Win a Stratford date!

By: Lisa Middleton

Love is in the air – we’re only five days away from Valentine’s Day! I adore working in Stratford; it is such a deliciously romantic city. With picturesque walkways and scenery, some of the best restaurants in the country and elegant B&Bs, it was made for lovers – on and off the stage! I’ve witnessed a few couples getting engaged here (and have heard of many more) and have spent many romantic moments here with my husband over the years. We’re always discovering something new to do here as a couple!







My husband is looking surprisingly young here!  And I don’t remember my hair being so blonde! 😉


One of my favourite things to do in Stratford with my husband is enjoy a picnic by the river and then catch a Festival production later in the afternoon. And because I am feeling the love, I am giving away everything you need to have this wonderful Stratford date! You could win a pair of tickets to any performance of Much Ado About Nothing in May* and a picnic for yourself and that someone special.

Did you know that Ben Carlson and Deborah Hay, our 2012 Benedick and Beatrice, are married in real life?

Here’s what you need to do to qualify:
In the comment box below, share your Stratford dream date or your own romantic Stratford story. The more details, the better! Tell me about your favourite places to visit when you’re here in Stratford with your sweetie. I’m always looking for something new to do!

You only have until noon on February 14, 2012, to submit your dream date! We’ll announce the winner on Facebook and Twitter the same day – in time for you to share it with the love of your life!

*Excludes May 28 performance of Much Ado About Nothing


63 thoughts on “Win a Stratford date!

  1. My boyfriend and I fell in love over Shakespeare.
    I have always loved Shakespeare plays, performed in a few amateur productions, and loved seeing The Tempest, A Midsummer Nights Dream, and most recently, As You Like It at Stratford.

    I never thought I would find a man who shared my passion for it! I’m fairly sure that I knew we had to be together when he quoted Hamlet to me for the first time

    With the close of the Stratford Festival for the season we have cuddled up to watch the film versions of Hamlet, Mid Summer, and our personal favourite, Much Ado About Nothing. “She shoots poinards! and every word stabs!”

    My ideal day in Stratford would be to take the scenic drive in the morning light. We would eat brunch in a cozy tea room in Stratford’s historic down town core. Perhaps nibble on a few scones with tea. Then afterward we would head hand in hand to a matinee showing of “Much Ado”, my absolute favourite play. Finally we would head downtown, see the shoppes and boutiques, buy a few chocolate covered strawberries from the oh-so delicious chocolate shop intow and eat them by the river while discussing our favourite parts of the play.

    Perhaps it’s because I am day dreaming of spring, perhaps its my love for British culture and Shakespeare, and maybe its the idea of spending the day with him, but it sounds like an ideal day to me. 🙂

  2. I enjoyed when me and my sweet went to Stratford to watch Romeo and Juliet. We started off by a drive through the city (despite gas prices, we enjoy a good drive), stopped at the park and took a walk by the river, and followed that up by a stop at a chocolate store (I forget the name, but they have delicious mint chocolates) and purchased some yummy treats for later. Before supper, we found a couple of geocaches (I can’t tell where – what fun would that be for those who haven’t yet discovered them), and then had dinner at a place we saw on our drive earlier in the day, enjoying ribs for him and chicken for me, with a refreshing craft brewed beer. After the play (which was amazing), we drove home, stopping along a country road on the way to admire all the stars in the dark sky.

  3. Last October, I started dating my boyfriend, who is originally from Stratford. He grew up going to the Festival regularly, as his dad has been a percussionist with the orchestra for 25+ years now. I had never seen a play or a musical at the festival, or in my entire life! So, for my first official “meeting the family” date, he took me to go see ‘Camelot’ with his family. I absolutely loved the show and his family was so welcoming and wonderful. I was blown away by the music, acting, and overwhelming feeling to smile the entire time. After the show finished, he took me up to the loft, where I got to meet his dad and see where the orchestra sits and plays during the show. It was such a neat experience, and an excellent ice-breaker to meet his entire family! It was a night of firsts for me for sure! Needless to say, we’re still together and experiencing a lot more ‘first milestones’ together.

  4. I wish I had a romantic Stratford story!!

    Definitely such a sweet town. A perfect date would include a drive on a really nice day into Stratford, with lots of sunshine and a great playlist and good snacks! Lunch would be at the little veg cafe followed by a walk by the river (with awesome chocolates in hand!) and throughout the shops. A couple of drinks at one of the great little bars alongside dinner before seeing a great show and tucking into one of the adorable b&b’s for the evening.

    Sweet date indeed!!

  5. This may not sound romantic but it is….My husband and I (no longer young) love to arrive early to the Avon Theatre, buy a bag of fries with loads of malt vinegar from the chip truck and drive down to the river in front of the Festival Theatre. We love to watch some kids play soccer as we eat the chips and then stroll along the path to see the swans.
    Won’t be long now!

  6. My romantic Stratford Dream date is…dressing up and going for a long scenic drive into Stratford from our home in the country. We pick up some lunch, be it subs or hamburgers, doesn’t really matter, go sit by the river while we eat and have wonderful conversation. After that we go grab some ice cream and enjoy some more of the beautiful day and great company of eachother. Then we proceed to the theatre to enjoy a show, with or without friends. Afterward, if we don’t go out for a drink, we have a wonderful discusion about the great production we just saw as we drive home to snuggle up in bed to finish off a splendid day together. Relaxed and happy.

  7. I fell in love with Stratford when my grade 10 class went to see Romeo and Juliette! So imagine my glee, when I fell in love with a man that loves going to the Theatre as much as I! Over the years, we have seen many Stratford performances. Last year, we decided the kids were old enough to go on a little getaway. While Stratford is only a short drive from our home in Kitchener, it seems like a completely different world! We stayed at Mercer Hall (the cutest little boutique hotel), slept in, bought boxed lunches from Pazzo and ate them on the banks of the river (OOH…now I am craving their brownies!!). My amazing husband took pictures of me as I tried on costumes (like an excited little girl) at the warehouse tour. We took in as many plays as possible There is no debate as to where this year’s getaway will be to…STRATFORD!!

  8. I have lived in Stratford most if my life and yet I am constantly discovering more things to enjoy every day. I was recently married in Stratford and my husband and I made sure to include some of our favourite spots in the photos. My husband grew up in Kitchener but has loved his move to Stratford. I have enjoyed showing him all the wonderful things to enjoy in my hometown and now they have also become his favourites as well.

    My dream day would have my husband and I visit Pazzo’s Ristorante for lunch (while re-living our first date and engagement there), take a walk down York St (remembering the amazing wedding photos we shot there), strolling the shops downtown and then enjoying an ice cream treat while walking around the Avon River. The date would then end with a stop in for some chocolate (mint smoothies please!) at Rheo Thompson’s to enjoy together at home.

  9. My sweetheart/husband/best friend and I have enjoyed romantic weekends in Stratford for several years since before we were married, as parents of four children and now that we are carefree grandparents. It never gets old. Canoeing on the Avon, picnicing on its banks, and then the always fantastic treat of the highest caliber live theatre. We live in Kingston but the long drive and an elegant B&B stay are are all part of the holiday experience.
    We grew up in Toronto going to the Festival Theatre on school trips and we introduced all our children to the experience on family holidays. Our youngest son attended The Shakespeare Summer School and has kept acting through high school and university. As empty-nesters its time for another romantic weekend with The Bard and so “Much Ado About Nothing” would be a perfect Valentine’s gift.

  10. I have so many wonderful Stratford memories, and add to them each year. Favourite moments include a lovely art exhibit across from the river, many, many delicious dinners at Pazzo (upstairs and down – especially in the wine cellar!) and The Church, picking up some delicious Balzac’s coffee and cooking sauces at Kitchen Connaisseur before a performance, and walking, browsing and poking in bookstores. We can spend hours in bookstores! We haven’t stayed over in Stratford, but mean to every year.

