City of Stratford News Release

City Hall, 1 Wellington Street
Stratford, ON N5A 6W1


For Immediate Release: June 26, 2018
Re: City of Stratford Explores Partnership With Canadian Opera Company

Stratford, ON – Stratford, ON – The Toronto-based, world-renowned Canadian Opera Company has expressed an interest in leasing space in Stratford’s former Grand Trunk locomotive repair shops.
Initially, the company is seeking creative solutions to fabricating and storing production sets and costumes both before and after their use on-stage at the COC’s performance venue, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in downtown Toronto.

Using Stratford’s refurbished Grand Trunk shops could create a mutually-beneficial partnership that would bolster Stratford’s reputation as a diversified centre of global excellence in arts and culture. It could also advance the development of the Grand Trunk property, guided by the Council-approved Master Plan. Further uses by the COC may be contemplated for this site as well.

“We’re excited about the potential to have the Canadian Opera Company become a part of Stratford’s creative community,” said Mayor Dan Mathieson. “Not only would that help with our efforts to breathe new life into the former Grand Trunk shops, but it would also create a strong local connection to yet another important Canadian cultural institution.”

Over the past decade, General Director Alexander Neef has transformed the COC into an institution of national and international prestige. It is now considered a peer to the greatest opera companies in the world, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, Opéra national de Paris, and La Scala in Milan. The COC attracts and employs some of the world’s best artists, creators, and technicians in the performing arts sector, and its co-productions frequently appear on stages throughout North America and Europe.

Discussions between the City of Stratford and the COC are ongoing, and include ensuring that space is reserved for potential future uses. The City will also be further exploring the potential economic benefits of a COC partnership, which could include new tourism revenues through regular public events, and educational/technological partnerships with the University of Waterloo.

More broadly, this opportunity could increase the scale of the existing “creative sector,” which already plays a vital role in the local economy through a combination of entrepreneurship, technology and arts and culture. It could also complement existing and planned uses, including the future expansion of the University of Waterloo Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business.

For more information, please contact:
Rob Horne, Chief Administrative Officer
519-271-0250, ext. 233