Throughout my 25 year career, as an actor working in Canada and the U.S. – through all my travels – I have never found a city, a community, a place, quite like Stratford, Ontario.
Though known across the country, and around the world for it’s one-of-a-kind theatre company – Stratford is – dare I say it – so much more.
Canada’s railway history was at the core of Stratford’s beginning and her being. A major junction point – major rail yard – Stratford was an indisputably important point on Ontario’s and, therefore Canada’s, vital transportation and communication system.
Due to the railway, Stratford became an important hub for manufacturing and distribution.
The railway and the factories brought workers. Workers need to be fed and Ontario’s Pork Congress and Ontario’s fruit and feed farmers answered the call.
Farming and Food production.
At the turn of the last century, as the small city’s affluence and education grew, it was faced with a unique problem: The railway was losing it’s importance and economic power – and jobs were in danger… but the newly formed Parks Board had a new vision for the city.
Could Stratford a Dickensian hub of warehouses and factories – all now failing – transform itself into a Victorian city reaching towards a vision of beauty and serenity for its residents.
The growing pains are still felt today by the city – it is a city of many faces – manufacturing and tourism; factories and art galleries; farming and theatre.
… but now Stratford will add “National Educator” to it’s list of credentials due to the arrival of the new campus of U of Waterloo.
Stratford is, to me, a microcosm of our whole country.
As Canadians reach for a new vision of civilization, hope and beauty – we are still struggling with what it means to be working Canadians, striving to keep our families fed – striving to educate ourselves and our community towards a better way of living.
– grandiose sounding – fur shur.
– but walk any street in Stratford and you will see evidence and bits and pieces of all of the above.
Now – what this has to do with getting the wonderful Jian to come to Stratford with his radio show?
I am not sure.
but… I know he’s been before. I know he loves Stratford.
… and I’m sure neither he, nor Canadian audiences, would be bored with being able to see our city through his eyes.
a resident of Stratford for over 14 years.