Sunday, May 30, 2010

Return to Glenwood

For me Stratford is a place of history. I was born and raised here for my first 18 years before heading off to university. After traveling and working in various parts of Canada, my husband and I returned to Stratford to raise our children.

Yesterday I had the privilege of revisiting my family home, the Glenwood, now a B&B, for a reunion with my brother and sister and their spouses, and to meet the new owners, Bill and Christine.

Bill is very much a historian and has been gathering information about the house, in fact the entire neighbourhood.

Christine is an amazing cook, very adept at whipping up breakfasts and other delicacies.

In return for sharing our stories, we were treated to their warm hospitality.

What a pleasure it was to see our former home being cared for with such obvious joy and attention to detail. From the wonderful dinner on the "big lawn" (our childhood term for the property), to sharing a glass of wine along with old photos and memories,

to the wonderful home-made baking and made-from-scratch light-as-a-feather waffles with fresh fruit for breakfast, our return to the Glenwood is now a treasured memory.

If you are looking for a B&B getaway for yourself or your friends, do be sure to check out the Glenwood. I know you will enjoy the delightful hosts....and you just may have a history lesson along the way. See for more information.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Neighbourhood in Spring

I went for a stroll last night, first of all to the river to see the baby mallards. They are little balls of fluff right now, but they already know how to swim.

With the sun bright in our eyes, we decided to meander back via Cobourg Street. Please share in my enjoyment of the local home gardens encountered along the way.

As we headed for home, one final piece of beauty stopped our steps - first an auditory thrill and then a scarlet flash attracting the eye. Not at all shy, he posed for several pictures.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Bittersweet Farewell

Last night was a farewell, a bitter-sweet farewell in some ways. The 1913 concert grand Steinway which had been a part of Stratford's cultural scene since 1954, was played for the final time in our fair city. A benefactor of Ms Kati Gleiser, currently completing a Doctorate in Piano Performance at Indiana University, recently purchased the piano for her from St. John's United Church. Kati had agreed to perform a concert for Stratford, before the piano set off to its new home.

Many of us here grew up under the spell of the Steinway, the piano played by such international musical greats as Glenn Gould, Ronald Turini, Rudolph Serkin, Claudio Arrau, Oscar Peterson and Duke Ellington. It's history was tied in to the first twenty years of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival when a Music Festival ran alongside the dramatic playbill. I remember attending concerts many Sunday afternoons with full house attendance as people traveled from all over to hear not only pianists, but orchestras, chamber music and some of the great vocalists of the day. It was a privilege growing up in that era, when Stratford was so incredibly culturally rich and there was an enthusiasm and joy in hearing wonderful classical music performed by the masters.

Ms Gleiser's concert was beautiful. Although the Steinway needs a great deal of technical work to come back to her former glory, she still displayed hints of the rich timbre for which she was so famous. Kati handled her impeccably and with a very sensitive musical spirit.

So yes, it was bitter sweet...a sorrow to see the end of an era, but a joy in knowing that the Steinway, at 97 years of age, will be loved, cared for and used long into the future.