1860 Royal Visit to Stratford, Ontario
Early Settlers
County Seat
Royal Visit
Banks, Insurance

On September 12th, 1860, a great event transpired in Stratford. This was a visit from the Prince of Wales, now His Most Gracious Majesty King Edward the Seventh. A committee consisting of W. F. McCulloch, mayor; William Smith, reeve; Thomas Stoney, deputy reeve; Andrew Monteith, warden of the county, and Messrs. E. F. Ryerson, P. R. Jarvis, J. C. W. Daly, Sheriff Moderwell, S. L. Robarts, and William Mowat were appointed to draft an address for presentation to His Royal Highness. The little old building which was then used as a station was decorated with bunting. Carpets were laid so that royalty would not soil his feet as he alighted to receive the professions of loyalty of the truly patriotic people of Stratford and vicinity. Great crowds were present; citizens from behind the counter, and pioneers from the swamps of Ellice and Elma - clad in home-spun - and who had come many a weary mile over crossways and through stumps to see the future ruler of Britain's Empire. They desired to give one mighty, heartfelt cheer of God-speed to that modest- looking youth, whose appearance recalled to them once more the home of their fathers far away across the sea. On arrival of the train, as the Prince stepped out on the platform to receive the committee, he was greeted by such a cheerastrue British hearts only can give. This committee of prominent men, as they shook hands with their royal visitor, were covered with glory, and for once felt like saying, as did Simeon of old, "Now let me die, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." As another generation has sprung up in Stratford since that memorable day, we insert the address as read by Mayor McCulloch:

"To His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales:

"May it please Your Royal Highness, - We, the inhabitants of the Town of Stratford, beg to approach Your Royal Highness with assurances of our devotion and loyalty to the Crown and authority of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen.

"We, in common with the rest of Her Majesty's loyal subjects in this Province, would have felt highly gratified had the exigencies of state permitted Her Majesty in herself to visit the first Colony of the Empire and to have received in person the congratulations of her subjects on the success which has attended the mild and equitable rule under which our country is rising so rapidly to greatness.

"We desire to thank Her Majesty for the consideration she has shown in permitting Your Royal Highness to visit us, and we welcome it as an assurance of our Sovereign's earnest desire to cement still closer the bonds of interest and affection which connects us with the mother country, and which enables us to share in - that which is our proudest boast - the liberties and glories of the British Empire.

"We regard it as a high privilege to be enabled to welcome Your Royal Highness, and we beg respectfully to offer our congratulations on the opportunities which this journey affords Your Royal Highness of seeing the country and inhabitants of which you are destined - we trust at some very distant day - to become the Sovereign.

"Little more than a quarter of a century ago the very country through which Your Royal Highness has passed, west of Toronto, was one almost unbroken wilderness, and Your Royal Highness may realize the rapidity of our material progress by comparing the present with the past. This peaceful progress has been fostered and protected by British law and British institutions, which we cherish as warmly as our fellow-countrymen at home.

"The visit of Your Royal Highness will tend still further to increase the attachment which binds us to the mother country - an attachment founded on kindred languages, laws, and institutions, and a common sentiment of loyalty to the Sovereign head of the vast empire of which we form a portion, and in whose glorious achievements in the vanguard of civilization we have a common share and a common interest.

"We pray Your Royal Highness to convey to Her Majesty the sentiments of high regard in which we hold her rule, and our earnest hope that nothing may ever occur to sever a connection which is mutually so advantageous, and which we regard as the crown of our country's glory.

"On behalf of the citizens of Stratford.

"W. F. MCCULLOCH, Mayor."

To this very flattering testimony of loyalty and affection towards Her Majesty's person and government His Royal Highness was graciously pleased to make the following reply:-

"Gentlemen, - I thank you sincerely for the address which you have presented to me. In the Queen's name I acknowledge the expression of your loyalty to her Crown and person, and for myself I am grateful to you for this welcome to your neighborhood."

This terminated the proceedings, and with a few hand-shakings and a rousing cheer the visit of His Royal Highness became a paragraph in the page of history.

From History of Perth County 1825-1902 by William Johnston, published in 1903