The Pergola


Stratford’s Pergola is on the north shore of Lake Victoria, just a short walk from the Shakespearean Gardens and The Dutch Memorial Garden.  From Shakespearean Gardens, cross Huron Street (carefully, please) to York Street with its many small shops offering gifts, crafts and good things to eat and drink.  A walkway over R. Thomas Orr Dam leads to the Pergola.   


For those driving, there is a large parking lot on York Street, but it is a popular area and parking places can be difficult to find.  It may be easier to find parking on William Street and other streets near St. James’ Anglican Church on the other side of the river. There are many parking places in Downtown Stratford, a short walk away.

Photo: Doug Reberg

Seen across the lake from York Street, The Pergola is a distinctive structure. A short walk across the dam, the plantings in Pergola Garden are chosen and maintained by members of Stratford and District Horticultural Society. 


The Pergola is a great place to spend a few moments to sit, enjoy the garden and the view.  In summer, the experience is enhanced by the sound of children enjoying the nearby Lion’s pool.

Photo: Doug Reberg

Did You Know?

Pergolas have a long history in garden design. 


In fact, there is some reason to believe that pergolas may have been a feature of homes in ancient Egypt, probably supporting grape vines and other fruit trees as well as providing shade.  They are very common features of European gardens.

Photo: Fred Gonder

This is Stratford’s second pergola.  The first, a somewhat larger structure, was constructed in 1933.  Stratford’s 

waterfront was a very different scene at that time, and The Pergola was an important gathering place near a very popular swimming beach. Large crowds gathered for events such as this swimming race. 

But, in April 1937, Stratford had severe flooding and the Pergola was destroyed.  Over 73 years later, the present Pergola was dedicated and it is, again, a meeting place for Stratford residents and visitors.

Photo: Stratford Archives


Stay in the loop and learn about upcoming projects and events, and how to join Garden Stratford (Stratford and District Horticultural Society).

The Stratford and District Horticultural Society 
Celebrating our 141st year in 2019

Funding: Destination Animation Partnership Fund, Stratford and District Horticultural Society

Historical Consultants: Lutzen Riedstra, Dean Robinson, Stratford-Perth Archives

Research, Writing: Doug Reberg

Web Design and Construction: Ryan Carruthers, Jamie Park

Photo Credits: Nancy Burnett, Doris Dodd, Fred Gonder, Mike Matthews. Anu Macintosh-Murray, George McDemott, Dennis Rawe, Doug Reberg, Amanda Ryan, Stratford-Perth Archives, Joan Daynard

Thanks also: Brenda Biggin, Sally Hangeveld (Stratford Public Library), Anita Jacobsen (Head Gardener, Stratford Festival), Quin Malott (Manager, Stratford Parks Forestry and Cemetery), Dan Martin (Manager, Stratford Parks and Forestry, Retired), Tom Robinson, (Shakespearean Gardens), Ann Swardfeger, (Publicity Director, Stratford Festival), Krysta Tomasevic and Colleagues (Perth Health Unit), and the Gardeners of Stratford


Gardens of Stratford is a commemorative project of Stratford and District Horticultural Society, celebrating its 140th year in 2018.

© 2017 Gardens of Stratford, Ontario