Stratford Travel Guide

  • Stratford
    by yooperprof
  • Shakespeare in Silver (but actually tin)
    Shakespeare in Silver (but actually tin)
    by yooperprof
  • This Canadian Wooden
    This Canadian Wooden "O"!
    by yooperprof

Stratford Things to Do

  • The Wee Book & Photo Shop

    Who doesn't love a little hole-in-the-wall shop? I was drawn to the costume being displayed by the mannequin outside the brilliant crimson door to this little place, which is tucked away on York Street behind Stratford's main drag. Open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM, here's a wonderful opportunity to let your inner thespian out -- and to record the new...

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  • Costume shop, photography studio,...

    Who doesn't love a little hole-in-the-wall shop? I was drawn to the costume being displayed by the mannequin outside the brilliant crimson door to this little place, which is tucked away on York Street behind Stratford's main drag. Open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM, here's a wonderful opportunity to let your inner thespian out -- and to record the new...

    more
  • Paddle down the Avon

    One thing you'll definitely want to do is explore the Avon River. You can do this in four ways. If you're fit and comfortable in a smallcraft, you can rent a canoe or kayak and paddle around. If you're a little anxious about a tippy craft, the paddle boats are your best choice. And if you'd rather not do the work, and prefer a narrated tour of the...

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  • Where shall we worship this Sunday?

    Stratford boasts three Anglican churches (and is remarkably well-equipped with places to worship in general, even if one of them has been turned into a restaurant), but since St. Paul's is closest to the Swan, where we always stay -- within walking distance if the weather is fine -- that's where we've spent our Sunday mornings. It is a small and...

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  • Check out Canadian artists, and more

    Gallery Stratford, in a restored pump house, is conveniently located on the parklands surrounding the Festival Theater, which is about five minutes' walk away. The Gallery's permanent collection includes about a thousand prints, drawings, paintings, sculptures and photographs by significant Canadian and international artists. The collection...

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  • See Shakespeare at the Stratford...

    Naturally, there are a variety of playwrights whose works are performed during every season at Stratford -- and there are several theaters now in which productions take place. But for my money, it just doesn't get any better than seeing the Bard performed on a stage which replicates that of the original Globe. Everything about the productions is...

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  • Festival Theatre

    The Festival Theatre is the premier theatre of the four Stratford Festival theatres. It has seating for 1800 people in a circle around an Elizabethan thrust stage. The theatre has all the trappings of high theatre with $15 parking next to the theatre (but lots of free parking if you are willing to walk a ways), live background music, cafés serving...

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  • Ontario Street

    Ontario Street is the main street in Stratford – just don’t call it Main Street, as there is one of those too. It is where you will find numerous restaurants, knickknack shops and various other boutiques for all your touristy needs. There are lots of shops selling Canadian art, should you feel the need to purchase several soapstone sculptures. The...

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  • WWII Memorial

    Above the World War One memorial, where the buildings open up to provide a walkway from Ontario Street down to the lake, a second memorial has been dedicated to the sons of Stratford who died in the Second World War. As I wrote in my tip on the WWI monument, WWII is not seen as being as pivotal a conflict for Canada as WWI, which might explain why...

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  • WWI Memorial

    Before the days of increased mobility and the exodus from the towns caused by the growth of industry, conscription and wars were the largest motivators for young men leaving communities like Stratford. More than a few of the town’s sons were killed in the First World War, which is largely seen as being the more important of the two “World”...

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  • Stratford City Hall

    I rather like Stratford City Hall. It reminds me of the Kremlin, in a way, and otherwise I’m not sure how to describe the building’s architecture other than being based on a sort of large circus big top. In any case, it seems almost comically large and impressive for a town of 30 000 people, and provides a great landmark for pictures. It stands in...

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  • Perth County Courthouse

    The Perth County Courthouse seems far larger than it should be. Of course, you have to remember that the building dates from a time at which Stratford and other towns were not dwarfed in importance by Toronto, but rather were centres of business for the Province’s largely rural inhabitants. The building features some typically Canadian...

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  • Shakespeare Gardens

    The Shakespeare Gardens are one of those tourist attractions that seem to have little to no purpose other than to build on the single reason a town attracts visitors. These are gardens intended to be typically English, with their gravel paths and their abundance of green spaces and trees. The area is quite peaceful, although I have a feeling that...

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  • Lake Victoria

    This town would not be a proper Stratford if it didn’t have some sort of body of water. Obviously, the lake is much prettier in spring and summer than in the late winter, not least because the entire area is green and the water is at full level. The lake also has swans during the warmer months, in order to recreate as closely as possible the same...

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  • Festival Theatre

    The most famous attraction in Stratford is the Shakespeare Festival, which actually features performances of great plays by both modern playwrights and the Bard. The festival takes place throughout the entire summer. Although plays are put on at a variety of theatres throughout the town, the Festival Theatre is really the heart of the event and it...

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Stratford Hotels

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Stratford Restaurants

  • Three-in-one

    Depending on your mood and the time of day, Pazzo gives you several options. You can enjoy a drink at the bar -- you might like to try the "Corpse Reviver No. 2" with gin, cointreau, lillet, lime juice and absinthe! --, a casual meal in the downstairs pizzeria, or full white tablecloth service in the taverna upstairs. No matter where you choose to...

