Canada isn’t really my favorite, and that is an understatement. I’m a Detroiter, and Canada is my backyard; I’m only about twenty minutes from the border. Not to mention that border security treat it like you’re attempting to break into Cuba or North Korea.
However, there is one small city in Ontario, Canada that has a very special place in my heart. That place in Stratford, Ontario.
Stratford is the Broadway of Canada, home to the most impressive Shakespeare festival this theatre junkie has ever seen, and also hosts the largest repertory theatre in the world.
I have travelled to Stratford, Ontario four times in my life, each time with my high school theatre company which provided a variety of experiences that would not be available to someone who travelled there just as a tourist. We got exclusive tours of theaters, costume warehouses, acting workshops with the best of the best and advice with people in the business.
I have had the opportunity to see seventeen shows at Stratford, some of my favorites including Cabaret, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest and Dangerous Liasons.
The city thrives off of theatre; everyone is an actor, director, writer, dancer, producer, technician, and so on. The streets are crammed with little bistros, boutiques and cafés.
There is no place in the world quite like Stratford.
It is my safe haven.
Festival Inn- I love this hotel. The rooms are quite nice and there are tons of amenities: indoor pool, billiards, poker tables- everything you could want. Also, in the Anne Hathaway dining room, you will have the best hotel breakfast you could ever ask for. Festival Inn is about a five minute drive outside of the heart of downtown Stratford
Fellini’s- Some of the best Italian/Mediterranean food I’ve ever had has come from Fellini’s (and I’ve been to Italy!). Go for any meal of the day and make sure you leave room for dessert, especially the mini crème brûlée combo! This is my favorite place to dine and be fabulous before a night at the theater.
The Annex Room- Lunch is my favorite here, especially the personal pizza menu! I recommend the Chicken Caesar pizza. This restaurant is very quiet and quaint, but I would not recommend it for picky eaters!
Bentley’s- Inn, restaurant, bar and spa. Everything you could ever want in one! Bentley’s is great for lunch. Sit down at the bar and order the gourmet grilled cheese with red pepper tomato soup- comfort food at it’s best. Awesome for a quick bite to eat for a matinee
I could go on for days and days about all of the excellent food that is to be found in Stratford. Explore, and make sure you take advantage of so many non-chain spots.
The Festival Theatre- Many of the Shakespeare shows that I have seen were at the Festival. There is so much history here! Get a picture with the stature of Shakespeare outside, check out the awesome gift shop, and if you have an opportunity to take a tour of the backstage area, do it!
The Avon Theatre- The Avon is one of my most favorite theaters in the world. Seeing a musical here is such a treat. Beautiful architecturally, and situated nicely downtown, the Avon is a perfect place to see your first Stratford show.
The Green Room- This is my favorite shop downtown. Anything you could ever want can be found here. Knick-knacks, clothes, bags, toys, gag gifts… it’s just a fun place. I never leave The Green Room without a purchase