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, 47 Downie Street (across from City Hall), toll-free: +1-800-561-7926.
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From Toronto: follow Highway 401 west to Kitchener, then west via Highways 7/8.
From London: east via Highway 7.
- Greyhound, 219 Frederick Street, ☎ +1 519 273-2160. Offers service from other Ontario cities. The local depot is about 3km from the downtown core, so you may want to take a taxi into town (there will be taxis waiting at the depot when the bus arrives in Stratford).
For Stratford Shakespeare Festival theatre-goers, the Festival offers Toronto Direct/Kitchener Direct - a non-stop bus service from Toronto and Kitchener to Stratford for matinee performances on selected weekends in July, August and September. Contact the Festival Box Office at +1-800-567-1600 to book.
- VIA Rail, 101 Shakespeare Street, toll-free: +1-888-842-7245. Offers daily train service to and from Stratford on the Toronto-London-Sarnia route.
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 Airporter, toll-free: +1-888-549-8602. Provides 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 Taxi, ☎ +1 519 272-2222.
- Taxi Dispatch Stratford Limited, ☎ +1 519 271-2600.
- Radio Taxi, ☎ +1 519 271-4242.
- * Stratford Shakespeare Festival, toll-free: +1-800-567-1600. Drawing 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 Theatre, 55 Queen Street.
- Tom Patterson Theatre, 111 Lakeside Drive.
- Avon Theatre, 99 Downie Street.
- Studio Theatre, 34 George St. East (corner of George and Waterloo streets, behind the Avon Theatre).
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 tour, toll-free: +1-800-567-1600. A 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. Adults $8, seniors and students $6.
- Costume Warehouse tour, toll-free: +1-800-567-1600. The 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. Adults $8, seniors and students $6.
- Festival Theatre backstage tour, toll-free: +1-800-567-1600. The 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. Adults $8, seniors and students $6.
- Pre- and post-performance discussions, toll-free: +1-800-567-1600. There 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:
- Shakespearean Gardens, at the Huron Street Bridge. This garden is modeled after traditional English gardens and includes an herb garden, a rose garden, and a picturesque gazebo. It's 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.
- Stratford Summer Music Festival, ☎ +1 519 271-2101, toll-free: +1-800-567-1600. Stratford 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 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.
- Balzac's Coffee, 149 Ontario St, ☎ +1 519 273-7909. Coffee, espresso drinks, pastries, pre-made sandwiches, homemade ice cream.
- York Street Kitchen, 41 York Street, ☎ +1 519 273-7041. Everyday, 8am-8pm. Breakfast, soups, salads, made-to-order sandwiches, mains and daily lunch specials.
- Bentley's Inn Bar and Restaurant, 99 Ontario Street, ☎ +1 519 271-1121. Pub food in a comfortable atmosphere. Good for post-theatre fare. Snacks, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, pizza, steak, wings, shepherd's pie and daily specials. Entrees $6.50-$19.95.
- Bijou Restaurant, 105 Erie Street, ☎ +1 519 273-5000. Dinner Tu-Su. Lunch F-Su. Modern French, with a menu that changes daily. Average main $24.
- Foster's Inn, 111 Downie Street, toll-free: +1-888-728-5555. Two doors from the Avon Theatre. The ever-changing daily specials compliment the familiar, adventurous and even exotic menus. Great cuisine, clean crisp decor with friendly efficient service assures your experience will be memorable.
- Pazzo Pizzeria/Ristorante, 70 Ontario Street, ☎ +1 519 273-6666. Lunch 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. $17-31 dinner mains.
- Tango Coffee Bistro, 104 Ontario Street, ☎ +1 519 271-9202. Located Uptown Stratford, 15 minutes walk down the beautiful park from the Festival Theatre. Cafe setting, breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, coffee and espresso, free wifi, original art.
- Rene's Bistro, 20 Wellington St, Stratford ON (Across from City Hall), ☎ +1 519 508-1777. 4:30-8:30pm. Creative French/Italian-inspired recipes and beautifully presented, Rene's offers high quality dining at a very reasonable price.
