Stratford's Dark Day January 22, 1966 by Edna Staebler , Mcclains Magazine

The shocking discovery that British Mortgage And Trust Company was threatened with foreclosure brought a kind of drama to Stratford, Ontario, that could never be acted on the stage of its Shakespearean theatre. The charming little city of twenty-two thousand was in real trouble.

While Festival playgoers wiped away tears of laughter at the antics of Falstaff, citizens of Stratford wept. Thousands of depositors and holders of Guaranteed Investment Certificates feared they might lose their life’s savings. Six hundred Stratford shareholders were distraught because their cherished investment had suddenly been almost wiped out: many widows and spinsters would have to live in less comfort.

British Mortgage employees who had borrowed to buy stock in the company were in debt and threatened with loss of their jobs; several anxious old people were hospitalized; money saved for a child’s education was lost. The confidence of all Stratford was shaken when its most honored citizen was suspected of making the unwise decisions that brought financial calamity to British Mortgage.

To anyone driving into Stratford — as I did on several fine days in the summer — the city seemed to be doing business as usual: motels flashed No Vacancy signs; restaurants were crowded. Playgoers filing into the theatres, tourists dawdling in gift shops, itinerant, barefooted beatniks, were all unaware of Stratford’s dilemma.

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