Historical Plaque Properties


Thomas Holiday Jr. - Business Owner
35 Front Street
Stratford, ON

In 1907 a new house was built just south of the river at the corner of Front and Ballantyne Streets by Alfred McLoy who owned Lot 3 and a northerly portion of the adjoining Lot 2 on Front Street. He did not live in the house which was subsequently purchased by Thomas Holliday Jr., a prominent Stratford business man who moved in with his wife, Isabella Maude Ross, their daughter Mary, age 10 and son, William Bradley, who was then 7 years old.


Thomas Holliday Jr. was born in Stratford in 1871, the first son of Thomas Holliday Sr., then the proprietor of the Corn Exchange Hotel and who had just commissioned a Stratford architect Alexander Hepburn to design what would become the Royal Hotel on Wellington Street. Shortly afterwards Thomas Sr. and his wife, Mary Ann Guy, took up residence in Downie Township (Perth South), where they would have 9 more children to complete their family of 6 daughters and 4 sons. The Holliday family’s property, (Lot 7, Concession 1) is now the site of the Stratford Perth Museum and the new location (2014) for the Stratford Perth Archives.

In 1890 a young Thomas Jr, became the owner of a local Stratford company the Stratford Bridge and Iron Works on Erie Street which initially produced agricultural implements. He developed it into a highly successful manufacturing business that produced structural components for the iron and steel bridges which the company built across, Ontario and in other parts of the developing country. By 1898 the two storey factory located at 91-97 Erie Street on the east side, just north of St Patrick Street, which included a blacksmith shop, a moulding  shop and a foundry, and employed 50 workers, was also turning out wind-mills which powered the lift pumps used for in-ground wells, grain grinders and iron and steel construction materials. It was clearly an essential business in those pioneer days.

Thomas and Isabella Maude lived in their Front Street house for many years. In October 1925 their daughter Mary married Charles Stillman, a salesman/manager from St Marys where his father was a butter maker. By 1935, Thomas had retired and Mary and Charles were living with them. Mary’s brother Bradley pursued a career as an accountant. Thomas died in 1948 and Isabella Maude, a year later, in 1849. Both are buried in Avondale Cemetery. The factory building was demolished in 1976 after being the location for various businesses. Part of the space it occupied is now the southerly portion of the Erie Street Parking Lot.