St Marys Ontario - Photos and happenings in this Southwestern Ontario Canada town

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

481 Water Street South, St Marys, Ontario

The Town of St Marys, Ontario gave notice 30 April 2008 that 481 Water Street South will be designated an Ontario Heritage Property unless an objection is made within 30 days.

St Marys stonemason Alexander McDonald constructed the limestone house just south of Centennial Park in the early 1850s. In 1858, with his partner Francis Anderson he erected the St Marys Junction Railway Station. They were also builders of the Victoria Bridge in 1864-5. Their quarry, now part of the swimming pool, supplied stone for the London railway viaduct begun in 1857.

The house is a simple but well-proportioned structure. It has many features that are recurring marks of McDonald's trade and of his style, including the projecting architrave and base course of the front wall.

The property is also associated with the Hutchings family; some members of this family were stonemasons during the early years of St Marys.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Dana Canada Layoffs

Dana CanadaThe London Free Press is reporting that 350 of the 410 workers at the Dana Canada plant in St Marys have been given layoff notices. Layoffs will begin in June and continue into July.

The plant on James Street makes frames for Ford's F series pickup trucks. Dana has lost the Ford contract so it is possible the layoffs are permanent and the plant will close. If a new contract for another model or with another company were secured it could take up to a year to get up and running with the new product.

Dana is St Marys, Ontario's largest employer and eliminated the third shift, laying off 108, in August 2006.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


The Flats, St Marys, Ontario
Kinpark, St Marys, Ontario
Yesterday, warm temperatures that melted snow creating 125 mm of water as well as 25 mm of rain and caused flooding in St Marys. This morning, the Thames River and Trout Creek were 70 mm lower but the Flats and Kinpark, shown above, were still under water.

704 cubic metres of water per second was flowing through the town yesterday afternoon. St Marys hasn't seen that much water since the spring melt in 1977.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Stratford's Swan Parade Cancelled

Sunday's release of Stratford, Ontario's swans to the Avon River has been cancelled as the area where the swans are released is still frozen over. The swans will be returned to the river when the ice clears.

Stratford Ontario Swans
The first mute swans were brought to Stratford from Battle Creek, Michigan in 1918. Several of the swans on the river today are descendants of Queen Elizabeth II’s royal herd. In 1967, six pairs of Mute swans were a centenary gift and sent to Ottawa. Subsequently, one of the pairs was then given to Stratford.

From November to March the river is frozen and the swans are kept in Winter Quarters located behind the William Allman Arena.

UPDATE: Without fanfare on Monday, April 7, Stratford released 32 white swans, two black swans, one Muscovy duck, three Canadian geese, one bar-headed goose and two Chinese geese onto the Avon and other reservoirs.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

322 Emily Street, St Marys, Ontario

The Town of St Marys, Ontario gave notice 7 Mar 2008 that 322 Emily Street will be designated an Ontario Heritage Property unless an objection is made within 30 days.

322 Emily Street, St Marys, Ontario
The house sits on spacious grounds north of the Grand Trunk Trail on the west side of Emily St. with a spectacular view of the Thames River valley. One of the earliest grand houses in St Marys, the Italianate villa was built in 1860 for John Robinson, a civil engineer responsible for the Sarnia Bridge on the Grand Trunk Railway line. Three years later he sold it to Milner Harrison, a St Marys pioneer merchant and early reeve, who lived there until his death in 1887. Harrison's son was David Howard Harrison who practiced medicine in St Marys. David Howard Harrison moved to Manitoba in 1882 and was briefly premier of the province.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Andrews Jeweller Designated Heritage Property

Andrews Jeweller, St Marys, OntarioThe Town of St Marys, Ontario gave notice 9 Jan 2008 that 135 Queen St E (Anstett Jewellers) will be designated an Ontario Heritage Property unless an objection is made within 30 days.

The stone and brick commercial building was constructed in 1884 for William Andrews, Jeweller, in the Second Empire style. It is an outstanding example of the work of local architect William Williams, and a showcase for the skills of local and area tradesmen. Unique original interior features are still in place. Its imposing storefront surmounted by the ornate clock and tower makes the building a focal point in the downtown core.

William Andrews operated his first jewellery store for 15 years before building 135 Queen St E. His father was a stone mason who emigrated from Torquay, Devon to Canada in 1855 and came to St Marys 2 years later.

William Williams was not only an architect but also the town clerk, private banker and the Anglican Church's choirmaster.

Stone work on the building was done by John Grant who had previously been in charge of the masonry for St Marys Presbyterian Church. Plastering was done by Fred Patterson and painting and glazing was done by John Williard who 8 years later were contractors on the town hall.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Richardson Foods Fined $70,000

Richardson Foods, a division of H.J. Heinz, produces among other products Renee's salad dressings and sauces.

December 5, 2007, the Ontario Ministry of Labour issued the following News Release:


STRATFORD, Ont. - A St. Mary's, Ont., food processing and packaging company pleaded guilty on November 19, 2007, and was fined $70,000 on November 28, 2007, in the Ontario Court of Justice in connection with critical injuries suffered by a worker in 2006.

Judge K. McKerlie heard that, on May 31, 2006, a worker at Richardson Foods Limited, 25 South Service Rd., St. Mary's, was operating a machine – a Double Lane packing machine – used to package condiment sauces into cups which are then sealed and put into boxes. While the machine was in use to package hotcake syrup, it began to stick and have running problems. The worker, in trying to clear part of the machine, became trapped in the machinery by the head and suffered critical injuries.
Richardson Foods Limited pleaded guilty as an employer to failing to ensure that the machine was equipped with, or guarded by, a guard or other device that would have prevented access to a pinch point. This measure was required by section 25 of Ontario Regulation 851/90 and the employer's failure was contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge on the total, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.