Col. W. F. McCulloch
Colonel William Frederick McCulloch, founder
Stratford's leading aristocrat and wealthiest landowner, Col. William Frederick McCulloch, owned all the land between Mornington Street and the Avon River, extending from Huron Street to beyond James Street. In 1851, he laid out a street plan for his property, naming the streets for members of his immediate family.
James Street was named for his eldest son, James Alexander McCulloch, who was then 16 years old. He was later mayor of the town, in 1871 and 1872. The colonel, who had an earlier turn in the mayor's chair (1860-1862), named William Street for his third son, William Frederick McCulloch Jr., who was then 14. His second son, John, was left out of the name game because Stratford already had a John Street, in honour of John Galt.
McCulloch named Elizabeth Street for his eldest daughter, who was 11 years old. The part of Waterloo Street between the river and Mornington Street, was originally called Mary Street for his second daughter, Mary McCulloch, who was then eight years old. But after the Waterloo Street wooden bridge was built in the early 1870s, Mary Street became part of Waterloo Street, and the name Mary disappeared. Hamilton Street was named for Mrs. McCulloch, the former Elizabeth Hamilton. According to an old family record, she was connected to the Duke of Abercorn.
With 11 children, the colonel and his wife needed a large residence, which he had built "The Grange," the city's largest property, It included the land north of Ontario Street to the river between Front Street to just west of what is now Arden Park. The Grange house, erected in the 1840s, was at what is now 210 Waterloo St. James Trow next owned that house. In 1907, George McLagan had it demolished and replaced with the house that is there now. Eventually, it became headquarters for the Perth Insurance Co., and later the Perth County Board of Education. (see Water Street) Source: Perth-County Archives, Streets of Stratford 2004
Duke of Abercom
The part of William Street between Huron and Hamilton streets, was St. Michael Street on the 1848 map. Stratford's Little Potentate, John Corry Wilson Daly, always the individualist, marked his copy of the 1839 Canada Company map with the name "St. Paul's Place." Neither of those names stuck, and this first block soon became part of William Street. The triangle of land now occupied by St. James Anglican Church, was marked by Daly, "Reserve for a burying ground and church," and the 1848 map was marked "English church ground." The part of Mornington Street between Huron and Britannia streets, was marked Church Street by Daly because of the Church reserve designation. The official name chosen by the Canada Company was St. Georges Street in honour of the patron saint of England and because of the English church ground.
The first courthouse
McCulloch made an important contribution. In 1851, for consideration of the sum of " 20 pounds" he sold a large block of choice land, sloping from Elizabeth Street down to William Street and bordered on the west by Hamilton Street, to the Provisional County of Perth as the site of the first courthouse. The first gaol (jail) and land registry office were also built on that property. The walkway over the Avon River dam was named Court Street on the (see 1857 map). It was the route favored by the town barristers as they made their way to the new courthouse. It was a handsome building in the classical tradition, but architect Peter Ferguson was not given sufficient funds, and the fine façade contained a less-than-adequate interior. After only 35 years, it was replaced by the present courthouse, in 1887. On July 1, 1852, the foundation stone for the first courthouse was set in place. More than 1,000 town and country residents watched officials march through the village, led by the Stratford band. They marched across the wooden bridge and up McCulloch's hill. By Stanford Dingman
The first courthouse, 1853, on McCulloch's hill, William Street Beacon Herald
Sir John Cunningham McLennan
After graduating in physics from the University of Toronto in 1892, McLennan worked as a demonstrator, and in 1898 went to the Cavendish laboratory in Cambridge, England. In 1900 he received the first doctorate in physics from the University of Toronto. He spent his career at that university, bringing his physics laboratory to the forefront of research in radioactivity, spectroscopy and low-temperature physics.
During the First World War, McLennan was scientific adviser to the British admiralty. In 1915, he was elected to the Royal Society of London (receiving its gold medal in 1928) and in 1917 received the Order of the British Empire. After the war, he returned to the University of Toronto but spent each summer in Britain, where he was president of the scientific section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1923.