    The plays? Absolutely the best part! The most moving moment I had at Stratford wasn’t a romantic sharing, but was with my then 16 year old son. With little money and less ideas about what to do for my birthday, I asked if he’d be my date to see The Tempest with William Hutt, and not complain once. That was part of the deal. By the end of the performance, I was weeping openly, and I KNOW I saw a tear on his cheek. That he understood the greater meaning in that last speech of Prospero’s/Mr. Hutt’s was a wonderful moment for me.

  11. A dream Stratford date would be for our first anniversary this summer, beginning by arriving in the evening before, staying at the Stratford Festival Inn. In the morning we would start with a Festival Theatre tour, getting a chance to see behind the scenes. Followed by a walk all around the river, including the side with the houses following the path by the river, ending up at York Street, to shop Distinctly Tea and Callan’s Books, before ordering a take-out lunch from York Street Kitchen (as I did the day they opened so many years ago). After enjoying our picnic lunch we would head to The Gospel Lighthouse Bookstore, MacLeod’s Scottish Shop, and of course Rheo Thompson. We would return to our hotel room with all our purchases, change into our fancy dress and suit for dinner at Fellini’s and then off to a play, with seats front row balcony. After being thoroughly enthralled by the production we would cap the evening off with a nightcap and dessert at Bentley. Retiring for the the evening.

  12. Theatre is in my family’s blood. My parents met in England in mid 1940’s while doing community theater…Mum was playing Mary Magdelene and Dad was doing sound and lighting. Their love of theatre played out during my childhood as they took us to community theatre productions quite often while I was growing up.

    Fast forward to 1985 when I met my husband who was involved in theatre throughout his high school years in shows such as Fiddler on the Roof, Funny Thing Happened on The Way to the Theatre and South Pacific. The first night I met him he melted my heart as he sang “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof to a group of us at a party. Fast forward to 1987 where once again he melted my heart as he again sang “Sunrise, Sunset” this time at our wedding as I danced with my Dad.

    Throughout our years together (25 to date and still going) he has performed on many stages in many roles and the theatre bug caught on with me. I have been involved with community theatre back stage for the past 10 years starting out as a Wardrobe assistant and this past September I Stage Managed my first production. Both of our children have been involved with theatre from a very young age – our daughter on the stage and our son back stage with me. Our daughter is currently majoring in musical theatre at Etobicoke School of the Arts with the dream of one day making this her chosen profession.

    My dream date for my husband and I would be to enjoy the drive from Burlington to Stratford on a warm, sunny day with the roof down on the car. Drive into the town, pick up a delicious picnic lunch filled with fresh veggies, fruits. crackers and of course chocolate from Rheo Thompson and sit on a blanket by the river basking in the warmth and sunshine while enjoying each others company and remembering our many years together and our adventures both in life and the theatre. Then we would walk over to the theatre to take in “Much Ado About Nothing” and then end the perfect day as we tucked into bed at a quaint B and B in Stratford. Even more perfect would be to do all of this on May 6th which will be our 23rd wedding anniversary!!

  13. I live in Waterloo, Ontario and I’m a student at Wilfrid Laurier school. Stratford has always been a favourite place of mine and I had gone a few times with my mom to see the shows and musicals there but no one I knew ever wanted to go see Shakespeare with me.

    Luckily, in December of 2010 I met a wonderful guy who happened to share that love of Shakespeare and the theatre. That March I knew I wanted to attend a show with him in the summer so I bought the tickets. He joked around saying that it was presumptious of me to assume that we’d be together late in the summer and teased me but I knew we would make it to the show. For the summer he went home to work and we would meet each other when we could, where we could. It was an interesting challenge for a new relationship but it turned out to be a lot of fun when we finally made it to that date in Stratford! We arrived and visited all the shops, got hot dogs, visit Molly Blooms pub, we strolled down the river, fed the ducks, played catch, got ice cream and took a ton of pictures. We packed the day full and also packed some fancy clothes to change into before the show. That night we took a stroll up to the festival theatre while the sun went down and I’ve never felt so in love. We got a few other play goers to take our pictures inside and then my date saw the festival theatre for the first time, attended his first Stratford play; Twelth Night. We had a great time, laughing all night and the drive home was dedicated to the great time we just had and discussing when we could do it again.

    Later, I purchased tickets to the Merry Wives of Windsor and we met up again that summer to see another play. We went to Kings Buffet and did much of the same events as the first time, it was a blast.

    On our one year anniversary I said to him that Startford is now “our place” and for Valentine’s Day I bought tickets to a show and plan to surprise him but it would be absolutely amazing to have another show as well. A dream date would be walking through Stratford again, doing anything really. I’d like to try a new restaurant, maybe get some ice cream and we’d both like to go to one of the lectures before the shows (we’re both English majors). Stratford is definitely the place to go for us 🙂

  14. Stratford is the ultimate romantic locale for my husband and me because it is where we enjoy our wedding anniversary celebrations; twenty-seven of them so far. It is where we faithfully find our bliss by enjoying some alone time, some quiet meandering exploration time and some soul-stirring theatre time – all of which are and have always been essential to our happy union. In the spring of 1985, as our first anniversary approached, we knew one thing to be certain; that our gift to each other would be theatre tickets and thus our tradition began.
    Our history is that my husband came into our marriage with two children who lived with us until after completing their university degrees. During the first year of our marriage, due to a violent trauma, my mum came to live with us as well creating a noisy, busy and happy “instant family” with – sometimes – excruciating growing pains. Time alone was at a premium and proved to be a rare and oh-so-special treat.
    In those early days it was nigh-on impossible to afford theatre tickets, but two exceptions were made year after year. One exception was that funds were always found, at Christmastime, for five tickets to the Panto; originally a Mirvish production at the Royal Alexander Theatre starring Ross Petty and subsequently at the Elgin Theatre, produced by and starring Ross Petty. It may seem humble and pathetic to the intellectuals of Stratford, but we five thoroughly enjoyed those productions and avidly looked forward to them and planned for them every year as soon as the leaves began to fall. Exception number two was the two tickets for our anniversary celebration which brings me back to the spring of 1985.
    By dint of careful management of the household expenses, we eked out enough to afford show tickets for our anniversary and after much deliberation and conning of the plays, we opted for “Measure for Measure” – of this I am certain as I have both the programme and ticket stubs in my treasure box. That first trip was for a matinée performance with a quick stop for lunch along the way. We had the loveliest time imaginable, strolling through the theatre gardens, walking the length of the lake, imagining ourselves living in Stratford and, of course, savoring the wonderful show itself. It was bliss, a word I use a lot when thinking or writing of Stratford. Upon reaching home that evening, everyone gathered around the kitchen table keen for any and all details, the set, the costumes, the props, the cast, the fanfare – any and all details were discussed ad nauseam. Mum and I, remembering all the holidays we had in Stratford, all the shows we’d seen, all the restaurants we’d dined in with my beloved dad before his death in 1982 and Cam remembering all his school trips to Stratford. The real reminiscences, though, took place that night and many subsequent nights in our bedroom, in the dark, snuggled up together thinking ever so fondly of and thankfully for that idyllic afternoon in July.
    As the years passed and promotions came our way, our trips were embellished. No longer did we attend matinees – evening shows were for us. No longer did we come for one performance only, but for three or four at a time, several times each year, sometimes with Mum, Brian and Kristy in tow. No longer did we con the playbill for “the” show, but instead we took in all or very nearly all on offer. We ate at every posh establishment within miles, our favourites being Rundles and The Prunes in Stratford and The Waterlot in New Hamburg. We even became members, wanting to support our beloved festival as much as we were able. Despite this change in circumstance, the purpose of our visits to Stratford never did – change, that is. We continued to find our bliss, to recharge our romantic life force and enjoy a calm and lovely oasis in our hectic and driven lives. We often ponder whether our marriage would have lasted without those respites and are thankful we did not have to put that to the test.
    Then, as so often happens, our bliss bubble burst. I had to give up my job for health reasons and with my resignation came many changes to our lives, especially our Stratford sorties. Once again we were limited to one trip each year, but at least we were able to take in a comedy, a drama and a musical. Our time, thus limited, became ever so much more special and cherished. We still felt like two of the most fortunate people on this planet because our lives were enriched by our annual sojourns to the festival. Our every minute in Stratford was “choreographed” to ensure we missed nothing of importance, that we were able to luxuriate in every locale that had meaning to us. Our anniversary celebrations remained sacrosanct.
    Sadly, anniversaries twenty-six and twenty-seven have been celebrated far from the actual date and with very brief visits (shorter even than our 1985 trip) to our adored Stratford. My health is now so erratic that planning for trips and purchasing (in advance) tickets for theatrical productions has become an exercise in predicting a very unreliable future, meaning we have to content ourselves with last-minute purchases. Last year we were enchanted with your production of “Merry Wives” and with a bit of luck, this year we will be transported by the divine Christopher Plummer in “A Word or Two”. We still snuggle together in bed, in the dark and remember a magnitude of details of Stratford escapes of years gone by. It is remarkable what our minds recall; the sequins on a particular costume, an amazing wig, a chair on wheels (“The Miser”), men in drag (“The Importance of Being Ernest”), show-stopping musical performances, swans, gardens, concerts, the fanfares (and where we stood when they were sounded) and central to all of those, the celebration of our love for each other.
    My precious Cameron and I realize that, probably very soon, our trips to Stratford will end. When that happens, our anniversary celebrations will morph into times to enjoy our memories of past celebrations, documented in photographs and a steamer trunk full of programmes and ticket stubs. You see, the romance and the delights of Stratford to us are a virtual scrapbook of our twenty-seven wedding anniversary memories. What could possibly be more romantic than that?

