Arts and Culture
The internationally renowned Stratford Shakespeare Festival is only a ten-minute drive away, and runs from May to November. Nearby Blyth (75 kilometers away) offers a theatre festival that runs every year from June to September. The Grand Theatre in London runs a theatre season every year from September to June.
The St. Marys Museum, located in a stone mansion constructed more than 150 years ago, is open year round, as is the St. Marys Public Library, which not only houses a wealth of books but also coordinates several book clubs, a chess club, a Philosophers' Cafe, author readings, film screenings, and much more. .
In the winter months, a very public and festive spectacle can be seen in the seasonal lights and displays that made St. Marys the winner in the 2006-2007 national Winterlights competition.
|St. Marys is popularly known as Stonetown, thanks to the nearby limestone quarries that, in the nineteenth century, provided the material for so many of the community's beautiful buildings and bridges, over forty of which have been designated Ontario Heritage Properties. Indeed, according to a Toronto Star journalist, St. Marys boasts "some of the finest old limestone buildings in the province." Another journalist writing for the Toronto Star echoed this sentiment: "This beautiful little town lovingly referred to as Stonetown reflects the town slogan, inscribed on its historic water tower: St. Marys: the town worth living in.
I feel I have ventured into the past, even before crossing the bridge and passing the water tower. The streets are lined with beautiful old stone houses and the sandstone townhall towers over me like a medieval castle. I expect the women to be wearing gowns that sweep the ground and men in top hats, tipping them in greeting, but modern cars line the streets and people wearing the latest fashions greet me with a pleasant 'Good morning'."
An excellent way to explore the architecture and history of St. Marys is through the Historical Narrated Walking Tour which runs on Saturday mornings at 11am, from July 7 to August 25, from the Town Hall at 175 Queen Street East. You can also visit this website devoted to St. Marys' historic residences.