Stratford is a success story: a wonderful country town that refuses to surrender to the depopulation plaguing rural centers worldwide. As the story goes, in 1952, upon hearing that the Canadian National Railways (the region's largest employer) was closing the doors of its Stratford facility, a young journalist by the name of Tom Patterson approached his council for a loan. His plan was to attract a troupe of actors to capitalize on the town's namesake: Shakespeare's birthplace. It worked. In 1953 the first performance of what has become the Stratford Festival (the largest of its kind) was born, creating a whole new industry, which continues to support the town today.
Charming, cultured and classy, with a bunch of other festivals to boot, Stratford packs more punch than cities twice its size: there are plenty of great places to eat and stay. Whatever the season, you'll enjoy nature, arts and architecture, and the proud local welcome.