Stratford is a town in the Canadian province of Ontario that is internationally known for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, acclaimed for its presentation of Shakespearean, classical and musical theatre.
Stratford Tourism office
From Toronto: follow Highway 401 west to Kitchener, then west via Highways 7/8.
From London: east via Highway 7.
phone: +1-800-567-1600For Stratford Shakespeare Festival theatre-goers, the Festival offers direct bus service between Toronto and Stratford for performances from July to October. Online booking is available. People with special needs should book by telephone.
VIA Rail has two daily trains on the Toronto-London route that calls in Stratford, with one also running to/from Sarnia. Journey time from Toronto is just over two hours.
address: 101 Shakespeare St
Travellers arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport, Kitchener-Waterloo International Airport, or London International Airport will require another mode of transportation to get to Stratford.
Stratford AirporterProvides shuttle service between Stratford and Toronto Pearson International.
Taxis are plentiful and service is available for a flat rate of $8 within Stratford (as of July 2009).
City Taxiphone: +1 519 272-2222
Taxi Dispatch Stratford Limitedphone: +1 519 271-2600
Radio Taxiphone: +1 519 271-4242
Stratford Shakespeare FestivalDrawing more than 600,000 visitors each year, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival is North America's largest classical repertory theatre. While always including some plays of William Shakespeare, the Festival also produces many other classical and contemporary works: the 2013 playbill features 12 plays and musicals.
The Festival runs from April to October at the following theatres:
Festival Theatreaddress: 55 Queen Street
Tom Patterson Theatreaddress: 111 Lakeside Drive
Avon Theatreaddress: 99 Downie Street
Studio Theatreaddress: 34 George St. East
In addition to the play performances, the Festival hosts a wide range of tours and events. Check the Festival website for more details.
Festival Theatre Garden tourA tour of the Festival Theatre's gardens, including the Arthur Meighen Gardens, which contain many flowers and plants mentioned in Shakespeare's works. Tour days vary.
Costume Warehouse tourThe Festival's costume warehouse stores costumes and props from past productions and is one of the largest costume warehouses in North America. Tour days vary.
Festival Theatre backstage tourThe backstage tour shows you props and wardrobe departments and gives an interesting look at how the Festival's thrust stage is remodeled between the afternoon and evening performances. Tour days vary.
Pre- and post-performance discussionsThere are a number of different discussions including Meet the Festival (free discussions with actors and production staff), Talking Theatre (free discussions with Festival staff on selected topics), post-performance discussions (free question and answer sessions with actors after selected performances), pre-show lectures (free lectures on that night's play hosted by a noted academic).
Other attractions include:
phone: +1 519 393-5311address: 4275 Huron RdA community museum dedicated to the cultural heritage of Stratford and Perth County.
phone: +1 519 272-0429address: Lakeside Drive between North and Front StreetsAn outdoor gallery representing the works of regional artists.
phone: +1 519 271-5271address: 54 Romeo StreetExhibits of contemporary and historical art.
Shakespearean GardensThis garden is modeled after traditional English gardens and includes an herb garden, a rose garden, and a picturesque gazebo. It is the perfect place for a picnic.
- The park system around the Avon River: Stroll the shaded path around the lake. There are lots of benches for people-watching and picnicking. There are many swans, ducks and geese to be seen in the city. You can rent a canoe or pedal boat from the York Street Visitors Kiosk, +1-800-561-7926 or +1 519 271-5140.
Culinary Walking Tour+1 519 273‐7818. A 1 1/2 hour walking tour of food shops with the opportunity to sample local treats. Meets at the Stratford Tourism office at 47 Downie Street. Tu and Th 10:45AM, rain or shine. Adults, $7.50.
phone: +1 519 271-2101Stratford Summer Music (July/August) is an annual multi-week concert series set in various outdoor and indoor venues around town. A mix of free and ticketed events are offered.
- Stratford Festival
Stratford is the home town of pop superstar Justin Bieber. The city has a guide of places he used to hang out at. The schools are not open for tours, and has no places where he lived.
Startford's downtown core has an eclectic assortment of stores to browse, including bookstores, clothing boutiques, toy stores, and craft stores. Stroll along Ontario, Wellington, and Downie Streets to get an overview. The stores downtown are generally open 7 days a week during the theatre season. Most stores open at 9:30AM and close at 5:30PM, and many stay open until 8PM on Friday evenings.
The Theatre Stores, located at the Festival Theatre and the Avon Theatre, +1 519 271-0055 x2320, sell gifts, clothing, books and music related to the current year's Stratford Festival playbill.