  15. In 1986, before we were married, my wife and I were part of a college group that came to Stratford. We had a fantastic time at the peformances and poking around the various shops in town. We always wanted to return, and in 2002 we finally did, celebrating our 15th anniversary at the Chisholms Bed and Breakfast (where a bottle of champagne greeted us!) and enjoying My Fair Lady and Richard III. We shopped at Ten Thousand Villages, Family and Company, and many other fun places. Our dinner at the Bijou is still a vivid memory.

    In 2012, we celebrate our 25th anniversary, and Stratford is the place we’d rather go than anywhere else — for the food, the arts, and most of all the memories.

  16. At sixteen years old and twenty five years ago my husband and I met working at the Olde English Parlour in Stratford. Young love as we worked for many years serving the customers and hearing their stories of stratford and their own enjoyment of the festival. It was during these years that the river was a great place to strole and talk about our dreams. The hour walk or stop for a picnic has been forever live changing. It was easy to carve your initials in a bench back then. In the winter we spent many nights walking the downtown streets pretending we were in a little European town. It was our love of Stratford that made us stay hear to raise our children. It was the love of the town that made us live near the heart of the city. We continue to take those walks and when we have to pick a dream date whether it be anniversary or birthday we seem to stay put like we are stuck in time choosing from many of our favourite places. Olde english Parlour, or downstairs at pazzo’s when you are in stratord in love you never want to leave.

  17. Stratford is one of my favorite places to take my wife. We love to come early and walk downtown at the shops especially Family & Co. Toys. I really feel like a kid in there. There’s always some cool threads at The Green Room and, though I can’t remember the name, I LOVE lookin for treasures at the big British store! Then we might head into a cozy restaurant. Recently we went to an Indian place near the Avon theatre and the little hotel that is right across the street because it has a lovely patio. Then if we are headed to the Festival Theatre we must walk in the park and see the swans. If you come in the spring, you can see where they are nesting (don’t get too close!) After all of this we settle in to watch some of the finest theatre in the world! Perhaps one day we’ll open a B&B in town which would be a great excuse to spend the rest of my life in that fabulous city!

  18. My wife and I love to go to Stratford. Our dream date is a simple one: drive to Stratford in the morning, have a relaxing lunch on the patio of Othello’s, catch an afternoon comedy. Then we walk around and do some shopping, picking up a coffee and pastry snack, and pick up some snacks at the Barkery (for our three cats and dog, of course). Then, we enjoy a nice, romantic dinner before catching a Shakespeare show at night. We then go back to the B & B, sit down with a glass of wine, and then talk about the day.

  19. I moved to Stratford about 10 years ago because of my love for everything in this city. I loved going for walks around the river, feeding the swans, biking through the town in the mornings, and going to plays. I loved doing all these things by myself, and then I met my partner. I never thought these events could be any more enjoyable until I met him. Maybe we are big kids at heart, but we love going to family and company to look at all the new toys, going to see Peter Pan at the theater, and having picnics by the river together. Then one day we were up town, we got some fries, and he suggested we go to Shakespeare island. Having no clue what was about to happen, I commented how it would be amazing one day to get married in the gardens there with all of the beautiful flowers. After enjoying our lunch, sitting on the grass of the island, listening to the water babble, my partner got down on his knees, and proposed to me with his grandmothers ring. In all of my dreams it could not have been more perfect of a place in the whole world. Everything was gorgeous and beautiful. My dream date I guess would be simple.. enjoying the small things in this town that make it so unique. This town has changed my life in so many ways, and not only am I marrying my fiance next year, but also this wonderful city.

  20. Growing up, my sister and I would look forward to each summer when our gracious aunt would take us to Stratford. Neither of us cared that it meant 6 hours sweating in that car to get there!
    My boyfriend may not always share my love of Shakespeare and Ibsen but I know he appreciates the art of the stage. I’d love him to finally see Stratford and understand why I love it and the theatre so much.
    Honestly, we’re satisfied with any time we get out without having to worry about school! But if I ever get to take him to Stratford, I want him to see all the places that make it so special to me (and will to him). Taking a walk downtown into all the classic shops like Family and Company or the Christmas Store. Keeping walking down by the river and see the swans (I cannot emphasize how much he LOVES animals). After that we’d end with dinner at the small Italian restaurant downtown, and with a play or musical in the theatre. Basically, a Stratford twist on our classic day on the town dinner and a movie date. 🙂

  21. I come from a ‘salt of the earth’, ‘blue collar’ background. Very hard working, unpoetic, clearly unexpressive ‘stock’.

    I saw Romeo and Julliet with Seanna McKenna & Colme Feore in grade 11. I was the nerdy girl with too much make up and not enough constraint SOBBING in balcony seat D 102 (still have the ticket stub in my photo album). I didn’t cry just because of the story…but because I discovered that people, Shakespeare, Colme Feore, Seana McKenna, they could take ideas and WORDS and create something that penetrated ME. And it was the WORDS. The way they were WRITTEN and SPOKEN. FELT and UNDERSTOOD. Something within the words withstood decades and centuries, and just connected with my own fears, dreams, desires…and that when that happened…it was magic.

    That moment was pivotal in the husking of creative me. I know it’s about the ability to reach beyond. I always look to the words. And when I go to the theatre my favorite moment is always the black when the house lights go down BEFORE the show starts because it is always about the anticipation because it’s about the process of discovery, not what you’ve discovered.

    I have a beautifully romantic, ‘salt of the earth’ partner who I would LOVE to introduce to the theatre. He’s from clearly ‘unexpressive stock’ and while he has initiated me to the world of sports…and while he has a witty sense of humor and is humanely perceptive andlinguistically creative…he has not yet ‘gotten’ it. And he loves me and is always curious about me and what a beautiful, romantic way to introduce him to another layer of me. I want to give him that and give me that.



