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Stratford is a city on the Avon River in Perth Countymarker in Southern Ontariomarker, Canadamarker with a population of 30,461, according to the 2006 census.

When the area was first settled in 1832, the townsite and the river were named after Stratford-upon-Avonmarker, Englandmarker, of Shakespearean fame. It is the seat of Perth Countymarker. Stratford was incorporated as a town in 1859 and as a city in 1886. The first mayor was John Corry Wilson Daly and the current mayor is Dan Mathieson. The swan has become a symbol of the city. Each year twenty-four white swans and two black swans are released into the Avon River.

History

The town was originally a railway junction. Furniture manufacturing became an important part of the local economy by the twentieth century. A 1933 strike by furniture workers in Stratford, led by the Communist Workers' Unity League, marks the last time the army was deployed to break a strike in Canada.

The city's economy took a major turn when the Shakespearean Stratford Festival started in 1953. The annual festival now brings hundreds of thousands of theatre goers and tourists to the area. Celebrities such as Alec Guinness, Christopher Plummer, Peter Ustinov, Dame Maggie Smith, and William Shatner have performed at the festival. The world-renowned festival takes place in four theatres throughout the city; the Festival Theatre, the Avon Theatre, Tom Patterson Theatre and the Studio Theatre.

Notable past and present residents

A number of famous Canadians make their home in Stratford including CBC news anchor Peter Mansbridge and his wife Cynthia Dale, as well as actor Colm Feore Antrina Johansen, Opera singer James Westman and former NHL hockey player Tim Taylor.

Several celebrities hail from Stratford, most notably the singers Loreena McKennitt, and Richard Manuel, Justin Bieber and Abby Haulotte. Also actor Shawn Roberts. Canadian news anchors Lloyd Robertson and Tony Parsons both got their start in broadcasting at local radio station CJCS, Robertson in 1952 and Parsons in 1957. Thomas Edison briefly worked as a telegraph operator for the Grand Trunk Railway at Stratford's railway station and the assistant architect of the United States Capitolmarker, Michael G. Turnbull, was born in Stratford and lived there until the age of eleven, when his family emigrated to the United Statesmarker.

Stratford is often credited as the home of hockey superstar Howie Morenz, who was actually from nearby Mitchellmarker. The northern block of Nile Street, between Lakeside Drive and Water Street (on which the Allman Arena is situated) was renamed to Morenz Drive in his honour. William D. Connor, Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsinmarker from 1907 - 1909, grandfather of former Congressman and Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird, and great-grandfather of Jessica Laird Doyle, wife of Governor James Doyle of Wisconsinmarker, was born near Stratford on a farm.

Dr. Norman Bethune made Stratford his temporary home in the early part of 1917. He worked as a physician at the home/office on Albert Street that was occupied by Dr. Lorne Robertson in the 1930's (now demolished). The two cast iron dogs from this residence now stand guard outside the entrance to Queen's Park at the north end of Parkview Drive. His sister Janet and her husband Thomas Stiles were host to Norman and his new wife Frances in 1924, when they stayed at Janet's home (at 335 Cobourg Street) for several months.

Transportation

Historically, the city was a railway junction. Today, Canadian National Railways, and the Goderich-Exeter Railway provide freight links and VIA Rail Canada is the passenger carrier. While not on the Ontario freeway system, it is at the junctions of Highways 7, 8, and former 19 (Now Perth Road 119) and is connected to Highway 401 by expressways from Kitchenermarker. Greyhound Canada provides daily service between London, Ontariomarker and Kitchener. Cherrey Bus Lines provides bus service from Stratford to Winghammarker. Within the city, Stratford Transit provides the local bus service. The Stratford Municipal Airportmarker(CNM4) is located just north of the city.

Sports and Recreation

Stratford is home of the very successful OHA Midwestern Junior B hockey team, the Stratford Cullitons. The Cullitons have produced notable NHL players such as Ed Olczyk, Craig Hartsburg, Garth Snow, Rob Blake, Chris Pronger, Nelson Emerson, Tim Taylor, Greg de Vries, Jeff Halpern, Rem Murray and Boyd Devereaux and won several Sutherland Cup championships. Another hockey organization within the city is the Stratford Minor Hockey Association, which includes houseleague and travel teams for younger players. These teams include the Stratford Warriors for boys, and the Stratford Aces for girls. Stratford also has an Intercounty Baseball League Team called the Stratford Nationals, and a soccer team in the Kitchener and District Soccer League. Also a very successful Men's Rugby union Team, the Black Swans. The local high schools fare well in regional and provincial levels of sports.