As president of the Royal Canadian Institute in 1916, he helped found the National Research Council and was a member of the Ontario Research Foundation (established 1928). He resigned from the University of Toronto in 1932 and moved to England where he continued his pioneering research in the use of radium to treat cancer. He was knighted in 1935. Source: Canadian Encyclopedia
A Plaque is located on the river path behind his house at 203 Williams St. It reads:
"An outstanding Canadian scientist, McLennan was born in Ingersoll and moved to this house in 1883. He attended the University of Toronto where he later became Head of the Physics Department. His research and publications brought international recognition to the University's physics laboratory, which bears his name. A leading advocate of close ties between science, industry and government, McLennan was instrumental in founding the Advisory Council on Industrial and Scientific Research, later the National Research Council. His work in England on the magnetic detection of submarines and the use of radium in the treatment of cancer, his explanation of the yellow-green light in the spectrum of the aurora borealis and his success in liquefying helium, contributed to his worldwide reputation. He was knighted in 1935."
Photo Fred Gonder
203 William St. Photo Fred Gonder
John Cunningham McLennan lived in this house, at 203 William St.
The street is associated with Col. William F. McCulloch, who owned much of the land in this area of Stratford, including the land on which this house was built. McCulloch was instrumental in the development of Stratford; he built many of the first mills and commercial properties on the north side of Ontario Street.
Built in 1877 as a rental property, this house is associated with the McLennan family. David McLennan, a produce dealer, became a tenant here in 1883 and the owner in 1888. McLennan's son, John Cunningham McLennan, became an outstanding Canadian scientist, whose research and publications brought international recognition to the University of Toronto's physics laboratory. The McLennan family owned and lived in the house until 1950.
Their house is a good example of the Italianate architectural style. Typical of this style are the large ornate brackets, protruding bay windows and asymmetrical design. The gables feature wooden bargeboards. The asymmetrical design strayed from the balanced and symmetrical design of the earlier Gothic style, popular in Stratford, and indicated a change in building trends. Source: Canada's Historic Places
More information on McLennan's life can be found here: Physics University of Toronto
Cam Trowsdale with his violin, made by Xiaodong Guan (see below) at Galiano Island in British Columbia.
Campbell Trowsdale, violinist
Campbell Trowsdale (1933-2022) was born in Stratford. He was a viruoso violinist and teacher in Stratford in the early 1950s. At that time, he lived at 192 William Street though his later life was spent in British Columbia where he was a professor of music and cconcertmaster for the CBC orchestra.
In the late 1950s, he became a member of the Hart House Orchestra and played occasionally in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He was appointed in 1961 to the faculty of education at the University of British Columbia, from where he retired as professor emeritus in 1988. He joined the CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra in 1964 and became its concertmaster in 1967. He also became concertmaster of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra in 1977, and continued to hold both positions in 1990.
He performed as soloist and as a chamber musician in Vancouver and on CBC Radio, his repertoire reflecting his interest in contemporary music. He is heard in a performance of Jean Coulthard's The Bird of Dawning Singeth All Night Long with the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, conducted by Mario Bernardi (see below). Since his retirement from the University of British Columbia, he was mostly engaged in consulting and performing. He served as music and educational consultant to the Langley Fine Arts Elementary School. Source Canadian Encyclopedia.
Cam returned often to Stratford and kept in close contact with other musicians in Stratford including Audrey Conroy, (see Water Street), Gordon Scott, see (Waterloo Street), and Charlie Trethewey. (see St. David Street).
He wrote a comprehensive paper on the History of W. F. Freeland and the Freeland Fountain, which is in Stratford.
* He had a violin made in Stratford by Xiaodong Guan a luthier (maker of stringed instruments, such as violins and guitars). Guan won the international Violin Bridge Competition in 2021. (see bel0w)
* Click below to hear a preview of Trowsdale playing The Bird of Dawning Singeth All Night Long.
Winning violin bridge
Xiaodong Guan, luthier
Xiaodong Guan is a luthier with more than 30 years of experience. He graduated from the Shenyang Conservatory of Music in 1988, after which he studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Since the late 1990s, he has been working in Ontario, Canada, and currently owns the Stratford Violin Studio. He makes violins, violas, and cellos, and also works on instrument restorations for musicians across Ontario.
