The prizewinning gardens of Stratford
The gentle flow of our own Avon River links five gorgeous gardens that fill Stratford’s spring, summer, and autumn with colour. In return, we fill their air with music. We create our own little Eden.
Let’s start with the Shakespearean Gardens. Framed by a pergola, the Perth County Courthouse, and the oldest double-arch stone bridge in Ontario, this little jewel contains 60 varieties of herbs, flowers, and shrubs, all familiar to Shakespeare’s contemporaries, and mentioned in his plays. Wander through knots of blooms bordered by thrift and boxwood and along the stone walls among fragrant rose gardens, and then rest on iron benches in this sanctuary along the river bank.
Nearby, as you follow the river east, you’ll come to our beautiful cenotaph, the work of [Walter Seymour Allward]. It’s an awe-inspiring monument to our fallen soldiers designed by the sculptor of the Canadian National Memorial in Vimy, France. The bronze plaque in front of Stratford's Cenotaph provides historical details about this exquisite war memorial by the great Canadian sculptor Walter S. Allward. It is most unusual to see a cenotaph in a small community graced by such magnificent art which poignantly reminds us of the sacrifices made by this community in wartime. Feel free to sit on a bench and contemplate this oasis in the very centre of our bustling town.
Follow the river a little farther to the grounds surrounding the Festival Theatre. There you’ll find the Arthur Meighen Gardens with its dozens of fragrant rose arbours, water pools, and tree-filled parks. Is there any better place to spend time before or after a show?
Just beyond the Festival Theatre is Millennium Park. It’s filled with water plantings, lit fountains, native trees, and ornamental plantings, all set within an outdoor sculpture garden. It’s our town’s perfect Zen moment.
At the end of your stroll you’ll find [Gallery Stratford], set with the forested glade of Confederation Park. It extends the Zen, with its soothing waterfall and Japanese garden.
In honour of the 140th Anniversary of the Stratford Horticultural Society, a site dedicated to our gardens has been created stratfordgardens.com.
Are you already feeling more centred? Imagine how you’ll feel when you’re here.