  22. He love’s me? He love’s me not?….

    Growing up just outside of Stratford I have always loved going for a picnic in the park!!! What is more beautiful then spending time with the ones you love and enjoying the beauty of pure essence that only nature can give us? It wasn’t just the food and the laughter shared with my family that made this one of my favorite things to do in the summer or the walk around the river with Scoop’s ice cream in hand but it was and still is the love that you feel, you see and you hear, in and around Stratford!

    I have always grown up with Theater, not only from the famous Stratford Shakespearean Festival but from other small town theater companies as well!! I love, love stories, farce’s, musicals,and dramas. but most of all I love the experience!!! I am a Dairy Farmer, yes I spend my days working in the barn or in the dusty fields, but when I get the chance to enjoy a night out I definatley do enjoy it!!! I love all aspects of it; dressing up, going for dinner or better yet packing a picnic, heading out to my destination of choice and soaking it all up with exuberance!! I love the opportunity to try and experience something new… why not I only have one life and I might as well take everything in, that I can, who knows where my next little adventure might take me!!!

    So by now you have probably figured out that I am a creative romantic type: and honestly I haven’t had the first romantic date: I am 28 years old ( 29 in March) and have never had a boyfriend… well that is until now:) yes I finally have a great guy!! the only trouble, he lives in British Columbia!! Carl and I have known each other for 7 yrs randomly meeting up with each other here and there and always having a great time together…. then in October we magically discovered that we had feeling for each other more then just friends.. Carl pretty much laid his heart out on the table for me and I agreed to give it a go!!! The challenging part he moved back to BC 4 days later and thoes 4 days didn’t allow us to have a first date… Communication got tough but we stuck to it and things are going strong, infact I am ready to be offically classifed as his “girlfriend” so I have mailed a box of none other then Rheo Thompsons Mint Smoothies to him for Valentines with a card asking him to be my valentine!!! Now all I really want is that first date experience!!!

    There is so much of Stratford that I want to show, share and experience with Carl, Lets start the day off with a light breakfast from Circle Foods, enjoy side by side massages from Kaladsia Day Spa and then head off to the Avon River where a picnic would be ready and waiting, a vibrant yet classy table cloth would caress the picnic table complete with linen napkins a wicker basket and a cookie bouque from none other then Stratfords very own Shari Langis of Shari Langis Creative Cakes and Specialties! Fresh water with lemons floating and of course a refreshing bottle of bubbly champagne!!! ( just so we cna pop the cork!!! The picnic would consist of fresh fruits ( cherries, straberries, etc.) with fine cheeses form the Milky Whey set up on an original Cheese board from Bradshaws, and accompanied by light healthy little artistic sandwiches!! YUMMMY!!!!!!!!! The picnic wouldn’t be complete without a fun energetic photo shoot with Dana Ruby of Moxie Pixs to capture the special moments!! Then a walk down the rivers trail to rent a paddle boat ( i’ve never been in a paddle boat but it is definately on my bucket list and who better to share a first with than my special someone?) upon arriving back from gluiding throught the river with the swans a short walk to Scooper’s would definately be in order for dessert!!! My personal favorite ever since I was a little girl Mint Chocolate Chip!!!! Then it would be time to stroll the city streets, take in the Chocolate Trail, the shops and the whole experience and atmosphere before heading to a fine dinning establishment like: The Parlour, Rundles, The church Resturant or so many other authentic resturants that only Stratford has to offer. Finally having statisfied our appetites beyond our wildest dreams the date would take us to the Stratford Festival for an outstanding performace on none other then the World Famous Stage. Enjoying the talent and performance sitting side by side hand in hand and taking it all in!!!! Now if you think my date is over at the end of this performace you are wrong!! I havne’t waited 28 years for my first date to end here… nope a moon lite stroll along the rivers edge listening to the crickets sing and making our way throught the historic downtown to the worlds most satisfying desserts this great country has to offer… Pavlova!!! Pavloa enjoyed on the patio of the Olde English Parlour would top my night off as we enjoy eachothers company, laughter, and memories together.

    Yup I’m a dreamer!!! But there is always that one dream that really does come true … and this one is hopefully mine!!!

  23. In July 2008 my husband and I came to Stratford for a romantic overnight. We saw “There Reigns Love” at The Tom Patterson, and had a wonderful dinner at Henry’s at The Queens, with coffee at Balzacs. The next day before we left we discovered many bookshops(Fanfare is our favorite), as well as a wonderful walk by the river. One year to the date of our overnight, my husband interviewed for a job in Stratford, and as the saying goes the rest is history. We have lived in Stratford since September 2009, and find it to be one of the most romantic places ever! We are still finding great places to go(Buzz Stop on York Street) wonderful shops, and honestly the best food around(and most of it’s local!)So I would say that the perfect day in Stratford would start with breakfast at Sirkel(who doesn’t like french toast stuffed with cheddar and apples?) Coffee from The Buzz Stop, a stroll along the river. A wonderful picnic on Tom Patterson Island(hopefully some cheese from The Milky Whey?) followed by a great afternoon performance of Much Ado About Nothing, another stroll along the river with dinner at Downie Street Burgers and a walk home along the river, to our backyard where the stars seem to shine the brightest!

  24. I was thrilled in 2009 when I was able to share the wonderful experience of Stratford with my at the time boyfriend. I had been attending the Festival since before we had met. At the time we were living in Ohio in the U.S. We made our road trip up together to the festival. He thought that the town was wonderful and could not wait to see his first Stratford show that evening. After a wonderful meal at the Sunroom we decided to take a walk along the Avon river before attending the performance of Cyrano with Colm Feore as Cyrano. The sun was beginning to set as we crossed over the foot bridge onto the Tom Patterson island under the cool shade of the trees my boyfriend knelt to his knees and proposed. Of course I said yes! and it truly was a wonderful evening not only because the performance of Cyrano was amazing, but because of my excitement to spend the rest of my life with my best friend and love of my life. We married the following year and spent our 7 day honeymoon in Stratford at the festival and enjoyed sharing our love for Shakespeare and the theatre. We are thankful that Stratford offers playon tickets to young audiences such as ourselves and makes us able to attend such wonderful theatre. Since our honey moon almost 2 years ago we have made it tradition to attend every August by saving up as much money as we can to attend.
    We consider each other to be inspiration to one another for we are both finishing college degrees my degree in artistic directing and his degree in M.F.A in puppetry. We collaborate frequently on productions and it is such a joy to have so many wonderful passions to share with one another.

    A dream romantic day in Stratford would be to begin the day with lattes in hand from Cafe Ten and a walk along the avon river to see the sunrise and watch the beautiful swans. Afterwards rent a boat to float along the avon and enjoy a picnic lunch. Following the boat ride we would walk the town and look at all the wonderful book shops that are around. After a walk about the town we would attend a performance of Much Ado About Nothing.

  25. It seems almost impossible to compete with some of these couples who have been together for so many years, but it’s worth a shot.

    My boyfriend and I met 5 years ago and have been inseparable ever since (emotionally of course, I’ve lived in New Brunswick, London and Copenhagen in that time). He is not a theatre guy, he’s a biomedical engineering student and I’m an English student. For a couple as young as us getting to Stratford for plays isn’t always easy or very affordable, but without fail he makes sure we go every summer. He does this because he knows it makes me happy as I am an avid actress and am now running the theatre company at the university I attend.

    My dream date with my man would be one where we have time to drive to stratford from our homes in K-W. One where he would pick me up flowers before we left, lilies specifically. One where we walk down by the river and narrator for the ducks and swans (we do this often). One where we have a beautiful yet laid back meal together enjoying each others company and forgetting the stress of a long distance relationship. We could make our way to the theatre and sit in those seats while we read the program and discuss what we might see. The date would make me feel the way I feel about him; an enormous amount of happiness. It would be sunny, even if it rained because my boyfriend is my bestfriend and the man of my dreams and sometimes it’s tough to say no to things just because we can’t afford to do them. I relish in the anticipation of living in the same city some day, and a day in Stratford would remind me how lucky I’ll be when it happens.