He won the International Violin Bridge competition in 2021
Ancrum Brae Hospital 300 William St.
Patient's room in the Ancrum Brae Hospital, 300 William St.
Mansion on the hill
This house, at 300 William St. (now 45-47 James St.), was known as the Mansion on the hill, or the Wyatt home, because J. Harold Wyatt and his wife were residents there for many years. Wyatt was president of the Kroehler furniture company.
With its original entrance off James Street, this large Italianate mansion was built on four acres by local architect Alexander Hepburn in 1873. The Italianate Villa Tower featured in this picture has a different roof than is typical for the style and was demolished in the 1930s. The mansion was first owned by John Idington, a judge on Canada’s Supreme Court. The creek in front is known as Idington Creek. In 1909, Chief Justice Idington (see below) sold the mansion to the Hislop sisters who converted it to a hospital.
Ancrum Brae Hospital
After 1909 and until 1929, two Hislop sisters used this house as a private hospital, Ancrum Brae. They called it a sanatorium and claimed it was particularly adapted to restore impaired nerves, and tired brains and bodies. In today's terms, this would have been classified as a spa or retreat. It was probably named after Dr. Michael Ancrum, a late-1800s doctor, and brae, Gaelic for a hillside or riverbank. The hospital went bankrupt in the 1920s but more recently the building, minus its magnificent tower, housed a bed and breakfast business called Alexandra Inn and Spa. Source: Stratford Walks
As it is today
John Idington Stratford-Perth Archives
Judge John Idington
342 William St.
Norman Bethune, doctor
The quaint cottage at 342 William St, with its stone chimney, seems a little out of place among the larger homes of the area. It was the summer residence of one of Stratford’s most prominent doctors, Lorne Forbes Robertson. Dr. Robertson spent his summer months in this cottage far from the hustle, bustle and smells of downtown Stratford (see Albert Street).
He was born in 1876 on Nile Street. His father James (see Nile Street) was also a surgeon and physician who practised in Stratford. His grandfather, John Forbes, had been a successful man of commerce, and owner of the Queens Inn (see Ontario Street).
One of the young interns who came here for several summers in about 1919 to relieve Drs. Robertson was the now-renown Dr. Norman Bethune. Dr. Bethune set up the first mobile blood transfusion service in the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and saved thousands of lives. In turn, he created a model for the later development of Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) units. He joined the Chinese communists in their struggle against the Japanese in the Second Sino-Japanese War and performed emergency battlefield surgical operations on war casualties. All the while, he was establishing training programs for doctors, nurses and orderlies.
He did not distinguish between or among casualties; he treated wounded Japanese prisoners as well as the Chinese. Bethune died on Nov. 12, 1939, of blood poisoning from a cut he received when performing surgery in the midst of the Second Sino-Japanese War. He is one of the few Westerners to whom China has dedicated statues. In fact there are several in his honour throughout the country. He is buried in the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, China. Source: Stratford Walks
Stratford honoured Bethune with a bronze star on July 1, 2012. It is in place near the city hall.
For more on Bethune see Feature Article Norman Bethune Stratford Connection
* Both Dr. Robertson and Dr. Bethune worked at Ancrum Brae (see above).
219 William St.
David Priest, jazz pianist
J. Theo (Ted) Priest, music teacher
Ted Priest, David's father, in 1939.
Newman O'Leary 1939
Alex Smith, CJCS radio, actor
Lions Club Pool, built 1932.
First Photo 1932 Stratford- Perth Archives
Before the pool . . .
This first photo directly below and the one on the right are more than 100 years old. The first is taken from the walkway beside the dam on the Avon River, looking east. The accompanying photo on the right is taken from the William Street shore looking south. Part of the walkway and dam area are visible on the right of the photo. Note the ornamental triple street lights. Both show young people enjoying a cool dip in Lake Victoria on a hot summer day. With no public pools or air conditioning, it must have been a wonderful fun day for all. By Vince Gratton
1918 Photo Vince Gratton Loooking east. The Waterloo Street Arena is visible on the right.
1928 Photo Vince Gratton. From south side of the Avon River (William Street). Change rooms ...right foreground. Boat house opposite on north side of Avon.
