Stratford is an amazing place to grow up. From the small town charm, talented actors and amazing restaurants it’s easy to get wrapped up in the quirky atmosphere. Being ideally located between London and Kitchener it's easy to forget how small we really are.
Just like all small towns the quaint nature can get old fast. A tourist town with a river can only have so much to offer to the locals.
Any hometown has their faults and flaws. Here are 21 things you will know if you’re Stratford born and raised:
1. You will never drive through downtown during the summer.
Sure the Stratford Festival Theatre is nice but have you ever tried to get through downtown after a matinee show? Believe me, even Shakespeare could write tragedies.
2. You call it Sid's or The Pour House but never Will's.
Previously Sid's and The Pour House, the sports bar across from the Avon Theatre has changed names so many times it's hard to keep track! Now renamed Will's it remains the only bar in town with a game room and half price burgers but you can never remember the name.
3. You prefer independent, unique coffee shops over Starbucks.
Stratford is a coffee lovers dream with a collection of unique shops to get your caffeine fix. Considering there is no Starbucks after Target closed, options like Balzac's, Edison's, and Revel will leave you cozy even on the warmest summer days.
4. You always go to Erie St. McDonald's at 2 A.M.
Growing up in a town where almost all restaurants close after 11 P.M. is truly a shame. That being said you know that if you're from Stratford you know there is no shame going for a "don's run" after a night of heavy drinking. In fact, almost everyone from the bar will meet you there.
5. You hate swans with a burning passion.
These birds may have been a present from Queen Elizabeth but the swans are the worst animals in the world. If you've walked around the Avon River then you probably have felt the wrath, heard the hiss or felt the bite of a swan.
6. You never see anyone eating at Ellam's... but it's still there.
Is this dive still open or just existing? Does anyone have an answer other than a shrug? If you're from Stratford you know that this grim looking dinner must be a mafia front, how else is it still maintained?
7. You think the bus system is a joke.
There are literally six bus routes that run every half an hour. Six bus routes. You can walk across town faster than that!
8. You went to a public elementary school named after Shakespeare.
Not only did you go to Hamlet, Romeo or Anne Hathaway, it also probably took an embarrassingly long time to realize the connection between all the school names.
9. You used to hang out at the skate park against your parents wishes.
Every teenager hung out at the skate park at least once. It was even better when your parents would beg you not to go and then you would sneak out. Classic.
10. Your middle school life revolved around Kiwanis middle school dances.
Oh K-Dances, what a time to be alive. A hall full of prepubescent adolescents seemed like a good idea until there were tears and fights over stuffed-bras and boyfriends. Where's a good grind-line when you need one?
11. You can't find sushi that compares to Mr. Kim's.
Yes the sushi is amazing but the Kim family is just downright wonderful. Still waiting on the day that other sushi will top the Sweet and Spicy Crab Roll (hint: probably will never happen).
12. You smoked weed in the Shakespearean Garden's gazebo.
Maybe you never touched drugs but we've all heard the stories of what goes down in the gardens at night time. For such a beautiful place there is some shady stuff in there.
13. You never step foot on "that side" of City Hall.
If you don't know what I mean then you're part of the problem.
14. You go out to the bars (Molly Bloom's, Bentley's, The Hub and Will's) on holidays for the high school reunion.
Are you even from Stratford if this is not part of the holiday routine? When everyone comes home from university it's time to meet up reminisce on how horrible/great high school was.
15. You have a strong opinion on Justin Bieber.
You love him/hate him/knew him/saw him at Wal-Mart last Christmas. No matter what, if you're from Stratford people will ask you about him so get used to it!
16. You love the foodie community.
Growing up in Stratford meant being surrounded by delicious food all year round. Heading to Soup's On, the Garlic Festival, Ribfest and the Slow Food Festival was part of our childhood. No wonder we love a good meal.
17. You went on wasted adventures in the T.J. Dolan.
Some know it by the "Old Grove" but every teenager took a drunk adventure through the woods only to find the cemetery and sewage treatment plant.
18. You had nicknames for the local cops.
For a small town they seem to be paroling plenty! You're probably not from Stratty if you haven't heard of Iron Crotch.
19. You eat only Erie-Street Drive in all summer.
A diet that consists of ice-cream, hot-dogs and floats, that's something you can get behind!
20. You always tobogganed down Central Hill all winter.
Back in the day this was the hottest place to be on a snowy Saturday morning. Only you will remember what it feels like to go off an icy ramp only to run into the soccer post at the bottom of the hill.
21. You spent Friday's at the Allman cheering on the Cullitons.
If you're from Stratford you definitely know how much we love our Cullies. You probably spent way too much of your mom's money buying arena hot chocolate in middle school too.
22. You are over the Stratford Cinemas.
The local run movie theatre is classic but the selection of movies and the quality has become run down over the years. You go sometimes but only when you don't want to drive to Kitchener.