Stratford Tourism and People

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46 Ontario Street is where a teenage Thomas Edison lived when he worked in the Grand Trunk Railway station in Stratford. As a night telegraph operator, Edison was to send a special signal on the hour to ensure he was alert. Testing a new invention, Edison rigged his "6 call" to run like clockwork signalling every hour allowing him to read or catch a few winks. He was fired when he slept through an incoming message to warn the engineers of two trains that they were on a collision course, narrowly averting disaster. MORE
Martha Henry’s first season at the Stratford Festival was in 1962, playing Miranda to William Hutt’s first Prospero in The Tempest. She became a leading actress at the Stratford Festival in the late 1960s, and has since appeared in some 65 productions at the Festival, 30 of them plays by William Shakespeare. Credit Stratford Festival. (see video) MORE
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Lloyd Robertson was born in Stratford (January 19, 1934), Ontario, the son of Lilly Frances and George Henderson Robertson. His father had eight children with his first wife; after she died, he remarried and had two sons, Gordon and Lloyd; Lloyd was the youngest child. Robertson's father worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway, while his mother was a housewife. His father was of Scottish descent, while his mother emigrated from England. MORE
Dr. John Pyper was born in Wolverhampton, England in 1920 to the Rev. Jack and Lucy Pyper, and raised in the seaside town of Portrush, Northern Ireland. John’s early education was at Campbell College, Queen’s University Medical School, Belfast, and later specialized in Ophthalmology at the Moorefield Eye Hospital, London, England. He immigrated to Canada in 1954 “with 15 dollars in my pocket,” few contacts and uncertain where he would ultimately settle. But after his beloved Olive, the pretty R.N. who caught the young surgeon’s eye, arrived a year later, John spent his entire career in Stratford, and was always grateful of his great luck to land in such a wonderful place to raise a family. MORE
Stratford had its first weekly newspaper, Perth County News, in 1849, five years before it became a village. By 1886, there were seven weeklies and the dailies were starting to appear. Absalom Dingman, a newspaper publisher from Strathroy, came to Stratford with his family and purchased THE HERALD, a weekly with steadily increasing readership. Three of his sons joined him at the paper, including his eldest, WILLIAM SMITH DINGMAN, and hence began what is described as a newspaper dynasty, which would last 113 years. In 1890, William moved The Herald into a new building (21 Market Place), designed by the architect Joseph Kilburn, on the south side of Market Square, where it would remain until the merger with the Beacon in 1923. MORE
Justin Drew Bieber (born March 1, 1994) is from Stratford, Ontario and at a very young age was seen outside the Avon theatre singing and playing his guitar. Things quickly changed for this young Stratford resident. Encountered at 13 years old by talent manager Scooter Braun after he had watched the boy's YouTube cover song videos, Bieber was signed to RBMG Records in 2008. Bieber released his debut EP, My World, in late 2009. It was certified Platinum in the United States. With the EP, Bieber became the first artist to have seven songs from a debut record chart on the Billboard Hot 100. MORE
Cedric Smith - Richard Keelan - Perth County Conspiracy - Black Swan. Every night, in a local haunt called The Black Swan, run by proprietor Harry Finlay, musicians Richard Keelan and Cedric Smith began to work their magic at midnight. With a collection of politically irreverent and mystical songs, they created a challenging theatrical experience for those curious Stratford Festival patrons looking for something a little unexpected and out of the ordinary. The personality and the dramatic style of Perth County Conspiracy was furthered mostly by the nature of their nightly programs at The Black Swan. In 1970, six months after Perth County Conspiracy began honing their stage show, they started considering making a studio album. MORE
Robert Ihrig was a prolific artist. Many people will remember Robert as Curator of the Rothmans Art Gallery and Gallery Stratford, while others will remember him from his studio in downtown Stratford. He died in 2005 leaving behind a body of work that encompasses paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, books, blueprints, theatre designs, illustrations, mixed media, etchings, silkscreens, lithographs, films, and notebooks with plans for screenplays, animated films, plays and exhibits. The art is from as early as 1950 and continues through 2004.
Bob exhibited and was involved with many, many art shows, galleries, museums, collectives, art associations and alliances. He has permanent pieces at Michigan State University, The Stratford Festival and Gallery Stratford to name a few. MORE
In what began in 1977 as a “self-directed sabbatical from work,” Eleanor Kane and Marion Isherwood opened The Old Prune (then a tea room) in Stratford, which led to successful careers as restaurateurs. With James Morris of Rundles Restaurant, which opened the same year, Kane later co-founded the Stratford Chefs School.
The Old Prune, under the direction of Isherwood and Kane, cemented its reputation with Sue Anderson in the kitchen. In 1988, The New York Times stated, “The Old Prune served lunch, dinner and after-theater suppers in three Edwardian dining rooms and on a patio. (Kane on left - Isherwood on right) MORE