Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stratford, Ontario

Stratford, Ontario SwansStratford, Ontario (2006 pop. 30,461) became a town in 1854 and was incorporated as a city in 1885 with a population of 9,000.

In 1832, some three years after company surveyors had erected shanties, the Canada Company initiated the development of 'Little Thames' as the market centre for the eastern Huron Tract.   By 1834 a tavern, sawmill and grist mill existed here and a year later a post office called Stratford was opened.   Settlement was slow until the early 1850s when the advent of the railway and the designation of Stratford as county town transformed the village into a thriving administrative and commercial centre.

Location of Stratford, OntarioExpansion of the community was accelerated after 1871 when railway repair yards for steam engines were located here. For 80 years railways were the principal employer. When diesels replaced steam Stratford ceased to be a divisional point in the 1950s and the city lost 2000 jobs.

Since 1953, the city has hosted the Stratford Festival. The drama festival now runs from April to October at 4 theatres with the largest being the Festival Theatre seating 1826.