Stratford is located in Queens County, across the Hillsborough River from the Capital city of Charlottetown. Originally known as Bunbury, the town was renamed Stratford in 1913.
In the late 1700s, area lands were granted to officers of the British army (many of whom fought in the US War of Independence), who established farms and settlements. The town was officially founded in 1765 by Captain Samuel Holland, a British army engineer who was responsible for the surveying and mapping of the island. Holland named the area Bunbury after the Earl of Bunbury, a British politician and personal friend.
In the early 1800s, the town became an important port for exporting the island’s agricultural products including potatoes, oats, and beef. The town also became a hub for shipbuilding and fishing, and had a collection of of wharves and fish-processing plants operating along the town’s waterfront.
The town was renamed Stratford in 1913 to honor the birthplace of William Shakespeare in England, hoping to broaden its tourism appeal. In 1995, the town was officially incorporated as a municipality.