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Scotiabank and the City of Stratford share a key anniversary: both were established in the same year, 1832.
The bank was founded in the Merchant’s Exchange Coffee House in Halifax Nova Scotia, while that same year, pioneers established a settlement where Stratford now flourishes, 35 years before Confederation.
However, this is not the anniversary that was celebrated on August 1. Instead, the Stratford branch of the national bank was throwing a party recognizing 100 years in the Festival City.
The city and the bank’s shared birthday was noted by Scotiabank’s district banking manager Debbie Edwards during a speech.
MP Gary Schellenberger said he had fond memories of a former manager, who taught him about managing money. He called Scotiabank "tremendous corporate citizens," adding that the branch's social contributions are much appreciated here.
Perhaps one of the most honoured guests of the day was Vera Feick, the branch’s oldest customer at 101 years old.
Feick says she’s had an account “Since I’ve had money to put in the bank.”
She was assisted in opening her first account by her daughter Joan, who was a teller at the bank during the 1960s.
“If I had $100,000, I’d put it in the bank right here,” says Vera.
The past 100 years have seen its share of changes and upheavals for the branch, including the Great Depression, the recent financial crisis, and a handful of armed robberies.
Opening its doors as the Metropolitan Bank on August 1, 1913, the bank was originally located at the corner of Downie and Ontario streets, in what is now Gallery Indigena. The following year, the Bank of Nova Scotia acquired all branches of the Metropolitan Bank, including Stratford’s.
The company grew and expanded, eventually relocating to Festival Square across the street, in what is now The Compudoc, at 10 Downie St.
In 1999, under much public scrutiny and mixed reactions, Scotiabank merged with National Trust. The new bank was relocated to its current home, the former National Trust building, at 1 Ontario, which had previously housed a number of banks prior, including the British Mortgage and Trust and Victoria & Grey Trust.
“It is a proud moment to be a Scotiabanker celebrating 100 years in Stratford,” said branch manager Rob Roes, adding that his definition of richness includes “making a difference in the community and with the lives we touch.”