Whyte Avenue

Pork barrels

Stratford-Perth Archives

President John. S. Whyte and superintendent Harold Heitbohmer inspect the new canning department 1964 stratford-Perth Archives

Whyte Packing Co.

Whyte Avenue was formerly part of Linton Avenue, which ran west from Erie Street, along the east side of the railway tracks (now VIA) , through to Lorne Avenue.

Part of a survey laid out by William Gordon in 1874, Linton Avenue was named for John James Linton, (see Linton Avenue) Stratford's Public Watchdog during Stratford's founding years. Whyte Avenue was part of Linton Avenue until 1959, when it was renamed in honour of the Whyte Packing Co. Ltd. That year was the 100th anniversary of the founding of Whyte Packing. Its large packing plant was on Linton Avenue, the present site of the Public Utilities Commission bus garage.

The city was asked to rename that part of Linton Avenue, leading up to the front of the building, Whyte Avenue in recognition of the 100th anniversary. So, for seven years, from 1959 until 1966, Whyte Avenue led to the packing plant for which it was named. In 1966, the Whyte Packing Co. Ltd., at 78 Whyte Ave., closed. The building was demolished in the 1970s to make way for the bus garage. By Stanford Dingman

In 1859, this business was a one-man operation, and the one man was John Whyte Sr. (see Queen Street). He ran it in a log building from his farm near Cromarty, in Hibbert Township. He salted the pork, packed it in brine in wooden barrels, and transported it to remote logging camps by horse and wagon or horse and sleigh. In 1870, the Whytes moved their family business to Mitchell. In 1900 they built the plant at 78 Linton Ave. in Stratford.

Successive managers at Whyte's were William G. Irwin, Ernest J. Smith and John S. (Jack) Whyte who was president during the 100th anniversary. Source: Streets of Stratford, 2004

Photos Nancy Musselman . . . FB

John Whyte

Taking advantage of favourable agricultural prices in the global market of the 1850s, Scottish immigrant John Whyte Sr. prospered enough to diversify into the barrelled pork business. He opened a plant in Cromarty then expanded to Mitchell in 1870. John Jr. also managed the company at this point.

Two decades later the company became one of the most significant of its kind in Canada and it relocated to Stratford for its strategic railway connections. Whyte’s “hired some of the best architects and engineers from Chicago, the hog processing capital of the U.S., to design and build the largest and most modern processing plant in Canada.” On July 1, 1900, the Stratford plant opened.

Facing bankruptcy, the company was sold in 1966. The plant was demolished in the 1970s after the property was purchased by the city. Today the land of the former plant is home to Stratford’s bus garage. Whyte Avenue remains. By Stanford Dingman