House League sports are also available in the Stratford area. There is the Stratford Rotary Hockey League, Hoops For Fun Basketball, Stratford Minor Baseball, and the Stratford Soccer House League.

Stratford is also set to host Tim Horton's Hockey Day in Canada on January 30, 2010.

Music

The Stratford Summer Music Festival has been held for seven seasons and features indoor and outdoor performances by international classical and world music artists as well as young Canadian performers in venues around downtown Stratford. Performance prices are very reasonable and many are free. The artistic producer is John Miller.

The Stratford Concert Band, a local wind ensemble, traces its history back to the CN Rail Employees Band formed in 1907 by James Malone. 2007 marked their 100th anniversary performing in Stratford and they celebrated with a gala concert and reception in May. The band performs a free outdoor concert in Upper Queen's Park every Wednesday evening in the summer months.

Notable musicians from Stratford include Richard Manuel of The Band, John Till who backed up Janis Joplin, Loreena McKennitt and Justin Bieber.

Demographics

Stratford had a population of 30,461 people in 2006, which was a increase of 2.3% from the 2001 census count. The median household income in 2005 for Stratford was $54,128, which is slightly below the Ontario provincial average of $60,455.

Media and education

Newspapers



Radio



Education

The city's three secondary schools are: both part of the Avon Maitland District School Board, and

Stratford is also home to the prestigious Stratford Chef School.

Stratford Institute

The University of Waterloomarker’s proposed Stratford Institute is a forward-looking research, education and convergence centre that will drive the next generation of digital media applications and content models. The institute will draw leading researchers, businesses and entrepreneurs to create, examine and commercialize opportunities in the digital media field in a global economy. It is envisioned to quickly become a centre piece for collaboration, learning and sharing through conferences and workshops.

The Stratford Institute is a think-tank, integrator and training institute devoted to collaboration between digital media, international commerce and culture. The resulting changes to digital media thinking, art, tools, processes or services will have significant, positive impact on the economy, society and individuals at home and around the globe.

The Stratford Institute showcases a collaboration of academic, government and private sector support. The universities of Waterloo and Western Ontario will collaborate on teaching, research and professional efforts on the Waterloo's soon-to-be-established Stratford campus. The two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding in Stratford to investigate shared academic initiatives. The University of Western Ontariomarker has expertise across the institution in various aspects of digital media, information technologies and critical media studies.

In June 2009, the University of Waterloo Stratford Institute and the Canadian Digital Media Network hosted the Canada 3.0 forum in Stratford to map Canada’s digital future and create opportunities for new business and jobs. The forum is the must-attend event for anyone interested in Canada’s place in the world’s digital economy.

Sister cities

Stratford is a member of the Stratford Sister Cities program which was created to promote friendship and cultural exchange between participating countries. Participation is restricted to places called "Stratford" that have a Shakespeare Theatre or Festival. A reunion is held every second year by a different member.

The three principal sister cities of Stratford, Ontario are:

Time line

  • 1828 - Settlement begins.
  • 1832 - Thomas Mercer Jones, an agent of the Canada Company, names the village "Stratford" and renames the portion of the Thames River running through it "The Avon River."
  • 1849 - The Perth County News is Stratford's first weekly newspaper.
    Ontario Street in the summertime.
  • 1853 - Perth County is created, with Stratford as its county seat.
  • 1854 - Stratford is incorporated as a village.
  • 1859 - Stratford is incorporated as a town.
  • 1885 - Stratford is incorporated as a city with a population of 9000.
  • 1918 - A gift from a Michigan CNR employee, swans come to live in Stratford.
  • 1933 - The army is called in to end a general strike, the last time the military is used to quell a strike in Canada.
  • 1936 - The Shakespearean Gardens are created.
  • 1953 - The Stratford Shakespearean Festival Theatre is opened by a Stratford journalist, Tom Patterson.
  • 1957 - The Festival moves into its first permanent structure.
  • 1964 - The CNR shops close.
  • 1997 - Nations in Bloom crowns Stratford the "Prettiest City in the World."
  • 2003 - The Stratford Festival of Canada celebrated its 50th season welcoming 672,924 patrons to 18 plays.This was a record number of playgoers during the 50 seasons. The Avon Theatre realized a complete renewal and The Studio Theatre, a fourth theatre space seating 250 people was added.


Neighbouring communities

Subdivisions of Ontario

References

  1. http://www.city.stratford.on.ca/site_ourcitylife/stratford_sister_cities.asp


External links




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