Our September Vacation
A few months ago Loraine and I decided to arrange for a mini vacation in September. We made reservations for a couple of Shakespearian style plays in Stratford. We booked Timon of Athens for one day and The Changeling on the following day both at the Tom Patterson Theatre. The theatre is relatively small and if you don't book months in advance it can be very difficult to get tickets. There are 4 theaters in Stratford.
We also planned on visiting St. Jacob's the day after the second play.
Timon of Athens
Written by: William Shakespeare
Convinced of the essential goodness of humanity, the wealthy nobleman Timon ignores all warnings that his reckless generosity can lead only to ruin and disillusionment. Finding himself bankrupt at last, Timon seeks financial assistance from the flattering
friends on whom he has bestowed so many extravagant gifts and such lavish hospitality.
When all refuse him, he throws one last party – one that heralds a dramatic change in his attitude to the world.
Written by: Thomas Middleton & William Rowley
In love with Alsemero while unwillingly betrothed to another man, Beatrice-Joanna plots the murder of her unwanted fiancé. To carry out the deed, she enlists her father’s servant, De Flores, a man she has always treated with contempt yet who secretly harbors an overwhelming desire for her.
She plans to reward him with gold; he, however, has a different form of payment in mind. The consequences prove fatal as Beatrice-Joanna struggles in a trap of her own making.
Tom Patterson Theatre
The Tom Patterson Theatre is a theater in the round, all seats have good viewing for the performance. However, climbing the steps to get to your seat can be an exciting experience. Railings do not exist between rows, so there is little to hold onto.
For Loraine and I hearing the actors was enhanced by an infrared hearing assistance system in the theatre. Patrons can rent headsets for $2 each per performance.
Both plays were enjoyable, Loraine preferred Timon of Athens and I preferred The Changeling.
Additional information about the Stratford Festival
Stratford City Centre
The Stratford city center has a lot of independent stores and shops that are great for spending time in browsing. There are two stores in particular that we would like to highlight:
Bradshaws on Ontario St. has one of the largest selections of kitchen stuff that I have ever encountered. I could have spent a fortune, luckily Loraine was there to keep me in line.
Just off the main section of the city center we found Chocolate Barr's. It's owned and operated by Jacqueline and Derek Barr. We purchased some hand dipped chocolate cherries and some chocolate bars. Excellent selection of high quality chocolate all handmade right there in the store.
Surprisingly, accommodations available in Stratford are few and far between and hence relatively expensive. There is really only one hotel, which was booked solid over 3 months in advance, and a few bed and breakfasts. We ended up staying in a two bedroom apartment arranged through booking.com. It was quite nice, with the exception that it required walking up a flight of stairs carrying our luggage. Luckily we had very little in the way of luggage.
Stratford is dealing with tourists 95% of the time and the restaurants, in our opinion, are somewhat overpriced and the food is fancy but mediocre. The only restaurant that is worth a mention is a breakfast/lunch establishment called Features on Ontario St. Although the facility could use some updating, with regard to the overall appearance, the food was very good and at reasonable prices.
From Stratford we spent the night in Waterloo at a Best Western and the next morning went to visit St. Jacobs. Loraine and I hadn't been to St. Jacobs in 8 years, on our previous visit we purchased a dining room set; table, 6 chairs and a china cabinet, from an antique shop.
There is a saying that describes our recent visit to St. Jacobs; "you can't go back"! St. Jacobs changed from a downtown that was wall to wall antique shops to a place that has an enormous farmers market just as you enter the town. The antique stores are basically gone! We spent some time at the farmers market, purchased some free range eggs and fresh shallots and headed home.
It will be a very long time before we go back (although the free range eggs were a treat), we were very disappointed.