I know, we’re all here for the theater scene, but you shouldn't miss out on Stratford’s excellent shopping options. If you were expecting touristy, overpriced, and kitschy, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Many of the stores downtown sell clothing and housewares that rival what you’ll see in the best boutiques in Toronto. Prices tend to be quite reasonable. Here are some of my favorite spots.
- ART: Gallery Indigena (69 Ontario St.; tel. 519/271-7881) is filled with wonderful finds. It specializes in works by artists from Indigenous communities across Canada, including Inuit, Haudenosaunee, Plains Cree, Woodland Cree, and Northwest Coast communities. In business for more than 3 decades, the gallery hosts several “Meet the Artist” events throughout the summer, and ships artwork all over the world.
- BOOKS: If seeing the Bard on stage stirs in you the urge to pick up a printed play, pop into Fanfare Books (92 Ontario St.; tel. 519/273-1010). The well-curated selection also includes great kids’ books, bestsellers, and new releases.
- CLOTHING: The extensive collection at Grace Boutique (76 Ontario St; tel. 519/273-0005) includes everything from fancy frocks and comfy jeans to the perfect undies to wear underneath that new outfit. For dapper men, head to Gadsby (56 Ontario St.; tel. 519/305-3555) for stylish menswear you’d expect to see for sale on West Queen West in Toronto, not in a town of 30,000 people.
- GIFT ITEMS: You’ll find both locally made cranberry glass and objects from Indonesia and Uzbekistan at Watson’s Chelsea Bazaar (84 Ontario St.; tel. 519/273-1790). Rheo Thompson Candies (55 Albert St.; tel. 519/271-6910) is a local institution that makes lovely chocolates, mints, jellies, and other candies.
- HOUSEWARES: The venerable Bradshaws (129 Ontario St.; tel. 519/271-6283) has been in business since 1895 selling fine crystal and china; cookware, bakeware, kitchen electronics, and gadgets; tableware, flatware, and barware; and gifts of all kinds.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.