Your Local Guide to Stratford, Ontario

When you think of Stratford, a few things may come to mind: first, its beloved theatre festival, and second, its more recent claim to fame as the hometown of singer Justin Bieber. And as any Stratford local will tell you, these global connections are undeniably cool — but they aren’t the only things that make Stratford a great place to call home. Named one of Canada’s top places to live by MacLean’s in 2017, Stratford has excellent shopping, dining and recreation opportunities, as well as a myriad of local conveniences that make everyday life easy. Read on to discover why you’ll love living in Stratford. 


Stratford is a warm, friendly community with plenty of unique attractions and a deep-rooted appreciation for the arts. First settled over 180 years ago as a railway junction, Stratford has since evolved into a modern town that keeps everything you need at your fingertips.


With a population of just over 33,000 people, Stratford benefits from a close-knit community feel while still being close to larger cities, such as Kitchener-Waterloo approximately 30 minutes west, and London 45 minutes northeast. Its central location in the heart of Southwestern Ontario also means that the 401 expressways are easily accessible, making travel into the GTA or Toronto easy and convenient. 


Why deal with the woes of big city living when you can have it all in a small one? Stratford is a world leader as a smart city, with sensor parking lots, fiber broadband network throughout the entire town, as well as free WiFi hubs on almost every street corner. 


All the world’s a stage in Stratford! The town’s beloved Stratford Festival was established in 1953, and has since featured countless actors and actresses over the years, and entertained hundreds of thousands of theatre goers. In production between April and October, the Stratford Festival’s main gig are works inspired by Shakespearean plays, but it also includes a variety of musicals, comedies, tragedies and contemporary works on the playbill. Stratford’s long history of live performances, as well as its eclectic art sculptures throughout the town, has even earned it the title of Canada’s Art Town.


In addition to its rich arts and theatre culture, Stratford is an oasis for those who love spending time outdoors. The Avon River is at the heart of Stratford’s natural beauty; float along the water on kayak, canoe or paddle boat, or else use the river as a guide to explore the five gorgeous gardens that are linked to it, including the beloved Shakespearean Gardens. The Arthur Meighen Gardens, and Japanese Garden also sit alongside the river, and can be followed through the downtown towards the nature trails and Wildwood Conservation Area that lies just outside of town. 


No matter what it is you’re craving, you’re sure to find a delicious serving of it in one of Stratford’s many restaurants. Local chefs are fuelled by a passion for the craft and are always pushing the limits to create world-class dining experiences that feature fresh, new-world flavours. 

Braai House 

If you’re a fan of South African cuisine, you’re in luck. Located in the heart of downtown Stratford, this inspired restaurant specializes in open-fire cooking, with their smoked duck and boerewors being popular items on the menu. Expect to plan your visit ahead of time, as Braai House is often a full house! 

Edison’s Cafe Bar

Did you know that Thomas Edison briefly called Stratford home in the 1860’s? Edison spent time in the town for his first job as a telegrapher, residing in an inn that has since been modernized, with the ground floor converted into a coffee house aptly named Edison’s Cafe Bar. Today, this favourite local spot is best known for its delicious, whole-food dessert and drink options. 

Pazzo Taverna & Pizzeria 

If you’re in the mood for Italian, then Pazzo’s pizzeria is the place for you. A community staple for over 20 years, this rustic local spot is where you’ll find a host of delicious pizza and pasta options. Buon appetito! 

Revival House 

One of the most architecturally unique restaurants in town, Revival House was once a church that’s since been converted into the city’s ultimate venue for French-inspired cuisine. With a culinary team that specializes in local, seasonal and house-made ingredients, there’s always something new and memorable to try.

The Red Rabbit 

A Canadian-inspired menu is what keeps locals coming back to The Red Rabbit time and time again. A worker-owned restaurant, The Red Rabbit’s dishes are often artisanally served on long wooden platters for tapas-style sharing.


If Stratford’s diverse foodie scene has left your mouth watering, then you’re in for quite a treat: in addition to all the great restaurant options, the town is also home to a self-guided Chocolate Trail, as well as a Bacon & Ale Trail


Unique treasures and one-of-a-kind finds are what await you in Stratford. With clothing stores to suit every aesthetic, to quaint shops brimming with decor and homeware finds, art and cultural knick-knacks, and so much more, Stratford is where you’re sure to indulge your love of shopping. Festival Marketplace Shopping Centre is home to a great selection of shops and services, while downtown Stratford is filled with stores for every need, from arts and antiques, to home and gardening, fashion, pet shops and so much more.

Ready to call Stratford home? Avon Park offers an outstanding collection of townhomes and detached homes. Visit our website to learn more.

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