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Lovely Stratford, Ontario (it will put your town to shame)

4119 Views 23 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Jaybird
Well, folks, here it is, the most beautiful city in the world it size, 30,000, Stratford, Ontario (back in 1997 when rated). Home of the famous Stratford Festival Theatre, many theatres and cultural attractions, fine restaurants and shops downtown, and a popular tourist city, along with probably the best downtown in Canada for a city its size, it puts all other towns in Ontario this size to shame (except for maybe two). I took these photos on Tuesday when it was SOOO beautiful outside.

All around downtown...

New Garlic's Restaurant just opened, second location outside of London

The Famous Avon Theatre, which was redesigned beautifully

Hudson's Department Store, this facade was also redesigned beautifully, it didn't look too good before...

The Stratford Inn, believe it or not, this place just closed down the day I took the picture according to the paper. :(

Perth County Courthouse

Stratford Public Library

Stratford-Perth Archives

Stratford Jail

Stratford Armoury

Discovery Centre and Museum

The World Famous Festival Theatre Complex, UNIQUE

The Gallery Stratford, Stratford's Art Gallery

Stratford's AMAZING City Hall, it's a BEAUTY

Stratford Place, downtown's newest building, built 5 years ago. Nice murals on it, too, and luxury condominiums @ back.

Festival Square, Stratford's downtown little shopping mall

There's something you don't see often, overhead signages downtown...

Entering Shakespearean Gardens

A statue of the man, William Shakespeare

Cute Bridge on Highway 7/8 going over the Avon River

Memorial Gardens, interesting...

Overhead signage downtown again...

The William Allman Arena, home of the Midwestern Junior B hockey team, Stratford Cullitons. Many NHL stars from Ontario got their start with this team at teenage years. Seats 2,000+ and was built in 1924. IMO, it is almost a CARBON copy of Windsor Arena, looking like a barn!
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Yes, being an ex-Londoner I have been to Stratford a couple of times and it is a very picturesque little city.
Very nice tour Jay. Even with those overhead signs I still got lost driving through Stratford (it was at night). The roads all kind of come together in a star shape, it's unusual.
Yeah Stratford's a beauty. Is there much sprawl and big box going on outside the downtown??
Gotta love the Strat! Although to refer to it as the world's most beautiful city of it's size is kinda pushing it -- i'll give you Canada though.
Definitely one of Canada’s prettiest town.
Stratford's very nice for a North American city, I'll put it that way.

DrJoe, actually, Stratford is growing very nicely, the sprawl isn't too bad, not like London, Kitchener, or Metro Toronto. They updated the signs from 28,000 to 30,000. The houses being put up are HUGE, and not sprawly like thin ugly boxes, crap like that.

Bad news, though, First Pro has applied an application to put a WAL-MART and HOME DEPOT in Stratford here. That is going to be disastrous for downtown, but you never know, Woodstock isn't much bigger, and I think downtown Woodstock could be better as well. So that really sucks, but then again, I guess there are other towns that can draw to Stratford. Plus, Stratford is REALLY TOURISTY and on summer days, downtown is PACKED with people, mainly tourists. So maybe it won't be too bad, I can only hope though.

BTW, thanks for the comments on Stratford and my pics everyone. This town deserves it! :)
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Great tour!!! Stratford is beautiful. :)
Stratford is one of my favourite towns in Ontario. In its league, I also like Niagra on the Lake, which is also pretty but has an advantage of having the wine country around it. For even smaller towns, I always liked the town/village of Elora.
Start is a VERY lovely town... I've always enjoyed going there.
Niagara-On-The-Lake still has a more special place in my heart though.
I intend to take some pictures of lovely Goderich in the spring, which is also my birthplace. Another nice town, just north of Goderich, is Kincardine. :)
Wow, Stratford's downtown is very nice and seems very healthy. It is good that the newer buildings are still designed with pedestrians in mind.
I used to go to Stratford every now and then when I was living in London, and I really loved it. It's got a really nice downtown, and shops in downtown are packed with people (at least during the festival season anyway). I hope Walmart won't be able to open there. They were collecting petitions against Walmart in the downtown shops when I was there a couple years ago...

