Verona Park

  • Wherefore Art Thou

  • Trudeaumania, Verona in 1968

Juliet's balcony, Verona, Italy

Wherefore art thou

Verona Park appeared for the first time in the Stratford directory of 1925. Among the earliest streets to open in this Devon Street subdivision, Verona first appeared on the 1922 map of Stratford.

The name Verona Park is Shakespearean in origin. Shakespeare's most popular play Romeo and Juliet is set in Verona, northern Italy. Billed as a romantic tragedy, Shakespeare's full name for the play was actually The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.

During the same period (between 1594 and 1596), Shakespeare also wrote the comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Though not as well known as Romeo, the comedy brings the "Verona" into the title of the play. The Two Gentlemen of Verona has been produced only once at Stratford, in 1975. It stared Stephen Russell as Valentine and Nicolas Pennel as Proteus.

Though short, as a Stratford street, Verona Park certainly exists, but it has no houses that front onto it. It Runs east from Romeo Street to Portia Boulevard. By Stanford Dingman

Trudeau diving at St. Mary's Quarry (now called the St. Marys Quarry and Lind Sportsplex), Aug. 9, 1968. Trudeau visited the quarry with his friend, Louise Marleau, star of Romeo and Juliet, which was on the Stratford Festival playbill that summer. Photo: Bob Chaulk, Stratford Beacon Herald.

Trudeaumania, Verona in 1968

Pierre Trudeau came to Stratford in August 1968, at the height of Trudeaumania, to see his friend Louise Marleau of Montreal play Juliet in the Festival's production of Romeo and Juliet.

It indeed caused a buzz when Trudeau, Marleau, security people, reporters and onlookers all found themselves at the St. Mary's Quarry, where Trudeau amazed everyone with his diving skills.

Bob Chaulk of the Beacon Herald was there to take the iconic shot of Trudeau's dive from the high board. That event on Aug. 9, 1968, is retold this way at The History Of St. Mary’s–Canadian History Ehx

When Trudeau took a dip in the quarry, so did several others, some of them fully clothed, to swim with the prime minister. Trudeau then climbed onto a raft in the quarry and everyone climbed on with him, causing it to submerge. A photographer was in the water waiting for the prime minister to jump in and he yelled, “If you don’t jump, I will drown.” Trudeau tossed him a life preserver before jumping into the water to continue his swim, to the delight of everyone who gathered.

Louise Marleau learned English in eight months to play Juliet opposite Christopher Walken at Stratford in 1968. Source: Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia

Louise Marleau accompanied Pierre Trudeau, to St. Marys but did not swim. Photo: Bob Olsen Toronto Star. St. Mary's Aug. 9, 1968.