Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Planning for the Inevitable?

I came across an interesting article about Stratford, Ontario in the Toronto Star. The article, which appeared on June 19, 2010, is entitled "Arts meets high-tech in the new Stratford"

The article is about how Stratford is trying to diversify its economy by welcoming "high-tech". This involves creating a satellite campus for the University of Waterloo, rigging the entire city for wi-fi (although it may not actually be free) and setting up "a 60-acre section of land with services to meet the needs of upstart technology companies".

The mayor, Dan Mathieson, recognizes that Stratford cannot survive solely on its tourist industry (the theater) since restaurants, hotels, and stores don't do much business in the wintertime.

Mathieson is quoted as saying, "We have to be grounded in three or four camps really to survive as a community" He also feels that if the new school and new industry brings in younger people the stores and restaurants will adapt to the needs of the new market. As he says, "You can only sell so many busts of William Shakespeare"

I applaud the effort Stratford is making. I hope that the "other Stratford" in England is listening. In the future, when "Stratford Will" is "dethroned" (as I hope to see in my lifetime), it will become quite difficult to sell busts of William Shakespeare (unless they are rebranded as busts of "that funny bald guy formerly known as the Bard of Avon")

Actually, of course, tourism in Stratford (either one) will continue even after Edward deVere is recognized as the true author, but things WILL be different and a little advance planning for diversity and other economic opportunities is always good.

The future awaits.

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