Historical Plaque Properties


James P. McEwin - Driver
439 Brunswick Street
Stratford, ON

Building on the 439 Brunswick Street site began in 1925; however, the actual house structure was not erected until 1927.  At that time Stratford was a booming railroad town which resulted in a number of new homes being built in this area. The initial build was started by William G. Wilson.  There is no record of William Wilson ever living in the house.  The first owner-occupant according to the land documents housed today at the Stratford-Perth archives was James Palmer McEwin.


James Palmer McEwin was born 26 September 1906 in Downie Township. He was one of seven children. His father was James William McEwin, born 1876 in Ontario. The McEwin’s had an Irish background. His mother was Catherine McEwin (Wilson), born 1875 in Perth County. 

The Stratford Street Guide showed that James McEwin lived in the house beginning around 1927.  His occupation was listed as a driver.  James McEwin continued to live in the house until sometime in 1929, at which time it appears that he moved to 444 Brunswick Street, where he rented with several of his brothers.  By the 1931 census, James rented 344 Ontario Street where he lived with his younger brothers George and John. 

James continued to be a taxi driver for Jas Lloyd & Sons Taxi Service until around 1942 when he became a city policeman.


On May 1,1943, James married a widow, Violet Elsie Anstee. They lived at 90 St. Vincent Street in Stratford. By that time James had advanced to a traffic officer.

Sometime after 1944, James left the police and became a beverage salesman.  He and Elsie moved to 20 Rankin Street where James remained for the rest of his life.  James worked for various beverage companies and opened his own in 1959 called McEwin City Services.  This company appeared to last for about 10 years, after which James went to work as a truck driver.


James Palmer McEwin passed away in February of 1971.  His wife, Violet Elsie, remained in the house on Rankin Street and worked as a secretary.  She passed away in April of 1997.  They are both buried in Avondale Cemetery.