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I took my Grandson to Stratford for his Birthday


We went to the theatre that evening...

My original plan called for a matinee performance of the musical, 'Music Man' but tickets go quickly in Stratford and the performance was completely sold out. We opted for the evening show instead and it was so lively that my little theatre-goer was engaged the complete time. When I asked Josh for one word to describe the music, costume and sets, he gave me two -- 'funny and happy.' With those couple of words, my little guy proved all my doubting friends wrong. Our late night at the theatre was a success and thankfully we had just a few steps to get to our hotel.

 

Foster's Inn is old but new...

At the end of a long day packed with activities, lots of walking, and an evening at the Avon theatre, a quiet hotel with private bath and comfy beds was my number one priority. I fretted that if I tired Josh out and he didn't sleep well the first night, our second day of fun could potentially be ruined. I needn't have worried. Foster's Inn, is ideally located in the historic district of downtown Stratford only two doors from the Avon Theatre. Once a commercial Victorian-styled building (circa 1906), it's now fully renovated and houses nine guest rooms, each with its unique décor, 14 ft ceilings and spacious en-suite bathrooms.

Josh was terribly impressed with the flat screen TV, and the winding hallways with wooden floors that creaked as we made our way from the elevator. I appreciated the cleanliness, the absolute quiet, the helpfulness of the staff, and the generous order of french toast we were served for breakfast that morning. Imagine fresh, home-baked bread dipped in egg, prepared to perfection, and then topped with local cheddar cheese, sauteed apple slices and real Canadian maple syrup. Oh my goodness it was good. Address: 111 Downie Street. Tel: 519.271.1119 or toll free 1.888.728.5555

P.S. Foster's Inn also has an excellent bar area and restaurant where both tourists and locals are known to congregate. In fact, it's a well-known watering hole for those performing at the Avon Theatre. One evening a very pleasant gentleman engaged Josh in conversation about the tunes on his Walkman. They had an extended chat about the Beetles before I realized that the man that was taking the time to chat was Berthold Carriere, an acclaimed Order of Canada recipient and musical director at the Stratford Festival. This chance encounter was another prime example of the friendliness and absolute lack of pretension that we encountered on our mini holiday.

 

So many activities, so little time...

A peek at Stratford's festival program revealed so many rich experiences for young people to participate in. At one workshop called, 'Make Music, Man.' the company members taught participants an actual number from 'The Music Man'. That could have been very entertaining especially if grandma and grandson took the workshop together. At a second venue, famed actor, Christopher Plummer did a dramatic reading of the children's book, 'Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang.' Since it was Josh's birthday the choices were all up to him. My grandson has a special interest in costumes so I wasn't the least bit surprised when he chose the 'Costume and Props Warehouse Tour' for our second morning's activity.

 

Kings, queens and princes...

The Costume and Props Warehouse Tours' are 45 minutes long. We began with a very short introduction (just long enough so that the younger folks didn't become fidgety) and then we began our fun and informative walkabout. Along the way Josh learned that Stratford boasts the third largest costume warehouse in North America with 55,000 ornate outfits and a collection of 10,000 boots and shoes to choose from. He recognized Eliza Doolittle's market dress worn in My Fair Lady, and examined 'fat suits' that actors wear to enhance their roundness. We found out how the heels on dancers' shoes are reinforced so that there are no mishaps on stage, and how costumes are laundered after each performance.

But, best of all (according to Josh), tour participants were given the opportunity to try on costumes and become their favorite theatrical characters. From the youngest to the oldest we were transformed into regal queens, kings, monks and princes with crowns on our heads and scepters in our hands. Josh and I giggled as we were photographed sitting together on a throne. A perfect intergenerational moment! Costume warehouse address: 350 Douro Street. For further information consult: http://www.stratfordfestival.ca/

 


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