Historical Plaque Properties


Norman Ives - Organist - Central Methodist Church
272 Cambria Street
Stratford, ON

Norman Theodore Sawbridge Ives was born on November 14, 1885 near Bowmanville, Ontario. He was the fourth of five children born to William Henry Ives and Alice Ann Gordon.

William Ives was born in England in July of 1860.  He emigrated to Ontario in 1875 where he met and married Alice, who was of Scottish decent. She was born in 1860 in Ontario.  William was a merchant.

By the time Norman was 15, the family had moved to the Junction in Toronto and according to the census at the time, he was listed as a musical student. 

Norman earned the privilege to place the initials L.T.C.M. behind his name.  L.T.C.M. stands for Licentiate, Toronto Conservatory of Music.  This means he was a graduate of the Conservatory of Music at a higher level than today’s bachelor of music.

The Ives family attended the Church of England.  Church attendance and music played a significant role in Norman’s and the life of his family. Both he and his sister, Alice, developed careers in music. Norman was an organist/musician and Alice was a music teacher.

When Norman was 30, he became the first tenant of 272 Cambria St.  He was not married and was the organist and choirmaster at Central Methodist Church.  He only lived for two years on Cambria St.

In 1916/17, the time that Norman Ives lived in the house on Cambria, the church and the church community was a vibrant and important part of life in Stratford.  Canada was at war and the churches came together for special prayer meetings for young people in the area who were actively participating in the war in Europe.  In January of 1916, an article in the newspaper of the day indicated that in one week, there would be 3 church services on Sunday and prayer meetings on Monday and Wednesday where the organist/choirmaster would be providing such music as “There is a Holy City”.

Central Methodist Church was located on Erie Street, and then became what was until recently called Central United.  Through amalgamation with St. John's United these congregations are now located at Avondale United Church.  Today many musical events as well as church services take place at Avondale United Church.

Norman married Margaret Sanders Piper in 1920.  He was still a bachelor and she was a widow and 6 years older. On the marriage certificate registered in Fort William, Ontario, his occupation was listed as a musician and they both attended the Presbyterian church. Perhaps they met and fell in love at church.

Norman Ives career as a musician can be traced to Wellington County and eventually back to the junction in Toronto. 

Norman Ives’s death certificate indicates that he last worked as a musician in 1939 and died on March 9, 1944 at 59 years of age.  He is buried near Bowmanville.
One child, a daughter was listed on the certificate.