Dolly Dolson: NHL goalie with 10 shutouts for Detroit in 1928-29. He also played for Stratford. He lived on William Street.
Dolly Dolson, unsung star
Goaltender Dolly Dolson, second from left, was one of the last surviving members of the Galt 1914-1915 junior championship team. Speedy Oliver (centre right) was a teammate. Also in the photo is manager Abbie Kilgour, far right.
In 1915, Dolson went overseas with the Canadian Armed Forces and was decorated with the Distinguished Conduct Medal. When he returned, he joined the senior Galt Terriers of the Big Six League. With the boys of summer, he was a good catcher who could hit, so he baseball played with Galt's intermediate and senior Terriers.
Terry Griggs, author
Terry Griggs writes adult and youth fiction. She and her family live in Stratford.
In her teens, she moved to southern Ontario from her birthplace, near Little Current on Manitoulin Island. After studies at the University of Western Ontario (now Western University), where she met, worked with and was influenced by Stratford writer James Reaney (see Caledonia Street), she ultimately settled in Stratford. One childhood writing influence was Lewis Carroll whose Alice books were "...a thrilling discovery., so funny and verbally rich."
Griggs works at home, in her office, at her mother's antique desk. She loves the Stratford Public Library and the endless resources of the Oxford English Dictionary. She has created a wide variety of works. Thought You Were Dead, for example, is a hybrid, a mystery (of sorts) with elements of farce and satire. Quickening (1990) is a book of short stories that was chosen as a finalist for the Governor General's Award. In 2002 she received the Marian Engel Award for her writing. In 2010 she was honoured with the installation of a Project Bookmark Canada plaque in Owen Sound.
"I love the freedom that comes with a writing life...exploring the undercurrent of meaning and emotion that flow through people's lives." Terry Griggs
Recent works include The Discovery of Honey (2017), hailed as tremendously original and riotously funny, and The Iconoclast's Journal (2018). It is set in the rough-and-tumble late 19th century backwoods, and is described as "wildly kinetic, a madcap picaresque and comic anti-romance by one of the most inventive writers at work today." In 2023, she is working on a novel set in the 1960s in Yorkville.
Griggs is also the author of young adult books, including the Cat’s Eye Corner Trilogy, comprising Cat’s Eye Corner, The Silver Door and Invisible Ink. All all have have been nominated for multiple children’s writing awards.
Stratford gets a mention in Rogue's Wedding and is the setting for a new novel yet in manuscript. Sources: Terry Griggs - Wikipedia and From the Archive: Titles Gone Rogue with The Iconoclast's Journal and Biblioasis' ReSet Series | All Lit Up ; april_001.pdf (stratfordtimes.com)
* Read an interview with Terry Briggs here: Meet Terry Griggs | Stratford authors
Regatta showing the building housing Queen Tailoring behind the Change Rooms for those enjoying swimming in the Avon River. St. James Church is seen behind. Photo: Stratford Perth Archives.
George Queen, tailor and The Queen Tailoring Company on the Avon
This building on the north bank of the Avon River at 35 William Street below St. James Church was once home to The Queen Tailoring Company run by George Queen, tailor. He arrived in Stratford in 1907 from Toronto with his wife and family. His business occupied the second and third floors of this building in the photo from 1909-1912. He apparently arrived in Stratford in 1907, and operated his business at various locations before he left Stratford for retirement in Florida. He is no longer listed in the Stratford Vernon Directories after 1925.
This four story building on the south side of William Street is one that many associate later with Lloyds Fruits and Vegetables who were earlier located at 2 Ontario Street (see Ontario Street and also Lloyd Court). Now the William Street site is occupied by Park Towers.
The picture shown above from the Stratford-Perth Archives was used on a poster as part of a publicity campaign to defeat the proposal by CPR to build a rail line by the river. When a city plebiscite was held in March 1913, the proposal was defeated by a mere 127 votes. (see Flashback article under More, “The park system: How Dr. Eidt saved the day!”). The message on the poster reminded people that if the plebiscite was not defeated all those people standing “…in the foreground of the picture would be trespassers on railway property if they attempted to reach the water’s edge.”
