“Historically Speaking” – Documentary Series – Director’s Comments

About a year before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Stratford & District Historical Society engaged in discussions around the creation of a captivating series of short-format documentaries. The purpose behind each of these episodes was to delve into the lives of individuals, explore the significance of various locations, and understand pivotal events throughout history that have shaped this community. This endeavour aimed to establish a rich and enduring historical legacy, serving both present and future generations.

Mary Newel with Micaela Fitzsimmons: Manager of Collection & Exhibits at the Stratford-Perth Museum

Having joined the Society at its inception in 2019, I found myself deeply intrigued by the prospect of directing these volunteer-based programs. With several decades of experience in diverse aspects of film and video production, I had garnered a genuine passion for the creative process, collaborative teamwork, and the invaluable learning that accompanies documentary production.

Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, we were able to successfully capture content for a total of six episodes. These episodes underwent post-production over the subsequent months. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, we managed to craft an additional four documentaries while adhering to stringent Covid-19 protocols.

Rev. Dr. Scott Boughner with Carole Huband and Andrew C. Brown at the Stratford-Perth Museum shoot

I was thankful for enthusiastic involvement of both interviewees and production crew, all volunteering their time and effort to help build  this repository of historical documentaries celebrating the community’s heritage.

Andrew C. Brown, Jayne Trachsel with Clive Porter, Project Landscaper for Confederation Falls

One of the most personally rewarding aspects was undoubtedly the sense of camaraderie that pervaded our efforts in constructing this repository of historical documentaries celebrating the community’s heritage.

As the pandemic’s grip gradually eases and its protocols fade, we are excited to announce the commencement of production for a new and enthralling documentary, “Under This Roof”. 

Marianne Brandis with Producer Nancy Musselman in background, Gerard Brender à Brandis in foreground for “Under This Roof” shoot

This longer-format venture casts the spotlight on Gerard Brender à Brandis, an eminent Canadian artist renowned for his wood engravings and limited-edition handmade books. 

Additionally, it offers a glimpse into the restoration of the only Greek Revival house in Stratford, a labor of love undertaken by Stratford’s inaugural archivist, James Anderson. 

The synergy of determination, creativity, and skill resonates profoundly in this exceptional narrative, showcasing a truly unique story that is as inspiring as it is captivating.

Andrew C. Brown – Director “Historically Speaking”

Ten “Historically Speaking” episodes are now available on the Stratford & District Historical Society’s YouTube channel 


Avon Crest – a brief history of Stratford’s first general hospital


British Home Children – Allan Tye’s story of his family’s direct connection to British Home Children


Saving City Hall – numerous attempts to demolish the City Hall in the 1960s were eventually thwarted. In 1974 it was designated a heritage building


The Railway Stations of Stratford – The influence of the railway is reflected in the building of six stations over the years


Stratford’s Good Fortune – historian/author, Dean Robinson, describes how a series of events led to the city it is today


Constructing Confederation Falls – insight into the building of one of Stratford’s 1967 centennial projects by Clive Porter, Project Landscaper.


Innovation at The Beacon Herald – the oil crisis of 1970s led to modification of news presses to save jobs in the economically hard hit community


Allan Edward Chipps, A Centenarian Gentleman – Al Chipps, born in 1918, was raised in the small farming town of Courtland, Ontario. Al’s unwavering work ethic, unyielding determination, and unique outlook on life served as an inspiration to numerous individuals fortunate enough to cross paths with him.


William “Boss” Easson, 1826 -1907 – one of Stratford’s founding fathers of entrepreneurship


The Empty Trash Can – The Beacon Herald Inaugurates Nation-wide Recycling Program in the 1990s – Sam Ogilvie, former pressman at the Beacon Herald, spearheads an innovative program. They recognized the pressing need to repurpose newspaper waste due to the growing environmental concerns in the latter part of the 20th century. The resounding success of the Beacon Herald’s environmental initiative led to its expansion across Canada.