Stratford is a town in the Canadian province of Ontario. Stratford,  or , is internationally known for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival , acclaimed for its presentation of Shakespearean, classical and musical theatre.
Stratford Tourism office, 1-800-561-7926, 47 Downie Street (across from City Hall)
Greyhound  offers service from other Ontario cities. The local depot is at 219 Frederick Street, +1 519 273-2160. This 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.
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, 1 888 549 8602 (toll-free), , provides shuttle service between Stratford and Toronto Pearson International.
Festival Theatre and Arthur Meighen Garden, Stratford
Stratford Shakespeare Festival, 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, 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. Adults $8, seniors and students $6. Tour days vary. Call or check the website.
Costume Warehouse tour, 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. Adults $8, seniors and students $6. Tour days vary. Call or check the website.
Festival Theatre backstage tour, 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. Adults $8, seniors and students $6. Tour days vary. Call or check the website.
Pre- and post-performance discussions, 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). Call or check the website for details and dates.
Other attractions include:
Stratford-Perth Museum, 4275 Huron Rd., +1 519 393-5311, . Sep-Apr: Tu-Sa, 10AM-4PM. May-Aug: Su, M Noon-4PM, Tu-Sa, 10AM-4PM. A community museum dedicated to the cultural heritage of Stratford and Perth County. Admission ranges from $3-5.
Art In The Park, on Lakeside Drive between North and Front Streets, +1 519 272-0429, . W, Sa, Su in June, July, August & September (weather permitting). An outdoor gallery representing the works of regional artists.
Gallery Stratford, 54 Romeo Street, +1 519 271-5271, . Tu-Su, 10AM-5PM. Exhibits of contemporary and historical art.
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 herb garden in the Shakespearean Gardens at the Huron Street Bridge, Stratford
The park system around the Avon River: Stroll the shaded path around the lake. There are lots of benches for people-watching and picnicking. 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 or 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.
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.
York Street Kitchen, 41 York Street, +1 519 273-7041, . Every day, 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, sherperd'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, 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. $17-31 dinner mains. Reservations recommended.
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), ☎ (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. Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday: 4:30 pm until last reservation taken at 8:30 pmedit
Sophisto-Bistro, 9 Cobourg Street (In front of Lake Victoria), ☎ 5192716442, . 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. edit
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. Dinner menu $65.50-$70.50. Reservations required.
Rundles, 9 Cobourg Street, 1+ 519 271-6442, . Dinner We-Sa. Dinner menu $84.50-$94.50. Lunch Sa-Su. Lunch menu $34.50/$47.50. Reservations required.
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.edit
Down the Street Bar and Restaurant, 30 Ontario Street, +1 519 273-5886, .
The Dominion House Bar & Grill, 3 Guelph St (corner of Downie), ☎ 519 271-3870, . Daily lunch and dinner specials. Live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night, and Karaoke Sunday nights. Licensed, groups welcome!edit
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.
Cottage on the Thames, 279 Thomas Street, St. Marys (15 minutes from Stratford), +1 519 998-1337, . 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 or 1 866 572-2581, . Centrally located. $89-$250.
Arden Park Hotel, 552 Ontario Street, +1 519 275-2936 or 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 or 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 or 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 or 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
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, ☎ 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.edit
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), ☎ 519-393-6223 (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.edit
Wildwood Conservation Area, 3995 Line 9 (located on highway 7 between Stratford and highway 19), ☎ 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.edit
Some options for further travel include:
Niagara on the Lake - for more theatre visit the Shaw Festival in this picturesque historic town
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