By Dan Rankin
Last Friday, a ceremony was held at Riverside, the historic Robinson Street home of John and Marie Stevens, to unveil a new ‘Historic St. Marys’ plaque that details the history of some of that home’s previous historic residents.
St. Marys native and celebrated Canadian violinist Nora Clench (1867-1938) grew up in the home, which was built by her father Leon in 1875. Nora became known around southern Ontario for her talent at playing the violin before she turned 13, and she travelled to study in Leipzig, Germany as a teenager. She went on to have a remarkable career as a concert violinist, including establishing her own string quartet in London, England. She later married an artist from Australia, Arthur Streeton, and relocated there. When he was knighted in 1937, she became Lady Streeton. Heritage St. Marys dedicated a plaque to the notable former resident across the street from Riverside in 1999.
The new plaque, which provides a far more extensive history about the family and house, can currently be found at the St. Marys Museum. It will be permanently installed near the earlier plaque and the Robinson Street home later this summer. “In the mean time, people are welcome to come check out the plaque at the museum,” said curator and archivist Amy Cubberley.