Stratford—we’re built out of history
Our beautiful city presents you with a feast for your eyes virtually every time you look up. If you enter the city from the east, on Ontario Street—the town’s main street—you’ll soon see the Perth County Courthouse, visible for miles. It’s an intriguing confection of Romanesque, Italianate, and Queen Anne details rendered in sandstone, yellow brick, and red terracotta, crowned with an imposing bell tower. The Victorian interior offers beautifully-preserved stained glass windows, oak woodwork, and tiles. It sits in a core of civic buildings that includes the Stratford Public Library—a Carnegie Library, the Stratford-Perth Archives, and the Stratford Jail.
Nearby stands Stratford’s City Hall in all its Queen Anne, red-bricked glory, in the heart of our downtown, surrounded by the well-preserved late-Victorian commercial districts of Wellington, Ontario, and Downie Streets. Go ahead and wander—you’ll be captivated by the sheer variety and beauty of the architectural designs, from chequerboards, latticework, and corbels to Romanesque arches, pilasters, turrets, gargoyles, and finials. There’s something to note in every corner, every nook.
Our war memorial, which stands on the banks of the Avon River, was created by renowned sculptor Walter Seymour Allward. His dramatic sculptural style, evident in this cenotaph, was to achieve its height in his next commission, the Canadian National Memorial in Vimy, France; his work was a major influence on Jane Urquhart's novel The Stonecarvers. We’re enormously proud to have such a fine example of Allward’s work here in Stratford.
It’s worth your while to wander farther afield, too—surrounding the heritage downtown are neighbourhoods brimming with mature trees and a rich abundance of Victorian and Edwardian heritage homes, many of which have been turned into bed and breakfasts.
As you stroll, be on the lookout out for some of the architectural features that truly characterize Stratford, such as Ontario cottages, storm porches, and verandas. Gables, columns, porticos and pilasters—you’ll even see some turrets and towers adorning private homes! These are the touches that give Stratford its renowned garden city character.
Have a look at the slideshow we’ve prepared of Stratford's Ontario cottages above to get a bit of the flavour of what you can expect when you visit Stratford. You can also look for heritage building in Stratford and Perth County by browsing our heritage architecture database. Then you can set off on one of our many self-guided heritage tours of Stratford and Perth County.
If this isn’t a walk in Paradise…well, we think you’ll find it’s pretty close.