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On the left, there is text that says, "Packing List: U.S. Visitors Edition," and on the right, 1950s-chic Signorina Zampa is reading a magazine in a beach chair.

Packing List:
U.S. Visitors

Qianna MacGilchrist with members of the company in Grand Magic. Photography by David Hou.


2 min read


  1. Sneakers
    From the Avon River downtown to the remote beauty of the TJ Dolan Nature Area, there is scenic walking by the miles to discover here. (Pro tip: the journey from Toronto Pearson Airport's International Arrivals to your luggage/exit is not short. Sneakers are recommended!)

  2. ArriveCan
    Yes, it's true; ArriveCan is no longer required when travelling into Canada. Still, the free app itself remains handy for travellers arriving at Toronto Pearson, who can use its optional Advance Declaration feature (also available via the Canada Border Services Agency website) to save time at airport kiosks by submitting their customs and immigration declaration in advance of arrival. If the data is correct, you could be buzzing through lines about 1/3 faster than without the trusty app! 

  3. Picnic Blanket
    Now smaller and more compact than ever, picnic blankets aren't the fuzzy tartan queen-sized throws from your childhood. Given their new compressed character, making space in your carry-on is zero fuss for a big gain. Once you see the gardens around the Festival Theatre, which happen to be a stone's throw from both Uppers Queens Park and Confederation Park, you'll be glad you packed it!

  4. Dinner Reservations
    Acclaimed dining comes with a crowd, book a table for dinner in advance to avoid disappointment. May we suggest The Prune for a pre-show dinner of fine bistro fare created by co-chefs Mike Booth and Randi Rudner, the husband-wife duo inspiring the next generation of culinary minds as chef instructors at the renowned Stratford Chef School, where alum/Top Chef Canada winner, Carl Heinrich, learned to make his first demi-glace.

  5. Swimsuits
    With Canada's largest freshwater pool less than a thirty minute drive away in neighbouring St. Mary's, you will want to carve out time for a day trip while in town. Plan ahead and book a swim time online; the cool waters of this former limestone quarry - varying between three to ten metres in depth - are an ideal setting for a splash when the power grid feels like it's about to cave into sweltering summer demands.

  6. Membership
    Looking at you Chicagoans and Michiganders. With Member-led initiatives helmed by Festival groups including Chicago Associates and Michigan Members, membership not only grants you early access to tickets, it also opens the gates to exclusive events. Become a member today, and special gatherings like this will be a staple of your typical play season, second only to frequenting our plush member's only theatre lounges to discuss and digest performances over sparkling rosé at intermission.

  7. Camera
    A real one because some moments call for the genuine article. For example, sights like the collection of oddities and wonders in our prop warehouse tour, an outing that will definitely warrant some good 'ol fashion flash photography!

  8. Small Lunchbox/Tupperware
    No trip to Stratford is complete without sampling a Mint Smoothie from Rheo Thompson. A chocolate treat that promises to be everything drugstore mint chocolates are not, this hometown delicacy is so silky and scrumptious you will want to stock up - hence the squish-proof container to fill!