Historical Plaque Properties


Donald McLachlan - Principal/Central Business College
216 Albert Street
Stratford, ON

Donald Alexander McLachlan was born on April 7, 1875 the third of four children of Donald McLachlan and Margaret Fraser. Donald’s parents were married in Dundee, Quebec in 1870. Following their marriage, they settled on a farm near the Village of Komoka in Lobo Township, Middlesex County, Ontario. Donald’s mother, Margaret, who was born in Quebec in 1845, lived to be 105 years of age.

Donald along with his three brothers, helped their father on the farm. However, at some point during the 1890’s Donald chose a career in education. The 1901 Census records his occupation as a teacher. The census also records that he still lived with his parents so it is likely that he taught in Komoka or at a country school elsewhere in Lobo Township. Shortly thereafter Donald moved to Stratford and took a teaching position with the Central Business College.

The Central Business College was founded in 1887 with the objective of providing young people with the basics necessary to “achieve success and independence in the business world.” Donald acquired an interest in the College and became its Principal. According to contemporary write-ups the College’s reputation grew under the guidance of Donald and his partner W. A. Elliot who operated a similar school in Toronto. It became recognized as one of the best private business colleges in the country. The College was located in the Gordon Block bounded by Downie, Erie and Ontario Streets.

On October 26, 1904, Donald married Christena Elizabeth McVicar. Commonly known as Tena, she was born on July 21, 1877 the daughter of John McVicar and Janet McArthur who also farmed in Lobo Township. Donald and Tena likely knew each other from childhood as their families farms were two concessions apart. The newlyweds rented the house at 216 Albert Street, which had just been completed by Joseph L. Richardson. They lived there until 1908 when they moved to 223 Water Street.

Donald and Tena had four children, three daughters (Jean, Marion and Lois) and a son Donald Gordon McLachlan. Tragically, but not uncommon in this time period, two of their children died in infancy. Their son, Donald Gordon, died in 1912 at the age of twenty-two-months of tubercular meningitis and their youngest daughter Lois in 1919 at the age of nine months of bronchial pneumonia.

Donald McLachlan was active in Stratford’s business community. He also managed a number of successful hockey teams and in 1914 was elected as Alderman to Stratford City Council, though he only served one term.

On March 1, 1930 Donald’s beloved wife Tena died as a result of a stroke at the age of fifty three. That same year, following the loss of his wife, Donald sold his interest in the Central Business College and moved to London, Ontario where he worked for a time for the Federal Department of Revenue.

Some years later Donald married Elizabeth Mary Mack who was the widow of a Peter H. McEwan.

Donald died on July 6, 1953 while he and Mary vacationed at a friend’s summer home in the Muskoka’s.  He is buried in Avondale Cemetery alongside his first wife Tena and two of their children Donald Gordon and Lois Dorothy McLachlan.