Shakespearean Street and Place Names in Stratford
In organizing the township, the town council divided it into five wards with Shakespearean names: Avon, Falstaff, Shakespeare, Romeo, and Hamlet. The boundary lines appear like spokes on a wheel, and the ward names first appeared on the assessment roll in 1862.1
When Stratford became a city in 1885, the general public was given the opportunity by the local press to suggest a nickname. In the end, they decided "The Classic City," suggested by a merchant named James Corcoran. "It would seem that in the 1880s the residents of Stratford could already identify with the literary heritage associated with the city's name. The nickname was frequently used over the next seventy years until it was replaced by the 'Festival City.'"2
There is evidence that the festival and Stratford’s prominence partly arose from the fact that the city is an adaptation of Stratford-upon-Avon, an adaptation to which street and place names contribute cultural continuity and cultural capital.
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1 Leitch, Adelaide. Floodtides of Fortune: The Story of Straford and the progress of the city through two centuries. Corporation of the City of Stratford, 1980.
2 Bart-Reidstra, Carolynn and Lutzen H. Reidstra. Stratford: Its Heritage and Its Festival. James Lorimer & Company, 1999.