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More Stratford


Stratford’s public gardens are major attractions, but the city has many more gardens to enjoy. Communities In Bloom is a national event described as a “friendly competition” among Canadian communities to create and maintain beauty.  As an annual Communities In Bloom participant, Stratford won the national competition in 2003 and was a finalist in 2017.  

Watch for gardens throughout the city with thousands of plants maintained by the Parks Department, such as this display of cleome (“umbrella plant”).

Photo: Doug Reberg

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There are many more downtown gardens to be seen. Downtown businesses, such as Sirkel Restaurant on Wellington Street, often have planters for all to enjoy.

Photo: Doug Reberg

If you are walking toward the river on Waterloo Street, pause for a moment to admire the gardens surrounding the law offices of MacDonald and MacDonald, with a fine display of roses. And check out their community vegetable garden from which everyone is invited to harvest (but please pull a weed in exchange for a veggie).

Franklin Hinz Financial Services on Ontario Street is another business with great gardens.

Photo: Doug Reberg

If you’re exploring The Shakespearean Gardens and The Dutch Memorial Garden, try to save some time for the grounds of St. James Anglican Church. 


The St. James spire is a distinctive landmark, and you could also follow the sound of the chimes at 6:00 p.m. every evening or occasional carillon concerts.  


The gardens of St. James very much deserve a visit. 

Photo: Fred Gonder

And, of course, you will find many private gardens throughout the city. Those gardens are usually admired from the street or sidewalk, but if you see a home gardener working and stop to chat about the garden, you may very well be invited to have a walkabout and a closer look.  Some Stratford home gardeners have eliminated grass altogether for “garden lawns.” 


Douglas Street between St. Vincent and Huron Streets has many garden lawns. From Douglas Street and its view of front gardens, you might turn west to walk along T.J. Dolan Drive to see the rear gardens of those homes.  

Photo: Doug Reberg

If you crave some time in the company of trees, visit Birnam Wood Arboretum (located in the parkland behind River Gardens Retirement Residence at the intersection of Romeo Street and Delamere Avenue).  

By very strong theatre tradition, the name of the Shakespeare play in which Birnam Wood is featured is rarely, if ever, spoken aloud (theatre people usually refer to it as “The Scottish Play”), but you will find that information on the sign provided by Stratford Parks and Forestry. By any name, Birnam Wood Arboretum is a

pleasant and interesting area to visit, with many trees and some very informative signs identifying unusual species.  

Photo: Doug Reberg

Throughout Stratford you’ll find marvelous gardens created by people who plant and grow them for their enjoyment but also for the pleasure of all who pass by.  Some gardens are formal; some less so, all are interesting.   


So, if you find a home gardener weeding, deadheading, pruning, or just pondering what to plant next, please take a moment to thank them for the garden they have created.  They will appreciate it and, in a small but important way, you will contribute to the beauty of Stratford gardens. 

Photo: Fred Gonder

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