Take in World-Class Theatre in a Postcard-Perfect Town

The sleepy town of Stratford is home to the largest classical repertory theatre in North America, renowned both in Canada and abroad.

Stratford has long been associated with the repertoire of its namesake stage, the works of William Shakespeare, and it does excel at classical theatre. This century, especially, the artistic team has updated the festival's profile to make it a destination for new and modern plays, as well as popular entertainment such as Broadway musicals. So, you can choose according to taste and experience: is the main draw an ambitious production of Jesus Christ Superstar or a traditional staging of King Lear? Does Camelot better fit the bill, or an inventive production of Richard III starring a woman in the lead role? The ever-impressive lineup is designed to suit tastes from the contemporary to the historic, the comedic to the tragic. In fact, there's so much to choose from, it's often advisable to take in two shows and turn your stay into an overnight or two. Some highlights of this season include 42nd Street, Much Ado About Nothing, The Pirates of Penzance and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Beyond the Festival, there's Stratford's pretty downtown with its riverside parks, boutiques and galleries to explore-all within walking distance. Stratford is also an excellent destination for fine dining. The haute The Church Restaurant is often regarded as one of the city's best: it's a dramatic transformation of an old church into a fine-dining room where the cathedral ceilings are as impressive as the classic menu.

One more thing, for Stratford's younger visitors: this is the hometown of Justin Bieber. And, yes, Bieber tours are available.

Photo Caption: Tom Patterson island in morning light, in Stratford, Ontario

Photo by Stratford Festival of Canada

Excerpted from Frommer's Far & Wide: A Weekly Guide to Canada's Best Travel Experiences. Copyright (c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd. Excerpted with permission of the publisher John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd.