New Connected Countryside Webinar
Note: This webinar took place on November 15, 2016. You can view the archived video below.
At the turn of the new century, Stratford had a reputation for being quaint, cultured and out of the way, home to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and a 90-minute drive from Toronto, the business capital of eastern Canada. The Festival is a home-grown success story in cultural tourism. Founded in 1953, it became the largest employer in the city and generated hundreds of millions of dollars in local economic activity in ticket sales, restaurants, lodging and culture.
This economic center complemented Stratford's industrial base, which supplied the North American automotive and aerospace sectors. But in the last Nineties, the city's forward-looking leadership saw that the growth opportunities of the future would depend on information and communications technology.
Since then, a team led by Mayor Dan Mathieson has executed on an Intelligent Community strategy with great intensity. The city-owned utility has built out a 70-km open access fiber network with a WiFi overlay, and signed sales agreements with commercial carriers to deliver triple-play and mobile services. The network enabled the Festival to significantly expand its online marketing, and plays a key role in the city’s tourism strategy, which builds on the Festival’s reputation to attract “foodies,” cyclists and other target groups throughout the year. At the same time, the city has used the network to slash its own telecom costs and power a smart meter program.
Find out more about how Stratford continued its path to intelligence and become a home of innovation when you hear from Marlene Coffey, CEO of investStratford. Following the presentation, Marlene will participate in a question and answer session with the audience.
Marlene Coffey, MA, MAES, MCIP, RPP
CEO of investStratford
Marlene is a municipal expert and civic leader with 25 years in the economic development industry. Marlene holds two master level degrees from the University of Waterloo, in economic development and municipal finance, and holds the designation of Registered Professional Planner. As the former Director of Economic Development in Waterloo and most recently the lead in Milton’s Education Village (MEV) Innovation Centre, she has experience in bringing together multi-faceted teams and the many piece parts within a larger project.
Marlene continues to build cities within her profession and joined as the CEO of investStratford in 2014. investStratford is advancing the economic future of Stratford and offers full business advisory services to help businesses start, grow, relocate and invest.