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Sunday, June 11, 2017

New visitor experiences this year in the "Festival City"



   One-Tank Trip for June 10/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The curtain is rising on a new visitor experience in Stratford.
   It’s a “year of transformation” in arts and culture, the culinary scene and “retail therapy,” said Cathy Rehberg of the Stratford Tourism Alliance.
   The new Market Square, set to be completed this month, will welcome people into a pedestrian friendly space.
   Among the trees, there are places to sit and relax with a good book, meet friends, enjoy lunch from a nearby eatery or wile away the day, she said.
Enjoying High Tea at the Revival House in Stratford. (Photo by Terry Manzo)
   Just a short walk through Queen’s Park to Confederation Park brings you to a new butterfly-shaped pollinator garden creating a welcoming home for bees.
   The alliance provides the following “brief synopsis” of what’s happening in the Festival City.

   Arts and culture
   The Stratford Festival presents 14 plays now through Oct. 31 around the theme of identity and brings the world premiere of the Breathing Hole by Colleen Murphy, specially commissioned to mark Canada 150.
Breathing Hole, marking Canada’s 150th birthday, features Randy Hughson as Sir John Franklin at the Stratford Festival. (Photo by Lynda Churilla)
   Stratford Summer Music, July 17 to Aug. 27, presents the best of Canada this year.
   This includes Buffy Sainte-Marie entertaining on Aug. 7 while Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadians make the band’s only Canadian appearance on Aug. 8 and 9.
   The Stratford Perth Museum presents the Franklin Exhibition in conjunction with the Royal Ontario Museum and Parks Canada, now through Sept. 15.
   An Inuit Art Exhibit from the Art Gallery of Ontario and a Stratford Festival archives exhibit are on now through Oct. 30.
   SpringWorks, Stratford’s Indie Arts Festival, moves to Oct. 12 to 22, showcasing Canada’s established and emerging artists.
   There will be a “wide range” of juried performances and events, including new plays, music and dance, poetry readings, late-night cabaret and puppets.
Peter Persona’s Precarious Picnic with puppets is at SpringWorks. (Photo by Joy Covey)
   The Stratford Writers’ Festival runs from Oct. 27 to 29 and is the place to “connect with writers and readers.”

   Culinary Scene
   High Tea anyone? What started as a one-time Mother’s Day event last year between Bradshaws and the Revival House has become a monthly happening on the last Sunday of the month.
   The Bruce Restaurant has introduced Afternoon Tea monthly and offers “traditional and new Canadiana nibbles” alongside a choice of 20 fine teas curated by a sommelier.
Pasta is on the menu at the Stratford Chefs School. (Photo by Terry Manzo)
   Stratford Chefs School downtown on Ontario Street now offers spring and summer cooking classes.
   Mercer Kitchen and Beer Hall presents a Father’s Day Picnic at the Stratford Perth Museum on June 18 with outdoor stalls, food and live music.
   Black Swan Brewery is creating innovative seasonal flavours in addition to its core products.
   Junction 56 Distillery has added three new flavoured moonshine products: Sugar Shack (maple), Fireshine (cinnamon) and Eclipse (anise and fennel) in addition to its gin, vodka and moonshine.
   Tallgrass Mead is making Honey Pops, a refreshing beverage made with honey, along with a variety of other wines.
   The Hub and Mercer Beer Hall have more than 100 craft beers from around the world while Boar’s Head Pub at the Queens Inn and Bentley’s Restaurant and Bar are places to find many brews.
   On the restaurant scene, there’s patio dining at Pavilion Coffee and Crepes, Parlour Steakhouse, Bruce Restaurant, Raja’s flower festooned veranda, Keystone Alley and Montforte on Wellington.
Craft brewers are busy creating new tastes in Stratford including the Black Swan Brewery. (Photo by Terry Manzo)
   Downtown, there’s the Mill Stone, Pazzo Taverna and Pizzeria, Mercer Kitchen, Bentley’s Bar, Fellinis Italian Cucina, Downie Street Burger, Stratford Thai Cuisine, the new Revival House terrace and rooftop at the Hub.
   SAV Eatery and Smokehouse has welcomed Chopped Canada Chef Angie Mohr while Chef Cameron Jariott has taken over the Annex Restaurant and the Bijou has expanded and is open for lunch and dinner.
   Savour Stratford has numerous culinary trails to explore with themes of chocolate, bacon and ale, maple and pumpkin.

   Retail Therapy
   New in town is Wills & Prior’s, a home decor shop, with a “curated selection” of goods including locally made accent furniture.
   Close Knit, a popular knitters’ haven, has a new home at 104 Wellington St.
   C.R. Plastic Products has opened a showroom for its outdoor products made from recycled materials.
   To plan a Stratford getaway: visitstratford.ca; 1-800-561-SWAN

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Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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