  26. My boyfriend and I had both our first accidental date and our first official date at the Stratford Festival. The spring we started dating, I was fortunate enough to score discounted tickets to a performance of Kiss Me Kate, but couldn’t find a friend who was free to go with me, so I posted on Facebook that I had an extra ticket. We had just met, but he responded to my post, which was my first clue that he liked me. My boyfriend is very tall and I remember feeling giddy with excitement when our knees accidentally bumped in the aisle. We had a lovely time and I decided that I had found someone worth pursuing, since he actually enjoyed a musical! About a month later, we started dating for real. I was finishing up my university degree and we agreed to wait until I was finished the stressful final weeks of school before we went on any real dates. When I finished school, Tim surprised me with tickets to see As You Like It. We are always on the lookout for deals to go back to Stratford and would love the chance to see another show now that we know and love each other. We won’t have to worry about bumping knees this time 🙂

  27. Stratford is one of my favourite places to go. I don’t get there often, but I did come there with a group of 17 friends on a girl’s day out for my 40th birthday to see my first-ever play at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Kiss Me Kate. We had a quick walking tour of Stratford, getting in as much as we could, but we could have spent all day just window shopping and having fun, but our time was short to get our picnic and my anticipated first play in. But we saw the highlights of downtown, and I know next time what I’d like to do and where I’d like to go if I ever get back there…. so I can tell you easily what my most romantic date would be in this beautiful, quaint, charming gem of a city!

    ….My husband and I would start our day off with a coffee at Balzac’s Coffee or maybe another Espresso coffee shop that are peppered throughout downtown, then we’d take a walking tour of this beautiful city where we’d admire the architecture starting at the stunning courthouse, continue walking through the perfectly manicured gardens behind the courthouse in the park there (which I’ve never walked through, I’ve only driven by them. but it looks so beautiful) Once we returned back to the main street, and before we got well underway with our walking tour and window-shopping, we’d HAVE to visit the most awesome toy store around – across the street from the courthouse to buy our 3 sons at home a souvenir. In that block, if I remember right, there’s a bookstore too, and my husband is a book store nut, so we’d have to take a peek in there. Once we got past that block, we’d weave our way through the downtown area, past tea shoppes, dress shops, cafes, restaurants, china stores, Scottish Shoppes, and curious, unique stores and we’d eventually end up at the Avon Theatre gift shop. I’d ask him if we could take stop in there so I could look for a hat to go to the theatre in, and I’d also see what scarves they have to choose from as well 😀 And of course – a trip to Stratford isn’t complete without a trip into the Rocky Road Chocolate store!! Fudge as far as the eye can see… And by now, it would definitely be lunch time, so we’d find our way to the York St. Kitchen, grab one of their sandwiches to go, as I hear they are very well known for their sandwiches and picnic selections, and we’d find a place to eat under one of the giant trees along the river, on a bench facing the water and watch the swans swim peacefully by and maybe a paddleboat as well. Or perhaps, we’d go over to the island and eat there? After our beautiful rest, it would be time to walk up the hill and through the gardens in front of the Festival Theatre and take a snapshot or two of each other. And maybe we’d ask a fellow theatre-goer to kindly take our picture as a couple with the splendid backdrop of beautiful flowers, or the theatre behind us? We’d find our way inside the theatre and find our seats in anticipation of the wonderful upcoming performance. Looking around the inside of the theatre, it’s exquisite, and I don’t think there’s a bad seat in the place. At intermission, we’d partake in a glass of wine and go visit the statue of Mr. Shakespeare, admiring the beautiful gardens near the statue. Time to go back in and enjoy the rest of the play!…. Divine!!… Now it’s time for dinner. Where’s my husband going to treat me? Henry’s at the Queen’s? Or the Annex Room for a martini with our dinner? Wherever he chose, it would be heavenly, as this would be the most ultimate day I could imagine spending with my man. We’ll be married for 18 years this September, and being that we haven’t done much as a couple since our kids have come along, we would both soak in every minute of this most beautiful day together in a place that’s second-to-none, our beloved Stratford….

  28. I have been with My Dearest for just over 6 months, and it feels like we’ve known each other for a lifetime. He used to work at the Stratford Festival when he was younger and has told me many stories. I have only been Once and fell in love with Shakespeare all over again. My dream date in Stratford would be a scavenger hunt through out the city and its parks, helping each other find clues to the whereabouts of the next and so on. The clues would lead to a magical secluded dinner for two with in the park by candle light. Followed by a stroll along the Avon River at sunset and through the Dolan Natural Area. What could be the best way to end a romantic adventure? Catching a show at the Spectacular Festival Theatre. My boyfriend and I… well he likes to call me his Future Fiance xD love the out doors and we love the Theatre. Both being actors, we can share the struggle and exhausting life of a Thespian and also enjoy the wonders and thrill of a production on stage. This will be our first Valentines Day together, and my first Feb 14th with a man by my side who loves me 🙂 I hope/dream it will be as magical as it can be. ❤ Happy Valentines Day!! ❤

  29. We come every year with the anticipation of the excitement of seeing a great production. We arrive early and spend our time walking hand in hand around the parks and in town. Some years if we have enough time we usually bring our GPS and do some geocaching while we are in town. This is where the romantic part comes into play, we are always able to find a park bench to take a rest on and take the chance to enjoy our company together. We just love being able to spend the time together.

  30. I have a real sweet tooth and enjoy visiting Stratford for the candy shops as much as for the plays and the fine dining! I enjoy dropping by Rheo Thompson chocolate shop for mints; Chocolate Barr’s for vanilla caramels; and visiting the gourmet shops in the centre of town. A couple of years ago, I went there for the day on a romantic date — just to spend the day, not to see any plays. It was the kind of sunny, late spring day that inspires you to plan an escape from the city to experience a lovely small-town atmosphere, far from the insanity of Toronto. When we arrived, we were pleased to see the trees and flowers in full bloom; everything was green and perfect, as though we had placed a cosmic order and it was filled to perfection just for us! We enjoyed a fabulous gourmet lunch at Rundles, then strolled along the Avon River, watching the gorgeous swans glide close to its banks. After visiting Gallery Stratford, we headed back to the downtown core to explore the shops on Ontario Street.

    Then we went for coffee at my favourite spot, Balzac’s, the original location I had fallen in love with many years earlier while on a week-end trip with my mother. Late in the afternoon, we drove back to Toronto, perfectly relaxed and sated, vowing to stay the week-end and catch a few plays the next time.

    Stratford is a tiny, perfect, elegant mecca for those seeking culture or simply a relaxing day; it is one of the jewels we are most fortunate to have available to us in southern Ontario.

  31. A few years ago my husband and I went through some challenging financial issues, as I had been off work for some time due to an accident. We found that Stratford was a wonderful place to escape to which also complemented our budget.

    All of the Stratford theatres have such great seating, that you really enjoy the show even from the back seats; we’d pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it in the park down by the water watching the swans; we discovered many of the B&B’s in town would let us bring our dog with us to stay overnight; even just roaming through the gardens, seeing the art in the park show, admiring the old houses and wandering through the shops was a great way to spend the day.

    Now we’re in a much better financial position, so we try to budget in at least one theatre show a year. The production quality is so amazing, we haven’t seen a show yet that we didn’t like. (And it beats tackling the Toronto traffic).

    Thanks Stratford!

  32. I realized that I had found the love of my life when we shared dessert and more importantly a great discussion about Hamlet on the wee island accross from the Festival Theater. I really didn’t think a man exister who was as interested in theater and literature as I was. It was fitting then that after our 2010 May long weekend afternoon wedding, we drove straight to Stratford for our honeymoon.

