WARD ALLEN (1983 Inductee)

The late Ward Allen was born in Kirkton, Ontario into a musical family. Ward’s four older brothers were musicians and step dancers. By the age of four, Ward could play complex tunes on the piano and had mastered the harmonica and step dancing. While a youth of only seven, Ward was involved in a near fatal car accident on a neighbor’s farm. Hospitalized for over a year, he recovered and went on to make his first public appearance at a barn dance at the age of 12.

The fiddle was Ward’s instrument of choice. As a teenager, he won local and regional contests and in 1949, he won first prize at the Canadian National Exhibition competition in Toronto. He was able to repeat this accomplishment for a number of years, and in 1953 he went on to win the Canadian Open Championships in Shelburne, Ontario. He subsequently represented Canada in the international championship at the Louisville State Fair in Kentucky. His talents were further recognized when Her Majesty the Queen, requested a recorded medley of Ward’s compositions for her private collection.

Ward Allen became a featured member of Wilf Carter’s tours in the mid-50’s. In 1958, he covered over 35 thousand miles and visited 108 towns and cities. At the request of Ken Reynolds, he joined the CFRA "Happy Wanderers", a group he played with for almost ten years. Tiring as they were, the constant travel and performances never deterred Ward from signing autographs for his many fans in the countless appearances across Canada.

Ward’s signature tune, "Maple Sugar", has become, for Canadian fiddlers, what the "Orange Blossom Special" is for their American counterparts - an anthem. Ward Allen has provide a wealth of recordings and original fiddle music for generations of fiddle fans.

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