- Sophisto-Bistro, 9 Cobourg Street (In front of Lake Victoria), ☎ +1 519 271-6442. Tu-Su. Sophisto-Bistro is a worldly, home-away-from-home that is fun, warm, and welcoming. Chef Neil Baxter’s cuisine is a gastronomical voyage to the four corners of the earth. $44.50/$55.50.
- The Church, 70 Brunswick Street, ☎ +1 519 273-3424. Closed Monday. Sunday brunch 11:30am-1:30pm.. Modern French. Dinner tasting menu $85-$110, vegetarian/vegan options available. A la carte mains $34-$49. Reservations required.
- The Old Prune, 151 Albert Street, ☎ +1 519 271-5052. Dinner Tu-Su. Reservations required. Dinner menu $65.50-$70.50.
- Rundles, 9 Cobourg Street, ☎ +1 519 271-6442. Lunch Sa-Su, Dinner We-Sa. Reservations required. Lunch menu $34.50/$47.50, Dinner menu $84.50-$94.50.
- Boar's Head Pub, 161 Ontario Street, ☎ +1 519 271-1400. Comfy local pub with a good selection of well-kept beers on tap. Pub food. Live music.
- Down the Street Bar and Restaurant, 30 Ontario Street, ☎ +1 519 273-5886. .
- The Dominion House Bar & Grill, 3 Guelph St (corner of Downie), ☎ +1 519 271-3870. Daily lunch and dinner specials. Live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night, and Karaoke Sunday nights. Licensed, groups welcome!
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.
- Stratford Fairgrounds Trailer Park and Campgrounds, 20 Glastonbury Drive, ☎ +1 519 271-5130. Season: April 1 - October 31. Full and partial hook-ups. Washroom and shower facilities. $16-20.
- Cottage on the Thames, 279 Thomas Street, ☎ +1 519 998-1337. St. 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. $110.
- Rundles Morris House, 7 Cobourg St, ☎ +1 519 271-6442. Available 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.
- Albert St. Inn, 23 Albert Street, ☎ +1 519 272-2581, toll-free: +1-866-572-2581. Centrally located. $89-$250.
- Arden Park Hotel, 552 Ontario Street, ☎ +1 519 275-2936, toll-free: +1-877-788-8818. Indoor pool and whirlpool. Tennis courts. Dining room and bar. A 'standard' modern hotel, with 144 rooms and suites. $157-$225.
- Festival Inn, 1144 Ontario Street, ☎ +1 519 273-1150, toll-free: +1-800-463-3581. Indoor 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. $95-$179.
- Mercer Hall Inn, 108 Ontario Street, ☎ +1 519 271-1888, toll-free: +1-888-816-4011. Centrally located. 14 rooms, individually decorated with the works of local artists. Whirlpool tub and electric fireplace in some rooms. Internet. $130-$195.
- The Queen's Inn, 161 Ontario Street, ☎ +1 519 271-1400, toll-free: +1-800-461-6450. Centrally located, and within walking distance of the four Festival theatres. Restaurant and Boar's Head pub on-site. Internet. $99-$240.
Bed & Breakfasts
- Across the Bridge B&B and Original Artworks, 49 Huron Street, ☎ +1 519 305-1313. Late 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. $99-$158.
- Dufton House, 12 Elizabeth Street, ☎ +1 519-271-7413. Historic 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. $150-199.
- The Old Rectory B&B, 218 Ontario Street, ☎ +1 519 271-7498. Built 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. $170-$220.
- The Queen and Albert B&B, 174 Queen Street, ☎ +1 519 272 0589. Just 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. $100-$175.
- Others available through the Stratford Festival office and SABBA .
- Brickman's Botanical Gardens, Perth Line 44 (take Highway 8 west out of Stratford; right on Perth Rd. 140; left on Line 44 at Wartburg and go 1 km), ☎ +1 519-393-6223, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Located 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.
- Wildwood Conservation Area, 3995 Line 9 (located on highway 7 between Stratford and highway 19), ☎ +1 519-284-2931. Wildwood 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
|Routes through Stratford|
|Sarnia ← St. Marys ←||W E||→ Kitchener → Toronto|
|Sarnia ← St. Marys ←||W E||→ Kitchener → Markham|
|Goderich ← Clinton ←||W E||→ Kitchener → Hamilton|