Visiting the Stratford Festival in Canada

Enjoying World-Class Theatre and Local Charm

A view of the Avon river in Stratford, Ontario
Ken Lund / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The Stratford Festival is a repertory theater festival, permanently located in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. It produces the best works of theater in the classical and contemporary repertoire, with special emphasis on the works of William Shakespeare.

Many famous actors have appeared in Stratford Festival productions, such as Alec Guinness (he spoke the first words back in 1953), William Shatner, Peter Ustinov, Christopher Walken and William Petersen of CSI fame.

When and Where Is the Stratford Festival?

The Stratford Festival runs each year from April to November in the town of Stratford in Ontario, Canada. Stratford is about a 2 hr drive from Toronto, 3 hrs from Buffalo and 3½ hr from Detroit.

Performances are at four separate theaters: Festival Theatre, Avon, Tom Patterson and the Studio Theatre.

Leave the car at home and take the Stratford Direct Bus, which leaves Toronto every day at 10 am and returns at 5 pm for under $20 each way. 

What's Special About the Stratford Festival?

The Stratford Festival is one of the biggest Shakespeare theater festivals in the world and attracts major stars, both as performers and audience members.

Many stars attending the Toronto International Film Festival have been known to sneak away from the big city to take in the Stratford Festival. The quality of the productions and reputation of the festival is world-class.

Tickets for the Stratford Festival

Tickets for the Stratford Festival range from CAD$25 to more than $100 each. Prices depend on time, production and ticket-buyer's age. Stratford Festival members receive a discount and have preferential, advanced ticket status.

Those purchasing tickets online must create an account.

Ways to Save

  • Discounts are available when purchasing online
  • Two hours before certain performances, discounted rush tickets may become available in person and by phone.
  • Discounts are available to students, seniors, families, and other age groups.

Stratford, the Town

With the success of the Stratford Festival, Stratford, Ontario, has a quaint, cultural feel with dozens of cute bistros, galleries, shops, and gardens. The town sits prettily alongside the Avon River. Be sure to allow time to wander the town.

Where to Stay and Dine

Stratford is a small town where B&Bs and independent inns are the norm, not chain hotels.

Stratford has a huge offering of restaurants, pubs and bistros to satisfy theatre-goers. Many of these eateries focus on local or organic ingredients. Don't miss Balzac's for coffee. The Church is a favorite for fine dining and more casual dining at the adjoining Belfry in a unique setting. Down the Street Bar and Restaurant is a great choice for a tasty bite and glass of wine in a hip environment.

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