by Cynthia Dale
I adore Stratford. It’s where I live, work, play and raise my family. It’s the city in the middle of the cornfield – far enough away from Toronto to enjoy a simpler lifestyle, but close enough to make a quick trip to the big city!
Stratford is brimming with great restaurants, artists, culture and beauty. Here are a few of my favourite places in town.
When it comes to coffee, Revel Café is my go-to stop. It’s a wonderful place to grab a quick drink to go or to sit and catch up with a good friend. It’s hard to go wrong ordering anything off their menu, and I do it all: French Press, Americano, Latté, it’s all good – especially the scones. They’re to die for. In addition, the owners have maintained the integrity and the heritage of the space; it’s beautiful.
There’s a lot of great shopping here in Stratford. I have friends who come here specifically to do their Christmas shopping. There are beautiful shops like Nectar and Small Mart – and when I’m looking for housewares, I always head to Bradshaws. They have the most phenomenal hand-crafted bowls – each made in Canada from one solid piece of wood – that are exquisite, different and functional, as well as beautiful pieces of art in their own right. I also love the wonderful clocks: different spoons, instruments and pieces of hardware ticking away make for a unique gift to give to a wonderful, one-of-a-kind human being.
When I’m looking for clothes, the city is my playground: I go everywhere and anywhere. I know that I’ll always be able to find something original and that I’ll also always be able to find my basic white t-shirt and jeans. I’ve bought fabulous coats at the antique market and beautiful pieces at Danna Nicole and Resonance. It’s all about getting out there and exploring.
Stratford delivers on flavour, and there’s no limit to the delicious nosh in town. I go out for dinner with my family once a week and we’ve tried just about all of the restaurants around town. A few of our favourites are Down the Street, Foster’s, The Annex, York Street Kitchen, Mrs. Hanh’s Kitchen and Pazzo’s. If you find me at Pazzo’s, you can guarantee that I’ll be enjoying the mushroom crostini and the arugula salad – it’s a meal unto itself.
I love to unwind by taking a walk around the Avon River – it’s peaceful, beautiful and a great way to exercise and relax. If you see me making the trek around the Avon, I’ll likely have my earphones in and be learning music and lyrics at the same time. Work is play!
During the summer months I always look forward to the HMS Razzamajazz – I love, love, love it! On Tuesday and Friday nights from June through August, there’s nothing better than heading down to the river to enjoy a bit of jazz as the boat gently drifts. Learning or listening to music by the river – it’s a perfect way to end the day.
Behind the old Rotary Complex near the Stratford Fairgrounds there’s a baseball diamond. There, at the far end of the park, is my very favourite place to do a morning meditation while running my dog.
So there you have it: the inside scoop on Stratford. I can’t wait to see you around town this season – and at my concert series, Outside Looking In.
Enjoy your visit!