We’re part of a vital theatre region here in Southwestern Ontario, with the celebrated Stratford Festival right here in town, exclusively Canadian plays at the nearby Blyth Festival, and vibrant theatre scenes in the neighbouring cities of London and Kitchener.
Our appreciation of music is just as keen; we attract internationally known singers, musicians, and composers, and our town is home to a famous Celtic songstress and the Stratford Concert Band. Our passion for music is perhaps best displayed at Stratford Summer Music, which runs July through August. Here in June? Enjoy our great fiddlers and step-dancers!
We’re also home to an astounding number of gifted artisans and visual artists. That’s why you’ll find the lively artists’ collective of Factory 163 here, along with curated shows at Gallery Stratford, and the al fresco delights of Art in the Park. Stratford also features a number of private galleries.
Interested in the longer story of Stratford? Our history is revealed in the Stratford-Perth Museum. We’re also truly one of Canada’s 19th century architectural gems—home to mansions, Ontario cottages, churches, and civic and commercial buildings, many now converted into shops and restaurants. If you’re coming to visit, you can even stay at a heritage B&B or inn. We’re proud of the fact that Stratford has some of the best-conserved heritage in Canada.
And once you’ve come and stayed with us, we think you’ll agree that the highlight of any visit to Stratford is strolling the acres of parks and gardens along the Avon River as you view our most famous citizens—our colony of swans. We think their beauty and majesty reflect the finest facets of our jewel of a town.
The prizewinning gardens of Stratford
The gentle flow of our own Avon River links five gorgeous gardens that fill Stratford’s spring, summer, and autumn with colour. In return, we fill their air with music. We create our own little Eden.
Let’s start with the Shakespearean Gardens. Framed by a pergola, the Perth County Courthouse, and the oldest double-arch stone bridge in Ontario, this little jewel contains 60 varieties of herbs, flowers, and shrubs, all familiar to Shakespeare’s contemporaries, and mentioned in his plays. Wander through knots of blooms bordered by thrift and boxwood and along the stone walls among fragrant rose gardens, and then rest on iron benches in this sanctuary along the river bank.
Nearby, as you follow the river east, you’ll come to our beautiful cenotaph, the work of [Walter Seymour Allward]. It’s an awe-inspiring monument to our fallen soldiers designed by the sculptor of the Canadian National Memorial in Vimy, France. Feel free to sit on a bench and contemplate this oasis in the very centre of our bustling town.
Follow the river a little farther to the grounds surrounding the Festival Theatre. There you’ll find the Arthur Meighen Gardens with its dozens of fragrant rose arbours, water pools, and tree-filled parks. Is there any better place to spend time before or after a show?
Just beyond the Festival Theatre is Millennium Park. It’s filled with water plantings, lit fountains, native trees, and ornamental plantings, all set within an outdoor sculpture garden. It’s our town’s perfect Zen moment.
At the end of your stroll you’ll find [Gallery Stratford], set with the forested glade of Confederation Park. It extends the Zen, with its soothing waterfall and Japanese garden.