamed Normandy Drive in recognition of the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944. 

Andrew Waddell was a well-known insurance broker for 63 years. For many of those years his office was in an old red-brick stable at 26 Albert St., where his brother James Waddell operated a successful livery, cab, boarding and sales business. The building was demolished in 1950 to make way for the city chamber of commerce building at 38 Albert St.  By Stanford Dingman  

John Boyden was honoured with a Stratford Bronze Star on July 1 , 2005 at City Hall.

John Boyden, baritone poet of Canada

John Boyden  (Nov 22, 1935-Dec. 5, 1982) was born in Woodstock to Arthur and Anne Boyden. They moved to Stratford in 1939 and lived at 32 Waddell St.  Arthur Boyden worked for the Canadian National Railways  died in 1953. Anne ran the Iona fish and Chip shop on Downie Street (see below).

John began singing as a boy soprano and later joined the Elizabethan Singers at St. John's church (see Waterloo Street). He also studied under the tutelage of Gordon Scott (see Waterloo Street), the superb choirmaster at the church.

Boyden became a world-renowned lieder and opera singer. He gave recitals in Amsterdam, Vienna, London, Berlin, Lisbon, Milan and Munich, and performed with orchestras in Bern and Zurich. He toured the USSR, where his city stops included Leningrad, Moscow and Minsk.

His career was derailed by Hodgkin's disease in the early 1970s. He made his final concert appearance at the Stratford Festival on Aug. 22, 1970. Acclaimed "the baritone poet of Canada," he died on Dec. 5, 1982, at age  47.  For more on his career see Canadian Encyclopedia.

Several sound clips of John Boyden's performances are now available courtesy of one of his former students. You can hear 11 pieces by clicking  John Boyden Archives  *     Click below to hear John sing  September Song  1980