Ward Allen began playing the fiddle at the age of 12 performing with his brother, Lorne, who also taught him most of his repertoire. After brief stints as a harvester in Manitoba and a logger in British Columbia, Allen returned in the late 1940s to western Ontario, where he was often heard on CKNX “Barn Dance” in Wingham, Ontario. Allen won several fiddle competitions of the time, including the open class of the 1953 Canadian Open Old Time Fiddlers’ Contest. In 1954 through 1956, Allen toured with Canadian country great Wilf Carter and subsequently became a founding member of the Ottawa-based group, The Happy Wanderers, with “Papa” Joe Brown.
Allen recorded three volumes of, ‘Ward Allen Presents Maple Leaf Hoedown’, which were posthumously reissued as, ‘The Best of Ward Allen’. His recording of self-penned, ‘Maple Sugar’ was a hit in Canada and the USA in 1957. The tune is considered a classic of the Canadian fiddle repertoire and has been recorded numerous times, both by Canadians and internationally. Other popular Allen tunes include, ‘Frank Ryan’s Hornpipe’, ‘C.N.E. Breakdown’, ‘Frisco Waltz’, ‘Maple Leaf Two-Step’, ‘Ken’s Favourite’, ‘Back Up and Push’, ‘Fishing Rod Reel’ and ‘Blue Pacific Hornpipe’.
Ward Allen passed away on August 3, 1965 at the age of 41.