    We decided to stay in our wedding clothes and rolled into town at about 10pm. Our beautiful coach house B&B had a basket of champaign, the best chocolate we had ever had from the Thompson company in town, cheese and other goodies places there by our host on behalf of our parents.

    Realizing that we were quite hungry, we ventured out (still dredding as Bride and Groom – highly recommended by the way – who WANTS to get out of her wedding dress?!) to find a late dinner. It was a warm night and we walked about town looking for a place that was just right for our mood. We found a lovely Tapas bar near the Avon, all the while being congragulated, cheered for and sometimes questioned by passers by (a popular inquiry was ‘hey did you guys just get married?’).

    When we went into the nicely quiet Tapas place, the hostess went into the back and returned with a complimentary bottle of champaign. We felt so special and so spoiled by the whole town.

    We saw Kiss me Kate and had a long paddle along the river (something I had never done and also HIGHLY recommend) before our beautiful honeymoon weekend was over.

    When we come back to Stratford, we pass our honeymoon B&B on the way into town. I hope it is always there to remind us of our first days as husband and wife.

    Thank you Stratford. You will always be part of my happily ever after.

  33. I’d never been much for romantic overtures, but when I met my current girlfriend, I felt with certainty that anything good in life must be shared with her. Imagine finding out she was a costume designer by trade and had never been to Stratford! That had to change, quick. After only seeing her for a few weeks I found a lovely place to stay and booked it, so we’d have it if I could bide a little more time and find the right way to ask.

    After a month passed (and I showed her pictures of the Festival), we happily bought train tickets and were off. Our trip was even better than I’d imagined. She loved the energy and craftsmanship of the costumes and the easy enthusiasm we shared made us feel free and happy with each other. I’ll never forget it, especially if we can get to Stratford for our honeymoon one day, as we now hope.

  34. A walk along the river in Stratford, dinner and Much Ado sounds pretty much like my perfect date. I just need someone to share it!

  35. My husband is a musician and heart and I have always been theatrical. We have only been together at the Stratford theatre for a concert, but I have seen several plays in the past. Just recently after enjoying a trip to the Orchestra he asked me if I had enjoyed the show, which I had, but I added that we should go to a play sometime soon. I think it’s the only time in our 5 years together he’s admitted that he has never seen a play outside of high school productions. He has always implied that he disliked Shakespeare but I now know it’s because he’s only ever read it.

    My husband works away from home and every weekend is special to us, my ideal Stratford date is experiencing a fantastic interpretation of Much ado and sitting in a cafe for hours after listening to my Husband’s interpretation of it. I have all confidence that he would enjoy it, and it would only spawn a desire to see more.

  36. My husband and I fell in love with Stratford when we stopped for a night, at my mom’s insistance, on our way to Toronto for our honeymoon. Our 24 hours there was the best part of our entire trip, and we have been back every year for our anniversary (though the date of our trip always corresponds more to when we can fit the plays we want to see as opposed to the actual date). When I met my husband, I loved live theater and he liked movies. That first trip to Stratford changed his opinion, and not only does he love live theater, Shakespeare’s plays have become his absolute favorite.

    Over the years we have been to Stratford for as little as a day (with a three hour drive on either of end of it) or as much as a long weekend, depending on work schedules, graduate school, and childcare, but we have always managed. This summer will be our ten year anniversary, and we’re very excited to make our annual trip.

    Our dream date would incorporate things that we do every year with things that we’ve always wanted to do, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet:

    We’d start the day exploring the farmer’s market, and buy lunch there which we would take to the river for a picnic. After lunch we’d rent a paddle boat and spend an hour pedaling around the river, all the way to the Festival theater and back. From there we would go to Davis Canadian Arts, and pick out a new piece for our collection (rather than exchanging gifts for our anniversary we pick out a new piece of art together, so the walls in our house remind us of previous trips to Stratford). After that my husband would want time to relax, so he’d go back to the bed and breakfast and I’d wander town, making sure to get to Distinctly Tea, for my annual supply of rooibos and The Family Company for little gifts for our boys. We’d have dinner at Fellini’s, which has been our favorite restaurant since our very first trip, and then go to the theater. We’d end the night with a walk along the river and discussion about the play we had just seen.

  37. My dream date in Stratford would be an all day event. We would begin shopping at the little shops eating cheese, chocolate, and drinking coffees as we browse through the windows and enjoy the comforts of the small town of Stratford. For lunch we would enjoy a picnic in the Shakespearean Gardens followed by a canoe ride along the river.

    In the late afternoon I would take my fiancee to see his first ever Stratford play! In the evening we would wine and dine at a lovely local restaurant. We would end the evening lounging in a bath at a local bed and breakfast.

  38. I have always enjoyed watching a matinee in the the summer. We would explore the shops and have a bite to eat before we attended a performance.
    One year , we had lunch at the Church restaurant.The food was fabulous!

  39. My love and I share a love like no other. We write music together. We are a perfect match, I write the words and he writes the music, and together our voices blend in perfect harmony. Our voices echo the song in our hearts

  40. Hello,

    I have been in love with Stratford for the past 6 years, since my mom first brought me to the festival for a weekend.. This has become a tradition, and weekends have evolved into weeks as neither one of us ever wants to leave Stratford. I adore the theatre, and am quite involved in the performing arts myself, and nowhere feels more like home to me than Stratford.

    I am so happy to report that in just 13 days my love (Tom) and I will be celebrating our first anniversary since we started seeing each other. He is a wonderful guy with a heart of gold and one of those timeless personalities that draws in everyone. We met in Ottawa, which is both of our home towns. However, during the school year he is in Kingston at Queens University, and I am in Toronto at Seneca College. We are very fortunate that we get to see each other as often as we do (about every two weekends), but it is still hard whenever it is time to say goodbye. Tom recently brought on the most magnificent gift for our exciting month of February which includes his birthday, Valentine’s Day and our one year anniversary… He is moving here for a 16 month period to do an internship, and we will get to stay together.. That is a hard present to top.

    I have been brainstorming of what I could possibly offer him that shows him nearly as much love as his gesture did for me. The thing I thought of was to bring him to Stratford, promise him a trip during the summer… The only problem is that it is quite hard as a full time student who is only working part time to pay for such an endeavour. Although my plan is still to put some money aside every month so that I can bring him to the city & Festival, it would be so wonderful if this “Win A Stratford Date!” contest were to work in our favour… I would certainly appreciate saving a bit of money and being able to eat more than boxed macaroni for the next few months.

    Although I have had the pleasure of spending time in Stratford, Tom has never been.. But the city is just calling his name. He loves small cities that offer lots of culture, he loves music, he loves walking, he loves good restaurants, and he really enjoys theatre. I would be overjoyed to be able to offer him this date, he deserves every second of it, for making every second of my life so wonderful.

    Do you know that beautiful ballad from The King and I, “Hello Young Lovers?”. That song was my audition piece for post secondary schools in musical theatre, times have changed and my career path is no longer the same, but my passion is as strong as ever, and I still feel so attached to that song. It begins “When I think of Tom I think about a night when the earth smelled of summer, and the sky was streaked with white, and the tall mist of england was sitting on a hill. I remember this, and I always will.”… These phrases have meant a deal to me for years, as I knew that that picture is what I always wanted. Well, now I have Tom, and if I am lucky enough to get to go to Stratford with him, we will be able to have that memory with us for the rest of our lives.

    Now, I apologize for the absurd length of this entry, I realize that you have many to read through. But I know our story brightens my day, so maybe it will do the same for someone else.

