Historical Plaque Properties


Dr. Edward Henry Eidt - Dentist and Councillor
271 Cambria Street
Stratford, ON

Edward Henry Eidt was born in 1865 in Philipsburg, Wellesley Township, Waterloo County, which is a short distance north-east of Stratford.


His great grandparents, Johannes Kasper Eydt (later Eidt) and Anna Thamer, at age 65, made the momentous decision to emigrate from Germany. They departed with three of their children, including Dr. Eidt’s grandparents, Johannes Eydt and Maria Christina Steibing, and their three daughters. They arrived in New York in 1835 on their way to settle in Canada. Johannes and Maria Christina’s first son was born in Philipsburg two years later. Their second son, Conrad, born in 1841, would become Edward Henry’s father.

Conrad Eidt married Catherine Wettlaufer in December 1861 and settled into a life of farming. The couple had six children. Edward Henry, known as Henry, born in 1865, was their second child.

After qualifying as a dentist, Henry set up practice in Stratford. There, in 1891, he married Mary Read, who was the daughter of John Read, a carpenter and builder, and Mary Elizabeth Taylor. The young couple lived on William Street and his dental office was in the Gordon Block. On his walks from his home to his office Dr. Eidt would see the lake and its surroundings several times daily. Whether this experience brought about his interest in preserving and in beautifying the area is something we can only imagine. At the time, the lake was not a place of beauty but a sorry sight in need of rehabilitation. He began a crusade to revitalize the decaying river and the poorly managed parklands in the city.

As a member of city council, he promoted the creation of a board of park management. This came to fruition in 1904 when a bylaw he sponsored was approved under the Ontario Parks Act. Dr. Eidt was given the task of creating the first board of public-spirited citizens. Work began to clean the lake and install gardens from the Huron Street Bridge to Upper Queen’s Park. Dr. Eidt envisioned a continuous system of lake-parkland from the Old Grove in the west to Queen’s Park in the east. Today, citizens and tourists benefit from the vision of Dr. Eidt as they enjoy walking along the river and around the lake.

Henry and Mary had four children: Beatrice born 1894, Wilfred born 1897, Cecil born 1899, and Edward Fredrick born in 1908. The family moved to Cambria Street the year their last son was born. They later moved around the corner to St. Vincent Street South.

World War I began in 1914 and life changed for everyone. Wilfred joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was transferred overseas. In 1916, due to shortages because of the war, the Horticultural Society started gardens along the parkland and in empty lots. Students created gardens on school property. Hamlet School won the fierce competition for a trophy presented by Councillor Dr. Henry Eidt for the best school garden.
Sadly, the family received notice that Wilfred, a Gunner, 1st Battery, Canadian Garrison Artillery, had been killed in action in France just eleven months after enlisting. Beatrice and Fredrick became teachers and Cecil became a horticultural researcher. Mary Eidt died in 1931 and Henry six years later in 1937. Henry and Mary are buried together in Avondale Cemetery. Wilfred Read Eidt has a memorial stone in the military section of Avondale Cemetery.