For a pre-theatre meal, be sure to make a reservation.
phone: +1 519 273-7909address: 149 Ontario StCoffee, espresso drinks, pastries, pre-made sandwiches, homemade ice cream.
phone: +1 519 273-5296address: 377 Huron StreetAll-day breakfasts.
phone: +1 519 273-7041address: 41 York StreetBreakfast, soups, salads, made-to-order sandwiches, mains and daily lunch specials.
phone: +1 519 271-1121address: 99 Ontario StreetPub food in a comfortable atmosphere. Good for post-theatre fare. Snacks, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, pizza, steak, wings, shepherd's pie and daily specials.
phone: +1 519 273-5000address: 105 Erie StreetModern French, with a menu that changes daily.
address: 111 Downie StreetTwo doors from the Avon Theatre. The ever-changing daily specials compliment the familiar, adventurous and even exotic menus. Great cuisine, clean crisp decor.
phone: +1 519 273-6666address: 70 Ontario StreetLunch and dinner. Soups, salads, panini, pasta, fish, ribs, veal, duck, lamb. The more casual pizzeria downstairs offers appetizers, thin-crust pizza, pasta and panini. Reservations recommended.
phone: +1 519 508-1777address: 20 Wellington St, Stratford ONCreative French/Italian-inspired recipes and beautifully presented, Rene's offers high quality dining at a very reasonable price.
phone: +1 519 273-3424address: 70 Brunswick StreetModern French. Dinner tasting menu $85-$110, vegetarian/vegan options available. A la carte mains $34-$49. Reservations required.
phone: +1 519 271-5052address: 151 Albert StreetReservations required.
phone: +1 519 271-6442address: 9 Cobourg StreetReservations required.
phone: +1 519 271-1400address: 161 Ontario StreetComfy local pub with a good selection of well-kept beers on tap. Pub food. Live music..
phone: +1 519 271-3870address: 3 Guelph StDaily lunch and dinner specials. Live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night, and Karaoke Sunday nights. Licensed
There are variety of accommodation options for visitors to Stratford, including a large number of B&Bs. This is a small sampling of what's available, the Stratford Tourism Alliance website has a more complete list. Prices quoted below are for high season, which runs from approximately mid-April to mid-November.
address: 20 Glastonbury DriveSeason: April 1 - October 31. Full and partial hook-ups. Washroom and shower facilities. $16-20.
phone: +1 519 998-1337address: 279 Thomas StreetSt. Marys (15 minutes from Stratford). Backs onto the scenic Thames river. Two bedrooms, fully equipped kitchen, three-piece bathroom with jetted tub, breakfast nook, well-appointed living room with sofa bed.
address: 7 Cobourg StAvailable for rent, May-Oct with a living room offering sweeping views of Lake Victoria and parklands, two bedrooms with queen size beds and bathrooms en suite, both with down comforters and pillows. The house does not have an elevator. Seasonal, healthy breakfasts are included, prepared each morning by your own private chef. Dinner may be served in the house during restaurant hours, and should you wish to use the house for small meetings or parties, they will be glad to cater these for you. Tariff is $595.00 per day, plus 13% H.S.T.
phone: +1 519 272-2581address: 23 Albert StreetCentrally located.
phone: +1 519 275-2936address: 552 Ontario StreetIndoor pool and whirlpool. Tennis courts. Dining room and bar. A 'standard' modern hotel, with 144 rooms and suites.
phone: +1 519 273-1150address: 1144 Ontario StreetIndoor pool, whirlpool, sauna. Dining room and licenced lounge. Internet by request. A short drive down the road to the central part of town. 182 rooms and suites.
phone: +1 519 271-1888address: 108 Ontario StreetCentrally located. 14 rooms, individually decorated with the works of local artists. Whirlpool tub and electric fireplace in some rooms. Internet.
phone: +1 519 271-1400address: 161 Ontario StreetCentrally located, and within walking distance of the four Festival theatres. Restaurant and Boar's Head pub on-site. Internet.
Bed & Breakfasts
address: 49 Huron StreetLate 1800s home, fully renovated in 2008. Open year-round, close to downtown. Free parking on site. Full, hot breakfast, can cater to special dietary needs: vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc. Free wireless Internet. Original art on display and for sale.
address: 12 Elizabeth StreetHistoric bed and breakfast with award-winning gardens. Suites with private entrances, full amenities, ensuite bath, and self-catered kitchen facilities. Walking distance to theatres, downtown.
address: 218 Ontario StreetBuilt in 1902, The Old Rectory Bed and Breakfast has been renovated to retain its historic beauty and charm. Centrally located, free parking on site, full breakfast included. Steps away from theatres and downtown. Internet.
address: 174 Queen StreetJust up the street from the Festival Theatre and a short walk to downtown. Well-appointed suites with terraces, ensuite baths, TV, WiFi, A/C, fridges. Fine breakfasts, original artwork throughout, eclectic decor, "boutique-inn" feel.
- Others available through the Stratford Festival office and SABBA.
Stratford Public Library, 19 St. Andrew Street, +1 519 271-0220, . Free computer/internet access.
Brickman's Botanical Gardensaddress: Perth Line 44Located 15 minutes outside of Stratford, this is a beautiful botanical gardens and a mini farm zoo. Adjacent to a garden nursery where you can buy several of the plants on display.
address: 3995 Line 9Wildwood Conservation Area is located 11 km west of the City of Stratford, and 7 km east of from the Town of St. Marys. The park encompasses a campground, wetland area, a reservoir with boat launch and walking trail and more. Many events and outdoor activities are held here.
Some options for further travel include:
- Niagara-on-the-Lake - for more theatre, visit the Shaw Festival in this picturesque historic town