Ah... Garlics from London. I reminds me of their Garlic ice cream. You've gotta have guts to try it. :p
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I was up in Stratford today for the first time this year, was very impressed. Your pictures are obviously nice Jaybird, but the town looks much nicer in person--it has a soul that can't be quite captured on camera (and it probably helps that it isn't the dreary Winter). Various parts reminded me of Europe.

I'll say one thing though. The parking lot behind the City Hall is an awful idea. Pave it over, make it a square, and get the restaurants to make up space for alfresco dining.
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The City of Stratford does have plans to renovate the Market Square, around the city hall... I think maybe they could do without that parking lot and maybe replace with an ice-skating rink, or picnic table areas eating downtown, although I think the park near downtown already has that, but it's an idea.

here's an article from March 31st...

New design for Market Square

Mar 31, 2005
Tori Sutton More from this author

Market Square, behind City Hall in downtown Stratford, could be one step closer to receiving a facelift.
City council passed a motion at Tuesday night's meeting to establish a Market Square advisory committee, that would clearly outline goals and objectives related to the space. They would also work toward organizing a design contest to determine the new look of the square.

The motion came after a presentation by city-centre committee development subcommittee members, who summarized findings of an open house visioning session held in September 2004.

The open house drew a crowd of over 350 people, who provided feedback at eight stations that included interactive panels.

"Typically, we're fortunate if 75 people come out," said Laura Dent, subcommittee member, of the event's turnout.

One-third of respondents indicated interest in a public space that would allow them to "linger", taking in concerts or performances by street buskers. Uses identified as inappropriate included playground facilities.

As well, one-third identified parking and transit in the area as problematic. Nearly half of those participants said they would like to see the buses moved off-site completely, with the Erie Street and St. Patrick Street lots as suggested alternatives.

Features currently in the area identified as important included City Hall, Allen's Alley - which connects the Erie Street parking lot with Wellington Street - the Avon Theatre and the area in front of City Hall.

Problematic areas included parking in the centre of the square and the intersection at Downie and Wellington streets.

Several councillors expressed concern with the findings, though city-centre representatives pointed out nothing was set in stone and design proposals could include mandatory elements, such as parking.

Coun. Kathy Rae said it is time to take the next step in the process.

"This is a culmination of a lot of effort and a lot of studies," she said. "We can't argue with the fact there is a great deal of public interest."

Other councillors echoed her statements.

"There is an overwhelming feeling that the status quo isn't good enough," said Coun. Sam Dinicol, who noted the city's Official Plan requires any parking lost in the core to be immediately relocated and replaced.

"To have a good public space you need a multitude of activities," said Coun. Chris Rickett, adding there is a need for parking in the core.

Coun. Keith Culliton said he has spoken to many residents in favour of keeping buses in the square and they were "very happy" with the current service.

Others feared merchants were not given enough input in the process.

"I'd like the city-centre committee to send out some type of questionnaire to merchants," said Coun. Lloyd Lichti. "Let's get their input on what they want downtown in Market Square."

The motion passed unanimously with councillors Cheryl Ruby and Frank Mark absent.
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^ yeah, the buses should go. They don't like right where they are. How long has this been going on, btw. I remember the first time I visited Stratford many years ago I thought it was kind of odd how underutilized the space was. Is this even a major issue for the public?

While it's true the park nearby already has that, I think in this case with such a natural location for a square (since, in this case, we're actually talking about a squared off area), it is a shame to have it as a parking lot. I'm not sure about the picnic tables, though, I think patio-style chairs and tables would be better for the area.
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Thanks for the pics!

Love the plays, restaurants, swans, and B and B's.
Jaybird said:
Bad news, though, First Pro has applied an application to put a WAL-MART and HOME DEPOT in Stratford here.
Bad news indeed. Though, due to Stratford being Stratford, I doubt the downtown will crumble like Brantford's.

But, great photos Jaybird. Stratford is very nice. I spent summers there as a kid, and have always gone back. It's a great town, not to mention Ken's. :D

If Stratford ever plans to tear down the city hall, don't let them. Kitchener had that beautiful neo-classical city hall they tore down, and look where that got them. It turned downtown into a dump, and the city turned into one big suburb.
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just like i remember it, no vacant store fronts and many nice old buildings. i especially like the courthouse and city hall, i had seen sketches of them in architecture books at the loldon public library, but i dont remember ever seeing them in person.
how is the bus service in stratford, is it somewhat frequent, and does it serve the city well?
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