Historical Plaque Properties


Archibald Stapleton - Commercial Traveller - Whyte Packing Co.
277 Cambria Street
Stratford, ON

Archibald (Archie) Stapleton and his wife Helen Johnson Stapleton along with their three year old son moved into 277 Cambria Street in 1913.

Archie who was born in 1879 to William Stapleton and Margaret Lamond was a second generation Canadian which was not usual in the time period. He was the second born into a family of eight children. His grandfather, William Stapleton had emigrated from England in 1832 while the Lamond family arrived from Scotland in 1845.
William Stapleton set up farming in Nissouri West, Middlesex where his son William also turned to farming when he was of an age to do so. In the 1901 census, Archie is enumerated as a farmer on his father’s land. It was not a career that he followed for long. When he married Helen Johnson in 1909 he was working as a salesman. Helen was born in 1878 to James Johnson, a farmer in Downie Township, and Mary Ann Grieve.
Archie and Helen moved into 140 Wellington Street where their first child, Archibald Bruce Stapleton was born. Helen’s mother moved in with them for a time after Helen’s father died in 1910.

In the 1911 census, Archie was enumerated as a “Traveler”. At the time, travelling salesmen went by a number of names including traveler, commercial traveler and drummer. Unlike many travelling salesmen, Archie spent his career working for the Whyte Packing Company where he later became a supervisor.

The Whyte Packing Company was one of the largest meat packing companies in Canada. It began as a small processing plant in the village of Cromarty, but by 1870, had built a larger plant in the town of Mitchell with its link to the rail lines and easier access to expanding markets to establish a network for their products. The company later moved their operations to Stratford, which had better and more diversified rail links. The plant opened on July 1, 1900. It was located on a six-and-a half acre site on Linden Street, Stratford where the municipal bus garage now stands.

Helen and Archie had three more children after they moved to 277 Cambria Street, a girl born in 1913 and two sons born in 1916 and 1918. Their first son, Bruce, studied at the Ontario College of Art. He gained fame as a portrait painter and for his WWII support posters and MacLeans magazine covers. He was presented with an award of merit from the Association of Canadian Artists and is considered a pride of Stratford whose archive is home to some of his works. There is a bronze sidewalk star on Coburg Street in recognition of his talent.
Archie died in 1969 and Helen two years later in 1971. They are buried in Stratford’s Avondale Cemetery.