May 24th, 2017:

Stratford, Ontario – My Top 6 Picks

Stratford, Ontario – My Top 6 Picks

Stratford is a city on the Avon River in Perth County in southwestern Ontario located at the junction of Highways 7-8 and 19. When the area was first settled by Europeans in 1832, the town site and the river were named after Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

In 1832, the Canada Company, a large private land settlement agency, initiated the development of “Little Thames” as the market center for the eastern Huron Tract.  By 1834, a tavern, sawmill, and gristmill were built and a year later a post office called Stratford was opened. With the coming of the railroad in the 1850s and the designation of Stratford as county town, the village was transformed into a thriving administrative and commercial center. Railway repair yards were opened here in 1871, and the town continued to expand. By 1885, Stratford had a population of 9,000 and it was incorporated as a city.

Furniture manufacturing became an important part of the local economy by the twentieth century.

The town is well known for being the home of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival which began in 1953. The annual festival brings hundreds of thousands of theatre goers and tourists to the area. The world-renowned festival takes place in four theaters throughout the city: the Festival Theatre, the Avon Theatre, Tom Patterson Theatre and the Studio Theatre.

The swan has become a symbol of the city. Each year twenty-four white swans and two black swans are released into the Avon River.

Architectural Photos Stratford Ontario

76 Mornington Street – Queen Anne Style – turret

Architectural Photos Stratford Ontario

160 Mornington Street – Italianate, pediment, dormer in attic – Italianate, pediment, dormer in attic

Architectural Photos Stratford Ontario

122 Mornington Street – Gothic Revival triple-gabled home, verge board trim on gables, finials, corner quoins; front door has bracketed transom and sidelight windows

Architectural Photos Stratford Ontario

2 Britannia Street – Queen Anne style – turret with cone-shaped cap

Architectural Photos Stratford Ontario

1 Wellington Street – Stratford City Hall – opened in 1900 – High Victorian building with many Queen Anne features – textural and dichromatic wall materials, Flemish wall dormers, and Neo-Classical cupolas and arches – geometric building with a dodecagon (twelve-sided shape) on either side of the outside triangular stairwell

Architectural Photos Stratford Ontario

Perth County Court House, St. Andrew Street – opened May 9, 1887 – High Victorian architecture with terra cotta details
It combines multi-colored masonry and a variety of building materials with features from different architectural styles. Italianate brackets adorn the cornice, while several Queen Anne features include the medieval tower, molded brick chimneys, and small multiple-paned windows. Romanesque Revival style features include the round arch windows stretching over two storeys, the heavy doors, the contrasting masonry surfaces, the rusticated basement foundation, the wall dormers which peak with a gable at the top, the pinnacle placed off center, Romanesque motifs adorning the soffits, and miniature columns complete with capitals which embellish the arched windows on the front and side facades. The soffits of the cornice immediately above the terra cotta panel are adorned with an intricate rose and maple leaf pattern.
Above the main entrance way is a semicircular transom, with stained glass windows portraying the scales of justice and crossed swords. Two panels with hands giving benediction are also located here. Quoins are used to create a pilaster effect complete with capitals on either side of the entrance, giving a contrast against the buff-colored brick.

St. Thomas, Ontario – My Top 5 Picks

St. Thomas, Ontario – My Top 5 Picks

Colonel The Honorable Thomas Talbot (1771-1853), the founder of the “Talbot Settlement”, was born at Castle Malahide, Ireland. In 1803, after serving in the British Army, he was granted 5,000 acres and settled in Dunwich Township.  He promoted colonization by building mills, supervising the construction of a three hundred mile long road paralleling Lake Erie, and helping establish thousands of settlers in the area. In 1817 St. Thomas, located south of London and north of Port Stanley, was named for him.

St. Thomas, located in Southwestern Ontario at the intersection of two historical roads, was first settled in 1810. It was named the seat of the new Elgin County in 1844 and became a city in 1881. The founder of the settlement was Captain Daniel Rapelje. In 1820, Rapelje divided his land into town lots for a village and he donated two acres of land for the building of Old St. Thomas Church.

On September 15, 1885, Jumbo, the giant African elephant, star of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, met an untimely death when struck in St. Thomas by a Grand Trunk locomotive. A life-size commemorative statue was erected in 1985.

In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century several railways were constructed through the city and St. Thomas became an important railway junction. In the 1950s and 1960s, with the decline of the railway as a mode of transportation, other industry began to locate in the city, mainly primary and secondary automotive manufacturing.

Architecture Photos St Thomas Ontario

1 Wellington Street – built 1878 (McLachlin House) – Queen Anne style – turrets, scroll work, bracketing, dormers

Architecture Photos St Thomas Ontario

4-8 Wellington Street – Elgin County Court House was originally designed by architect John Turner and built in 1854. After a fire in 1898, the original building was repaired and enlarged by architect N .R. Darrach, resulting in the present Palladian style, expressed by its symmetry, rectangular and round-arched openings, and by the use of classic detailing.

Architecture Photos St Thomas Ontario

3 Drake Street – built 1876 – Georgian frame house
– paired cornice brackets

Architectural Photos St Thomas Ontario

71 Metcalfe Street – Georgian with three-bay front, the centre bay projects forward, pediment, cornice brackets

Architectural Photos St Thomas Ontario

72 Metcalfe Street – built in 1875 – Gothic Revival – sharply peaked roof, intricate verge board trim