Jewel of Ontario: Stratford, home of the Shakespeare Festival and Justin Bieber

August 13, 2011

Stratford, Ontario

We had the great pleasure to spend a couple of days in Stratford, Ontario. Apart from visiting our friends Dominik and Kymm, we also had the opportunity to explore this picturesque and very pleasant town.

Founded in 1832 at a railway junction, Stratford is a city of about 32.000 people at the Avon River in Perth County, about 2-3 hours West of Toronto. Many of its first settlers came from England so it is little wonder that it was named after Stratford-upon-Avon in England.

The town is famous for its Shakespeare Festival. The city has four theaters and from May to November the city is buzzing with tourist, theater aficionados, music lovers, festival goers, musicians, actors, singers, directors and all kind of “technical people” and support staff.

The Shakespeare festival 2011

Unfortunately, we could not manage to attend a performance. Instead we participated in an extremely interesting theater tour and were introduced to almost 60 years of festival history, the plays, the stage, and the facilities of the main house.

A landmark: the Perth County Courthouse in Stratford

But Stratford is also the place where Justin Bieber, the now famous young musician, was raised. One of the city’s ice cream parlors, named Scoopers, was one of his favourite places.

Needless to say that my two teenage daughters needed to check out this almost sacred space. Also the ice cream was very enjoyable. If you happen to visit Ontario, go and spend some time in Stratford. It is definitely worth it.

Scoopers ice cream parlor in Stratford

Enjoying ice cream in Justin Bieber’s home town

PS: Stratford has some very good eateries and restaurants where wines from Ontario are readily available. But more about the wines from Ontario at another time.

Ice hockey and wine – 2008 No. 99 Wayne Gretzky Chardonnay

July 30, 2011

Traveling through Canada, my wine of the week is the ‘2008 No. 99 Wayne Gretzky Chardonnay’ which we drank the other night at my friend Dominik’s house in Stratford, Ontario.

It is well known that not only dentists and medical doctors get lured into the wine business but also sport stars. Wayne Gretzky the famous Canadian ice hockey player being one of them. His winery, the Wayne Gretzky Estate, which opened in 2007, is located on the Niagara Peninsula, Ontario.

This unoaked Chardonnay is a very pleasant wine. We had it with a pizza. The wine has all the good characteristics of a good ‘Chardy’. It won some awards (silver and bronze) as well. I liked the peach notes and the fine balance of acids. It is also a very affordable wine (12.95 Canadian $). We had great pleasure sampling it.

Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery
3751 King Street
PO Box 55
Vineland ON L0R 2C0