The picture above also shows the bath house immediately in front of the Queen Tailoring Company, as well as pleasure boats and bathers. To the left of the photo is the site of the Lions’ Club outdoor pool which would be built in 1932 during the Great Depression. (see Lions’ Pool article above). A miniature Golf Course was located on the pool site before the building of the pool. A game cost 10 cents.
The picture here dates from 1932-1937. It shows a similar view after the building of the outdoor pool in 1932 along with the dam and pergola also built in the 1930s. Both the dam and pergola were destroyed by the great flood in 1937 but the Lions’ Club outdoor pool survived. See Vince Gratton’s article and photos for further details.
The boathouse can be seen in the foreground. The new Lions’ Club Pool is to the left and the Pergola also constructed during The Depression covers the walkway from the dam to the Avon River bathing area. It was still popular into the late 1940s and swimming in the river was free.
George Queen’s offices for the Queen Tailoring Company at 35 William Street were located on the second floor of the factory; his workrooms were on the third floor. The details about his up-to-date business included here come from the June 1911 issue of Magazine of Industry. This magazine reviewed the historic, industrial and financial interests of Perth County.
According to the magazine, the workrooms were outfitted with the latest of modern conveniences such as Singer power machines. Queen employed expert workers, and customers were able to find a range of the most fashionable domestic and imported clothes.
The business was mainly wholesale with a brisk mail order sideline. All the garments were shaped by hand and the company stood behind all their products.
Queen operated his business in Stratford for 18 years beginning in 1907.In 1909, he is listed at 109 Downie Street; in 1909-1912, at 35 William Street; in 1916-1922 at 32 Downie; in 1923-1925, at 30 Downie.
George Queen was born in Scotland in 1857 and came to Canada with his parents about 1858. He married Ida Orr in her hometown of Georgetown in 1889 and first lived in Toronto where at least five children were born before coming to Stratford about 1907. Ida died in Stratford in 1918; George seems to have left Stratford after 1925 and died in Daytona Beach in 1936. Both are buried in Avondale cemetery.
Sources: Stratford Beacon Herald, Stratford and District Historical Society FB, Stratford-Perth Archives, Find a Grave, Avondale cemetery. Find a grave
90 William Street was built in 1859 by Uzial Clark lee, a banker. The tower and bay windows were added in the 1880s. Photo: Brian Wendy Reis, If you grew up in Stratford...FB
90 William Street, then and now
This residence at 90 William Street graced the one and a half acre property for a century. It was the home of the Bank of Montreal mnanager in Stratford for more than half of that time. Now two apartment buildings occupy the site.
The photo and a memory of the house came from Brian Reis who grew up in Stratford and remembered the house with fondness."
"What a shame this place had to come down! This house, situated on one and a half acres at 90 William St., was built in 1859 by Uzial Clark Lee, a banker, and for many years was used as the residence for the local manager of the Bank of Montreal. Former Stratford-Perth Archivist, Jim Anderson, commented that the tower and bay windows were an addition to the home in the 1880s. If you're wondering what's at this address now, think modern apartment buildings." Source: Brian Wendy Reis, If you grew up in Stratford... FB
This early scene taken from the south bank of the Avon River shows the house that would become known as the Bank of Montreal house at 90 William Street at the right of the photo. The First Registry Office is at the left and the First Court House built in 1853 on McCulloch's Hill (see article above) is seen in the centre behind Easson's Mill. ( see Easson Street).The First Court House was just east of the present day Hamilton Street and occupied the land between Elizabeth and William Streets. Photo:: Stratford-Perth Archives.
The House Interior. Vince Gratton shared a memory of the interior in the 1950s. "I was in this home at the time that William & Iza Kalbfleisch were the residents. Bill was the manager of the Bank of Montreal and a founding board member of the Shakespearean Festival. The home had a huge living room with fireplaces at both ends."
The property at 90 William Street almost became home for Knox Church in the 1950s .