Historical Plaque Properties


Harcourt Ferdinand Ready - Practipedist
268 Elgin Street East
St. Marys, ON

This red brick semi-detached home is a fine example of Edwardian Classicism, with its simple balanced design, and front porch spanning the building at main floor height. The builder was William Pulleyblank, a respected landlord, and a Councillor for the Town of St. Marys.  Pulleyblank built unique brick veneer homes in St. Marys.  He purchased the Elgin East property in 1913, one of four lots sold by wealthy merchant A. H. Lofft, whose 1886 home is still commanding the north-east corner of Elgin and King. 


Lofft is said to have insisted on design elements for the four lots across from his home: houses had to use only red brick, with the same set-back from Elgin.  That is how they were built, presenting an attractive row of homes, all with generous proportions.  Tax records indicate that 266-268 Elgin East construction was started in 1913 and completed early in 1914. Pulleyblank retained ownership of both semi-detached homes for several years as landlord. His first tenants at this south-west corner of James Street at Elgin were Harcourt Ready and his bride Daysie Davis.  It was their home for five years, when they moved to nearby Queen Street between King and Peel.

Harcourt Ferdinand Ready was born September 30, 1889, the second son of Irish-born John Ready (1860-1940) and Jane Evangeline Hayes (1863-1939), Ontario-born, of Irish descent. Both Methodists, they were married December 1885, in Exeter, Ontario. They had ten children in 19 years.


John Ready had established “J. Ready Shoes” in 1883, and was to be actively involved for more than forty years.  He guaranteed quality and comfort, a mission enhanced by Harcourt when he became a qualified Practipedist. Harcourt studied this new “science of giving foot comfort and correcting the cause of foot and shoe troubles.” This is now known as pedorthist specialization. The J. Ready store flourished for decades, with a second store opening in Parkhill.


Harcourt was employed at J. Ready Shoes when he married Daysie Davis at her home in Euphrasia Township, Grey County, in August 1913. Daysie was born June 11, 1882, the second of seven children of Ontario-born Irish father John Mortimer Davis (1854-1916), and Irish-born mother Margaret Tackabury (1856-1929).  Daysie grew up on the family farm, moving away before the 1911 census, perhaps to earn income to send home.

“Harc” and Daysie had four children.  Their first son (1917) died in infancy. Ferdinand Franklin (1918) was a student living with his parents on Queen Street in 1940. He became a musician, marrying Saskatchewan-born Pearl Barr, and they raised one daughter and one son while living in London and Perth County locations.

The two Ready daughters, Margaret Evangeline (1920) and Catherine Jane (1925) lived at home until they married after WWII and moved away permanently. Margaret married Hugh Pryce-Jones of Whitby in 1945, and Catherine married John Davidson of Toronto in 1948. Both daughters remained in those cities for their lifetimes, returning to St. Marys for Homecoming town celebrations, one reported in the Argus Journal in 1990.

When Harc Ready died in 1962, his obituary said he was “one of the best known businessmen in St. Marys” who was an elder member of the St. Marys Oddfellows Lodge. It was noted that the previous year his son Ferde had taken over operating the shoe store for the third generation.


  Ferde maintained the shoe store, at 143 Queen Street, until late in 1966, the year Daysie died in February at Kingsway Lodge in St. Marys. Daysie had been an active member of the McConnell Club, a women’s community service group. Harcourt and Daysie are buried together in St. Marys cemetery.