I am ashamed to admit, but I had no idea that Stratford Ontario was the hometown of Justin Bieber. It wasn’t until I was in a gift shop, and saw all kinds of Bieber t-shirts and post-cards that I finally had to ask the sales clerk about it. Oh, the shame!
Stratford is also celebrated for its internationally renowned Festival – which brings hundreds of thousands of tourists to the city. It runs April to November, and Shakespearian plays represent a third of the Festival shows.
John and I chose a presentation of Fiddler on the Roof. It was very impressive. The set was fairly basic, but the cast of actors were amazing. The show is a musical, incorporating both drama and a large dose of humor. Fiddler on the Roof was first preformed on Broadway in 1964. The setting is Russia in the early 1900’s. The story centers on a Jewish milkman named Tevye and his 5 daughters. Tevye and other village elders must learn to cope with change as his three oldest daughters choose to defy village tradition, and each chooses a husband for love. Tevye likens the maintaining of old ways and customs to the precarious task of fiddling on a rooftop.
The picturesque Avon River is the summer home of the Stratford Swans: 24 white swans and 2 black swans. Stratford has been raising swans since 1918. To celebrate the arrival of spring, the city holds their Parade of Swans, where the birds are led from their enclosed winter pens, down to the Avon River accompanied by marching bag-pipe players and drummers. Tourists can purchase food along the river bank to feed the swans (and a sizeable flock of ducks).