    Finally, for the perfect date in Stratford…

    The perfect date day in Stratford would begin with a walk along the Avon in the early morning when there aren’t many people there, and there is still mist lingering over the water. We would walk across the white bridge that leads to the mini island with all the beautiful trees and benches, and we would have a simple breakfast there, while reading all of the plaques on the benches. After eating we would stop and look around at the “Art in the Park” (Tom would want to get me all of the necklaces, and I would have to insist that he needn’t get me anything). Then we would walk to the theatre store and I would show Tom the whole store and tell him that I wish I could take it all home with me… To which I am sure he would laugh and tell me we haven’t won the million yet! But, as always, I would leave with at least 3 plays in hand, and a t-shirt for both myself and Tom… Oh! And one of the comical erasers “Out, Damned Spot! Out, I Say!”. A walk downtown to window-shop at some of the great boutiques would follow.. And we would obviously need to stop at the corner (I wish I remembered the street names, Ontario and something!) where it is all cobble stone side walk and there is a hot dog vendor, right by the restaurant “Down the Street”, and their tends to be musicians playing for fun.. What is more romantic than music outdoors? I couldn’t think of a thing. A picnic by the water would serve as lunch before I would lead him on the walk I did every morning and afternoon when I attended the Stratford Shakespeare Camp. In the evening we would go to dinner at Rene’s Bistro (if you haven’t been you absolutely must!) before attending a show of his choice, dressed in our best of course! Then after the show I would surprise him with a horse-drawn carriage ride which would remind him of one of the first dates we ever had, in Kingston over the summer. While taking a scenic tour of stratford in the most old-fashioned and romantic of ways, I would sing for him.. All of his favourites (Song Bird, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, etc.) as well as one standard I have been learning to sing for him “Time After Time”.. The carriage would drop us off outside our bed and breakfast, and we would settle down and dream about the wonderful day we had, and all the years of wonderful days we have left in front of us..

    And that… that would be perfect.

    I wish the best for whoever is blessed enough to get this opportunity, make it count! Every minute we spend with the ones we love is a minute that becomes unforgettable.

  41. I have not actually been to the Stratford festival with my husband but i have been with freinds. i could think of nothing more romantic than having a apicnic lunch in th park and then enjoying a performance of one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. My husband and I were high school sweathearts that fell in love and got married after graduating college. We are going to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary this year and our the proud parents of 2 beautiful children.
    A trip like this would be a great way to share our love with a beautiful city and show.

  42. Stratford and the Festival have been a family affair for us. Our son came years ago with his high school literature class. He convinced us to bring him and his younger sister shortly after he started in college. Since then, we have almost every year with family members. In 2004 everyone (sons, daughters in law, daughter) joined us for our thirtieth anniversary in Stratford. We celebrated by dining at Keystone Alley and attended several plays. This year my wife graduates from seminary (two of them to be accurate) in early May. I would like to honor this accomplishment by treating her to a few days in our favorite city in North America, doing what we have come to love.

  43. Although I have been happily married for 9 years, my Dream Stratford Date would be with my best friend Helen. 30 years my senior, Helen has known me my entire adult life. She has been a constant source of Humour, Advise, Support and Friendship. Helen introduced me to Stratford a few years ago and in doing so re-kindled a love of theatre and musicals I had forgotten with married life and three small children. She has been very kind to treat me to a few days in Stratford (shows, lunch, shopping) and at a time in my life where my FULL time job is nurturing a young family…these few moments of self indulgence have been priceless. Thus, my dream would be to treat her to a day. Perhaps one of the various theatre tours, followed by a lovely lunch at The Annex Room and of course a fabulous theatre production.
    Thank you,

  44. My husband does not share my passion for theatre but what I find romantic is his willingness to attend productions with our two young children. He sees the importance of developing our children’s love of the arts even though he has not yet achieved this himself. We spent a lovely summer day in the park with our six and eight year olds before going to see Camelot. Our kids had been in Playmakers theatre camp doing King Arthur earlier in the summer and we thought they would love this production. We were amazed at the reactions of our kids to the show. They were enchanted. My six year old daughter fell in love with King Arthur and said “Mommy I want to marry him”. My eight year old son was full of questions and intrigued by the mechanics of stage combat. After the show we went back to Upper Queens park and had an ice cream before heading to Boomers for a burger and fries. Just spending a magical day being transported to another time and place with my family and developing an appreciation for theatre in my children is romantic.

  45. We love walking around the river! And walking through all the parks and the downtown. We walk a lot in Stratford! I am always looking forward for a chance to wander around Stratford with my husband and see everything. We don’t get to go that often but I think about it all the time! We love having a picnic and bringing a soccer ball, flying a kite and seeing the swans. And it is always a delight to see buskers! It’s those sorts of fun and pretty things that happen by chance that make our time together fun at Stratford. I think it’s because there is such a lively theatre there — that’s why it has this excitement in the air for us — the creativity and fun catches me every time. Then to top it off I have to go to the theatre store and look at all the books – I still read my ‘A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum’ script and laugh.

  46. My husband and I have been coming to Stratford since before we were married–about 2 decades! Our favourite thing has always been to stroll Queen street and visit some of the quaint stores, including Smuckers jams and preserves, Maple Leaf Fudge and Candy Safari. The main street looks so beautiful with all the hanging baskets in the warmer months!

    We usually stay in a bed and breakfast, such as the Olde Angel Inn. It has always been a very pleasant stay. For lunch, we often picnic in the giant gazebo by the lake and watch the swans, ducks and geese bob up and down on the waves. Or we take a tour of one of the many wineries, such as Inniskillin Wines, as well as sampling their vintages.

    During each stay we take in two different Stratford Festival plays such as Major Barbara, The Doctor’s Dilemma, Saint Joan and more! Such enjoyable times. Years later, we often talk about the live theater we saw at Stratford.

    For dinner, we like an intimate venue such as the Charles Inn. Candlelight dinner and a chance for private discussion are never underrated. My husband has surprised me with a single red rose for the local florist on each occasion. It really is a romantic time.

    My husband and I would love to see Much Ado About Nothing in May! Hard to believe that when we started out going to Stratford together it was just the two of us–and now we have 5 children who will also grow to love Stratford!

  47. My husband and I have been married for 6 years now and our unofficial-first-date was a Stratford one. For us, Stratford was the start of something wonderful.

    Throuhgouth high school, we both sang in a community choir that was touring schools one June. After singing at a Stratford school, we had some time to get lunch and look around. There was this moment, just outside downtown, when a bunch of other choristers were across the intersection. If we ran and crossed the street, we would have had lunch with everyone else. I kind of hesitated so we missed the crowd and ended up on our own. I felt like I had completely forced him to spend time with me (but I had a crush on him and I was 17, what’s a girl to do?). We had a great time–walked through all of downtown, got burgers at Boomers and ate on one the chess boards by the river. It was perfect. The only small cloud hanging over the time was that I had manipulated it.

    Or had I?

    We didn’t start dating right then. On the bus home, he told me he never wanted to date anyone other than the girl who had recently dumped him. I figured it was a clear sign to give up on him. But, a few years later, we saw each other again — both single and both living with the question of ‘what if we had dated?” So, we started dating. As we talked about our past, our time in Stratford came up. I was just about to admit to how I manipulated the situation so we could be alone, when Bryant starts telling me how he felt bad for doing the same. Turns out, we both wanted to spend the time together. And we both remember that lunch time date-that-wasn’t-really-a-date as one of the best times we had in high school.

    That was over 12 years ago now — but we still go to Stratford and love the shows, always have a Boomers’ hotdog, explore the garlic festival or get yummy cheese from Montforte dairy. Our first son usually gets a treat from the toy store and we always get to the river to make sure the swans are still white (which was always my parent’s excuse for an afternoon in Stratford).

    Stratford is one of our favourite go-tos. I love reading all these stories and hearing other people’s way of experiencing the magic of the town!

