|Subject: Stratford, Ontario|
A brief report on our short visit to Stratford (Ontario) this past weekend to see William Hutt in his final major role in a production of "The Tempest". The old warhorse is 84 years old and still tredding the boards. It was a perfect September weekend after the great summer we've had in Southern Ontario. There's something delicious about going to the theatre in shorts and a t-shirt!
We stayed at The Barber's House located in a lovely residential area a few blocks from the main square of town and 5 minutes from both the Festival and Tom Paterson Theatres. There are only two suites available (beautifully renovated) so the service is personalized. Breakfast can be taken in the dining room or in the very pretty garden at the side of the house. This is a popular B and B and bookings fill up as early as January each year for the theatre season. http://www.bbcanada.com/5436.html
We took our pre-dinner cocktails (Stratford Pilsner, a local brew) on the patio of Falstaff's (27 Market Place). We ate dinner at "Down the Street Bar and Cafe" (30 Ontario Street). The food was excellent in this quirky restaurant and the wine list prices were very, very good. Our Henry of Pelham Baco Noir was only $28.00. We ate at 8:00 p.m., when most visitors are at the theatres but if you eat pre-theatre it's wise to make a reservation. http://www.downthestreet.ca/
It's been at least 20 years since we'd been to Stratford and though the town has changed, it's for the better we think. It retains a real-town feel, unlike Niagara-on-the-Lake which has been prettified for tourists.
The lakeshore walk is lovely and the swans and ducks are relaxed around people. There was an art exhibition in the lakeside park and I'm sure there are events each weekend throughout the theatre season. So, we won't wait another 20 years to re-visit.