I’ve been back in Stratford for a little over two weeks now and I’ve started to fully immerse myself in everything that is Stratford. When people come to Stratford they usually come for the superb theatre that is available here. With four stages and 16 shows to choose from there is something on these stages for everyone. With tonight being the big opening the Stratford Shakespeare Festival is on many minds today. I’ve even attended a preview for Cabaret about a week ago, this is also my first performance here since Richard Monette left the post of Artistic Director. Break a leg the cast and crew of all the shows opening this week at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. But there is so much more to Stratford than the Festival.
Stratford has many bookstores, both new and used, that anyone visiting should stop by before they leave this city. Of these stores two in particular are worthy of your patronage. The unfortunate side to both of these stores is that neither one has a website but that shouldn’t stop you from stopping by and picking up a few books. Last week I visited both these stores and picked up a few books while there.
The Book Vault is a store that deals with new books and has a large selection of comic books and graphic novels. The store also has a wide selection of novels and non-fiction. There are several aspects of this store that make it better than great; they will order any book for you, there is a huge selection sale books to chose from, and best of all they sell their books in Canadian currency at the American prices. The books are well organized making it very easy to find the book you may or, in many of our cases, ones you weren’t necessarily looking for. The staff is very friendly and always willing to help in your search. The Book Vault is the place to go for your search of new books.
When on the hunt for used books you must be sure to go to 351 Ontario St., just past downtown. The house that has been converted into the best used book store in town! Yesterday’s Things and Books is the used book store that made me fall in love with books and where my thrill of finding the perfect book started. The moment you walk in the door your confronted by a large fiction section as well as the largest selection of plays I’ve seen in any bookstore (new or used). They even have an area for books, plays and other theatre paraphernalia relating to the Festival season. The books are also organized by genre and author making it easy to find your books. There is also a room dedicated to books for children and young adults. It’s difficult to leave the store without a book or two in hand. The prices for the books can be found on the inside cover and they are reasonable. If you’re looking for antiques you can find a few at Yesterday’s Things and Books too.
So, be sure to check out those bookstores and some of the other shops available in Stratford. Be sure to head to Family and Company, the worlds best toy store and be sure to have them wrap your purchases. At Family and Company you get some great games and toys you wont be able to find at many traditional toystors.
Once you’ve finished your shopping take your books and get a sandwich (the best sandwiches ever) at York Street Kitchen. Then take your lunch and books to the Avon River find a park bench, if you don’t have a blanket, on Tom Paterson Island and enjoy your books and lunch. That’s what I’ll be doing once the rain stops and we have another beautiful day.