  48. I love Stratford for so many reasons. I am originally from Winnipeg, and coming to Kitchener-Waterloo for grad school was made just a little easier because I knew that Stratford and its Shakespeare Festival were just a short drive away.
    But I should clarify: I am not writing this to win two tickets for myself, but rather for my parents. They love the Festival perhaps even more than I do, and it has played an important role in their relationship over the years. They always jokingly call the Festival my mother’s twin, since they are the same age 🙂
    Some of their Shakespeare memories: One of the first trips my parents took as newlyweds was to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. They had tickets to see 4 shows, and they were so excited. They had made the (long) car trip from the prairies and were ready for a romantic and theatre-filled vacation. And then my mother got food poisoning. So, my dad sat by the beside in the hotel, and managed to nurse her back to (enough) health that they were able to go to the theatre in the evening (without dinner.)
    To celebrate my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary, my father surprised my mother with a trip to Stratford, which was the first trip that they had taken together since having children. (He planned a very elaborate reveal of this trip, with a scavenger hunt and a riddle at the end. My sister and I were both in on it and it almost killed us that she took so long to figure it out. 😉 They stayed at a Bed & Breakfast in New Hamburg, and loved every minute of their (food-poisoningless) vacation.
    A few years later, they celebrated their anniversary again, but this time, they took me and my sister along, which was our first exposure to the Festival, the beginning of a whole other love affair, you could say.
    Since I moved here with my husband 3 years ago, my parents have visited regularly, and they have always taken us to the Festival. As a grad student, budgets are pretty tight, and I have not been able to reciprocate.
    My parents are an incredible example to me in terms of a loving relationship that has stood the test of time, and I would love to be able to give them the gift of (very good) tickets to see Much Ado about Nothing, one of their favourite plays.
    Happy Valentine’s Day! xo.
    Stratford highlights: York Street Kitchen, strolling along the Avon, Sputnik lattes… I could go on and on. 🙂

  49. My romantic Stratford story:

    Last fall, my partner surprised me for our anniversary with tickets to Twelfth Night; he knew it’s one of my very favourite Shakespeare plays. We drove out to Stratford, and had some amazing Indian food for dinner. So good, in fact, that we didn’t notice time slipping by, and had to hurry to get to the theatre on time. Since we were cutting it close, the nearby parking spaces were all taken, so we had to park a bit further away. I was so focused on getting to our seats in time that I wasn’t paying attention (and it was dark, too) and I stepped out of the car straight into a giant mudpuddle. The only thing we had in our car to dry off my foot was a reusable grocery bag, so we used that as best we could to clean my foot and my shoe. But we still had to get to the play on time, so we hurried off–across the field, not on the sidewalk, since it was shorter–which turned out to be very difficult, since we were both laughing so hard we could barely walk straight, and I discovered it’s very hard to walk in heels when one foot is slipping and sliding in muddy water inside the shoe. When we got to the theatre there was still people in the lobby, so I took the time to dry my shoe under a blowdryer in the washroom, and then we got in to see the show just in time.

    Which was, of course, amazing. I’ve seen Twelfth Night performed several times now, as well as acting in it (as a kid), and this was hands down the best yet. The drive home after the show was full of much more laughing at my muddy shoe and our mad scramble across that field, and singing along to the cd of the show we bought.

  50. I took my future wife to Stratford for her first live Shakespeare. 1984’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Front row!

    Next, we started our honeymoon with a weekend in Stratford back in 1986. Two shows, Macbeth (not too romantic I know), and The Winter’s Tale.

    Dinner at The Church, stroll along the Avon, can’t be beat for a romantic getaway anytime.

    • Those special moments always perfect at Stratford Festival in Canada… We have had lightning storms at Ashland Oregon, were rained out in England at the theatre in the round and challenged by the climb of the Spanish steps for Shakespeare at the Borghese gardens in Rome. Stratford Festival, Canada has always been a very special place in our hearts 😉

  51. We were on our honeymoon when I saw the Stratford sign. I had not been there since the 70’s so I suggested that we stop there. We stayed at the Queen’s Inn. They gave us a special room for newlyweds. It was beautiful!! At that time they served breakfast on the main floor. The breakfast was very good and we had a table by the window. It was early October and it snowed over night but the snow was gone by the time we left the Queen’s Inn for a stroll to and along the river. We saw the play, “Taming of the Shrew” which I chose. We got a lot of kidding about my choice of plays. We ate lunch at an Irish pub and stopped at a family owned hand crafted jewelry store where my husband purchased some beautiful earrings (they had pink pearls and my wedding band has pink gold). This store was across from The church restaurant where we had dinner at.

    We have went back to Stratford a couple times since then to celebrate our anniversary, see a play, and eat at the Irish pub and The Church restaurant. We love Stratford!!!

  52. My husband and I have been going to Stratford annually (sometimes even a couple of times a year!) for several seasons now. During the 2010 season, we were lucky enough to get tickets to see Dangerous Liaisons and The Tempest. I believe both of the performances were matinees, so we traveled down to Stratford in the morning, wandered along Ontario Street and hit our favourite shops along the way. The book stores are fantastic and we always go into Bradshaws to buy a couple of jars of Moss Berry Farm Jam (we also have a dog named Bradshaw, so it’s an ongoing joke that its “his” store)! It was unseasonably cold, but we still had a nice time and enjoyed Dangerous Liaisons immensely. That evening, it grew colder and was threatening rain, so we decided to try to catch a movie. However, while waiting in line outside the movie theatre it started bucketing rain. We got completely soaked and decided to skip the movie and just grab something to eat. We were so cold from the rain that the idea of sitting in a restaurant was completely out of the question. So, we ordered a pizza, took it back to our B&B and ate in our room while we tried to warm ourselves back up. The rain storm continued that night and into the next day, when the winds were so strong that tree branches were falling and I was afraid our car would not survive the trip in one piece! Anyway, we avoided the tempest outside by watching an amazing performance of The Tempest with Christopher Plummer. It was a trip we’ll never forget!

  53. Sorry I posted this to Twitter at 11:20 am – I did not know to scroll all the way down to reply 😉 Here is my story @stratfest front row & center w my boyfriend, today husband for a Midsummer Night’s Dream summer of ’84 – my #romantic #Stratford #moment

  54. Pamela Perreault! Thank you so much for sharing your romantic story with me. It was incredibly moving. You’re our grand prize winner- congratulations. You and your husband have won two A+ tickets to Much Ado About Nothing and a picnic for two!

    BUT because I’m feeling the love and because there were so many wonderful shared with us I have added a few runner-ups! Congrats to Fiona Oliver, Tara Haves, Elizabeth Shaffer, Susan Balaz, Kate, Victoria, Jennifer and Robyn Nazarewicz! You’ve all won a pair of tickets to Much Ado About Nothing as well!

    Please contact and let us know which date in May you’d like to see Much Ado About Nothing (excluding May 28) and your patron ID number to claim your prize!

    Happy Valentine’s Day!


    P.S.- We have a special promotion that runs until 11:59 p.m. tonight! Buy one ticket for yourself and we’ll pick up the tab for your date

    • Hello!

      Thank you so much! We are thrilled to get to go see the show. What is my patron ID number? Thank you!

      Happy Valentine’s Day to you as well 🙂

      • Hi, Fiona. Sign into your Stratford Festival account on our website, then once you sign in click on My Account and it will show up under “Account #:”! Congrats!

    • Hi Lisa,

      Thank you again for the tickets! I sent an email on Wednesday with my information and haven’t heard back, so I wanted to make sure it made it to you.


  55. My (now) girlfriend and I went to see titus andronicus. We loved the play it was amazing! Before the play we walked around the river and shared our first kiss on the island infront of the festival. We had an amazing time and I will never forget our trip to the festival with your wonderful gardens.

  56. I can’t believe it!!! Thank You!!! I am submitting my holidays for my work, and will email the address when the day I’m hoping for gets approved. I’ll call as soon as I find out!!!! YES, I still want to redeem my tix, but just have to make sure I can get that day off first.

    THANK YOU!!!!
    Tara Haves

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