To celebrate its 140th anniversary in 2018, the Stratford and District Horticultural Society decided to raise the profile of local public gardens in Stratford, Ontario. The town on the Avon River in Perth County in southwestern Ontario is home to the live-theatre Stratford Festival that attracts 500,000 visitors a year. The initial idea was a printed guide, but because funders had no interest in print materials, a year ago a new website was launched: Stratfordgardens.com. The site features descriptions and images from 10 gardens in the city, with details of their history and features, as well as a list of other suggested stops for gardens.
Many Stratford people provided information about plantings, garden designs and histories of each of the gardens as well as photography, says Doug Reberg of the Stratford and District Horticultural Society. The result is an interesting approach to the setting and history of each garden. Stratford Perth Archives provided vintage images such as the first Pergola constructed in 1937. The project was financed with grants from Stratford’s Destination Animation Partnership Fund and the Horticultural Society. Jamie Park, University of Waterloo student, designed and constructed the site.
The site received about 500 visits a month in summer 2018, mostly from Canadians, Reberg says.