Stratford: Tours & Trails

chocoThe Chocolate Trail: 1969 was the summer of peace, love…and chocolate. This was the year that Rheo Thompson set up shop in Stratford and began what would become an institution for visitors: the home of “the mint smoothie”. Since then, Stratford has delighted in a proliferation of chocolate: from artisanal chocolates, to chocolate teas, sauces, and products throughout town. Take your sweet tooth and your sweet heart along the Chocolate Trail…

baconBacon & Ale Trail: Stratford (Perth County) is the home of the Ontario Pork Congress. It goes without saying that local farmers know their bacon…and local chefs know their farmers. One can Google the “Shakespeare-Bacon Controversy”, but in Stratford we love the thickly cut bacon at Mercer Hall, Madelaine’s butter tarts with bacon, Kitchen Connaisseur’s beer barbecue sauce, and even Small Mart’s bacon toothpaste!

BieberBanner_ Justin Bieber’s Stratford: Never Say Never…just for fun, pick up one of these maps from the Stratford Tourism Alliance office, and follow it to the steps of the Avon Theatre, where Justin got his start; to Scoopers, where he gets his ice cream, and Boomers gourmet fries. If you think you’re being followed by screaming girls, you’re not–the Biebs is in town.

The-Forum-Individual-ToursStratford Festival Tours invites us to enjoy a more complete theatre experience. Tour The Festival Exhibition for a history of the theatre; Garden Tours explore the beautifully manicured grounds of the Festival; Festival Theatre Tours convey the magic of the Festival; and the Costume and Props Warehouse Tour (my personal favourite) allow us to tour the third largest costume warehouse in the world and even try on costumes from seasons past.

gardenOriginally a railway junction, Stratford, located along the Avon River, is replete with Victorian homes, and gardens that make this a consistent winner of the International Communities in Bloom competition. The pleasant rolling country side surrounding the city is close enough to get to with ease and extends far enough to give a feeling of escape. Whether a walk along the river and through the Shakespearean gardens, or a bicycle ride out into the country, follow these maps for a tranquil afternoon: Strolling Route; Cycling Route (bike rentals at Totally Spoke’d).

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