Susan Park - Heritage Architecture Fan
I was born and raised in: Chicago, Illinois
How I make a buck: I am a pediatrician.
My favorite activities include: traveling; visiting art galleries; and reading a good book.
3 things I love about the Stratford Area:
It's a very pleasant town in which to spend a leisurely day. We love to walk through the gardens; explore the shops; see a show at the theatre; and enjoy so many charming residential streets of Edwardian homes and gardens.
3 Favorite local hidden treasures you shouldn't miss:
Come to Stratford's only artist-run centre to check out the latest in cutting edge contemporary art!
Architectural Strolls What I love about Stratford is the great variety of 19th century architecture in the city and how well conserved are the buildings. There are so many Ontario cottages, municipal buildings, including the famous City Hall and churches that surround you wherever you are in the historic downtown. I have enjoyed the audio tours that I downloaded to my iPod and just wander on my own. I have yet to finish the Bronze Stars tour which identifies famous Stratford residents.
The Shakespearean Gardens at the base of Ontario Street is one of many lovely little strolls, and is a perfect example of why Stratford is the 2008 champion of the International Communities in Bloomcompetition. There is a great sense of civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification manifested here along the river. I downloaded the Shakespearean Garden Stroll to my ipod and learned so much more about the gardens.
There is a yellow brick factory that was built in the early 1900's and is undergoing an amazing transformation into a hub for culture, arts, social and environmental innovation. Come to Stratford's only artist-run centre, Gallery 96, to check out the latest in cutting edge contemporary art! I signed up for an Off The Wall creative workshop taught by Stratford's best artisans.
My perfect day spent in the Stratford Area:
A perfect day for us would be in the summer, and again in the autumn, to spend a leisurely stroll along the river, and up to the Festival Theatre’s to admire the gardens, where labels are often provided to identify the Festival’s plantings. We would then have lunch at The Parlour, built in the 1870's, now its refurbished elegant interior is a warm and inviting establishment. Lunch on the patio is something I look forward to. From there we would tour storied neighborhood homes and stone cottages, ornate with stained glass transoms above great Edwardian doors, and perfectly manicured gardens. It is simply a delight to admire the care taken to preserve and beautify the facades of these old homes. It was easy to follow the heritage tours I downloaded to my ipod from the website.
We would then enjoy a matinee. I prefer the musicals. If we were to attend an evening performance, I would like to spend the afternoon visiting the Stratford Perth Museum which always seems to display some new exhibition of historic intrigue. The Museum has acquired a Brooks Steamer, a steam powered automobile that was built in Stratford in the 1930's and is a marvel to see. I also adore visiting Gallery Stratford with its historic building (once the city pump house) and beautiful gardens. In addition to exhibits and programs, the Gallery has also partnered with the Toronto International Film Festival Group to offer a special selection of Canadian and international films in limited distribution on the third Monday of every month from September to May at the Stratford Cinemas. The Wee Book & Photo Shop has an eclectic mix of fiction, literature, Shakespearean works and theatre books, while the Book Stage sells all the great classics, a large section on theatre, budget CD's, and beautiful art volumes and collections of illustrations. Yet another option would be to take a leisurely drive through any one of the surrounding picturesque 19th century heritage towns like St. Marys, Milverton, and Millbank for a trip back in time. Dinner would be at Rundles for light French cookery with influences from Italy and Japan, followed by an evening stroll along the river and watching the swans at dusk.