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  • Yum, those butter tarts!

    You'll have to venture just a bit out of the centre of Stratford to find Madelyn's, but it is definitely worth the trip. Even though the place has been operational for almost thirty years, 2014 was my inaugural experience there -- and I went because someone was bragging about how fabulous the food was, and particularly how nice it was to get...

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  • Brilliant pre-theatre dinner experience.

    My partner and I dined here with friends before our 8 p.m. theatre show, and we were all blown away by the dinner experience. We could not afford Rundles, so, we decided to try their less expensive venue, Sophisto-Bistro. The dining room is nicely done, designed by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects. Decor is off-the-wall, eclectic, and fun. We loved the...

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  • Let's all sing Alleluia!

    Since the mid-1970s, we've generally eaten one meal at The Church (I have never visited The Belfry, which is a newer and less fancy incarnation under the same roof) each time we came to Stratford. It is a quiet and elegant restaurant, as befits an eating establishment tucked into the deconsecrated shell of an actual church with stained glass...

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  • Not for Singles

    Pan Tapas main attraction is their use of local food, but they failed the Older Single Woman Diner test. Despite making a reservation, there was clearly no table set aside for me when I arrived and I was quickly shuffled to an uncomfrtable wooden table and chair directly in line with the open kitchen door, by the front door, across from the...

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  • This is my favourite restaurant in North...

    This is the best restaurant in North America, hands down... Every detail matters here, from their inventive cuisine, to off-beat yet solid wine list, to the minimalist decor and haute couture fashions worn by staff members.I love this place! Appetizer: Chilled Shrimp, Dungeness Crab and Cucumber Rolls.Main Dish: Crispy Duck Confit with Aubergine...

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  • Eating in a church

    We had heard about this restaurant residing in a former church. Normally, this type of restaurant is way beyond our price range. We like eating, but eating at restaurants like this would mean we would have to balance them with quite a few picnics or McDonalds meals.But as we walked by, the heavens opened and it started raining cats and dogs. As it...

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  • Picnic!

    It seems that restaurants in Stratford are a bit pricey. You can always bring a picnic. We passed many picnic tables near Lake Victoria in downtown Stratford.Of course, if you are having a picnic, you might have unexpected visitors. We visited Stratford in September, and wasps are ever-present, but we appeased them by giving them their own place at...

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  • Great atmostphere, good food.

    This is pub fare with a tinge of class. The food was good and the menu varied. The service was beyond excellent, and the atmosphere is great.

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Stratford Shopping

  • For those who love wood

    If you're serious about Canadian art, particularly wood sculpture, you'll definitely want to stop at Davis Canadian Arts, right on Ontario Street in the heart of Stratford. Run by John Davis and his wife Yolanda, it has a lovely selection in a variety of media, and reasonable prices. Davis wood sculpture, naturally, but the last time I was there I...

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  • A City of Bookstores!

    With its literate, culturally astute local population, and theatre-going visitors from around the world in search of good reading, Stratford is an excellent place to shop for books. The center of town is dotted with a variety of stores that sell theatre related volumes, as well as fiction and non-fiction to appeal to all tastes and interests....

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  • A truly fabulous toy store

    I've been to Hamley's in London and FAO Schwartz in New York City and they're wonderful places, but for sheer fun (and yes, magic!), I'd have to say that Family & Company is my favorite toy store in the world. There is a fine variety of games, costumes, craft items, magic paraphrenalia, and lots of small and inexpensive items which delight kids....

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Stratford Local Customs

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    Karaoke on the Avon

    by yooperprof Written Oct 17, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Summer entertainment is not limited to the theatres. We were able to enjoy karaoke singers who belted tunes while they were on board small "barges" that plied the Avon River. This singer specialized in Frank Sinatra/Tony Bennett style tunes. He was quite good.

    Cry me a river?

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Stratford Off The Beaten Path

  • Have a swim at the St. Mary's quarry

    Some of us grew up swimming in quarries -- others only have read about such a quaint "blast from the past." But the quarry at St. Mary's is the real deal, a limestone quarry which began to be used as a swimming hole in the 1930s, although it has been gussied up substantially in the forty-odd years that I've been visiting and swimming there. It...

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  • Like Stratford? Then visit Shakespeare

    Shakespeare is a town (not on the map) it is close to Stratford and is West of Kitchener and Waterloo. Less busy. Not so much vehicle traffic. Quiet and Peacefull.This is a website that is great. There are three sections 1. The town of Shakespear 2. Lake Huron Shoreline 3. The areas in between. There are road trip suggestions, hiking maps, places...

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  • Queen Victoria Jubilee Fountain

    This small fountain – which was not operational when I visited Stratford – was built to commemorate the Queen’s Jubilee. That’s Queen Victoria, not Elizabeth II. It’s an interesting and cute fountain, one that will likely catch your eye as you amble down Ontario Street. There’s also a small description of the fountain and the event, for those who...

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Stratford General

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    Stratford City Hall

    by yooperprof Written Oct 28, 2012

    Favorite thing: A National Historic Site of Canada, the Stratford City Hall is considered to be an outstanding example of Late Victorian eclecticism in architecture. It is also evidence of the historic pride that the town leaders felt for their community, even before the Theatre Festival was conceived.

    Our Town Under the arch
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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