The present site of the Forest Motel once belonged to the Grand Trunk Railway Co. In 1871 the Grand Trunk Railroad moved all of its repair shops from Toronto to Stratford. Steam engines made pit stops at our own Lake McCarthy to fill up with water, and a pipe line was built from the lake to the repair shops in Stratford to supply water for the steam engines there.


After a time, pumping water to Stratford was abandoned, and in 1919 William E. (Bill) McCarthy and his wife Edith bought the property from the railroad. Bill was related to one of Stratford's most illustrious pioneers and first police chief of the village of Stratford, John Augustus McCarthy. Bill owned a bicycle shop in Stratford until the age of 85. He made history himself as one of Stratford's most famous creators - of bicycle racing records. A full history of Bill McCarthy and the motel property is found in your motel room upon arrival.



The Forest Motel and Woodland Retreat lies in a stunning natural setting on Lake McCarthy.  Lake McCarthy is the largest of the four lakes found on the eastern edge of the City of Stratford known as the little lakes complex.  Spring fed, McCarthy Lake is the start of the Upper Thames River watershed, and its waters flow through Stratford and down to Lake St. Clair near Detroit.


Located only minutes from downtown Stratford and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival Theatre, guests enjoy all the benefits of a world class city in a truly Canadian setting. Come & discover us.