Stratford is a city on the Avon River in Perth County in southwestern Ontario, Canada with a population of 32,000. The town was originally a railway junction. Furniture manufacturing became an important part of the local economy by the twentieth century. A 1933 strike by furniture workers in Stratford, led by the Communist Workers' Unity League, marks the last time the army was deployed to break a strike in Canada.
The city's economy took a major turn when the Stratford Shakespeare Festival started in 1953. The annual festival now brings hundreds of thousands of theatre goers and tourists to the area. Celebrities such as Alec Guinness, Christopher Plummer, Peter Ustinov, Dame Maggie Smith, and William Shatner have performed at the festival. The World-renowned festival takes place in four theatres throughout the city: the Festival Theatre, the Avon Theatre, Tom Patterson Theatre and the Studio Theatre.