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posted March 30, 2007


Update posted April 04, 2007

From The Mayor's Office:

Efforts have been ongoing with Facilities and Real Estate at Toronto City Hall to extend the viewing period of the street furniture models.

Confirmation has been received that street furniture models will be on display at City Hall (west side of rotunda) for a total of five days.

8:30am to 8:00pm (April 4, 2007)
8:30am to 4:30pm (April 5, 2007)
8:30am to 4:30pm (April 10, 2007)
8:30am to 4:30pm (April 11, 2007)
8:30am to 4:30pm (April 12, 2007)

Thank you for expressing interest. More information is available at

Update posted April 04, 2007

From The Toronto Public Spacing Committee

Street furniture models on display Wednesday for one day only

In yet another show of contempt for residents of this City, Transportation Services and Clean and Beautiful City staff have opted to put the models of the City's proposed "street furniture" on display to the public for one day only; they are visible in the City Hall rotunda from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. today, Wednesday, April 4. "This is a contract into which the City would be locked for twenty years," said Jonathan Goldsbie, a campaigner with the Toronto Public Space Committee. "It is unconscionable that City staff could express such disdain towards the people in whose interests they are ostensibly working."

Staff say that they may add additional viewing days in the near future, if there is sufficient demand. How will demand be determined? Through attendance at the exhibition that is not being promoted to the public and through feedback received at an email address that is not being promoted to the public.

Members of the Toronto Public Space Committee will be on hand in the City Hall rotunda today to talk about the "street furniture," to provide the public with information on how to submit their comments, and to explain why this is just the latest fait accompli in a process marked by staff's and the Mayor's indifference towards the wishes and desires of the people of Toronto.

From The Toronto Public Spacing Committee

Hey there,

Yesterday the City of Toronto unveiled the designs submitted for its "Coordinated Street Furniture Program," its plan to grant an advertising company a twenty-year monopoly on providing and maintaining bus shelters, garbage bins, benches, and other items for Toronto's sidewalks.

The "renderings" have been posted as epic PDFs at:

Our friend Joe Clark has also extracted the images from the PDFs and posted them to his Flickr account for convenient browsing:

But the City doesn't care what you think. The original Request for Proposals states:

Public feedback to renderings will not be used in the evaluation of proposals. The sole intent is to provide the public with the opportunity to view street furniture elements that the City is considering so as to provide context for the eventual recommendations of the Selection committee.

They're frightened that the public will again react as negatively to the ad-driven, privatization scheme as they previously did in the public consultations and official surveys the City conducted a year ago (also available for perusal courtesy of Joe Clark: ).

The Toronto Public Space Committee believes, however, that the public should have input into this process which will define our public realm through 2027, and so we offer to you the email addresses - all publicly available through web searches - of the six members of the Design Jury (Debbie Adams, Michel Trocmé, George Kapelos, Helen Kerr, Dr. David Moos, and Patrick Bollenberghe):,,,,,

We invite you to provide them with your questions and comments regarding the designs. Please forward to us any responses you may receive.




Background information:

posted April 1, 2007

The discussion of street furniture inspired some links from Park Friend Erella Ganon:

Second link was someone that altered (culture jamming) a billboard of the donald.


Project bound to fail, says Toronto Public Space Committee:

Press Release

Yesterday the City of Toronto unveiled the designs submitted for the "Coordinated Street Furniture Program," its plan to grant a billboard company a twenty-year monopoly on providing and maintaining bus shelters, garbage bins, benches, and other items for Toronto¹s sidewalks. "This deal is happening despite the fact that advertising-funded models have repeatedly failed Toronto," said Jonathan Goldsbie, the Toronto Public Space Committee's Street Furniture Campaign Coordinator. Some of these failures include:

OMG SilverBox garbage bins, which earned the City only a fraction of what was contractually owed to them; when the City recently had to renegotiate the deal due to non-payment, it had no leverage because the private company owned a large chunk of necessary civic infrastructure.

Viacom (now CBS) transit shelters were supposed to display street names upon their installation, but didn't until four years later, and even then only because of the Toronto Public Space Committee's efforts.

Astral InfoToGo pillars, which offer an advertising-to-"information" ratio of 2-to-1, with the convex advertising panels prominently angled toward the sidewalk and the concave "information panel" (with little useable information) tucked away behind.

Eucan Megabins, originally praised by Mayor Miller as "brilliant," were 7'6" tall billboards with tiny garbage receptacles on the sides that were soundly rejected by the residents of Toronto.

'''The three companies that are bidding on this new contract each operate multiple illegal billboards in Toronto and have spotty histories:'''

Astral Media Outdoor has repeatedly filed misleading billboard permits with the City's Buildings Department, and according to, maintains illegal billboards in contempt of the City, "either months after Municipal Licensing and Standards ordered them removed or years after City Council rejected the variances.

CBS Outdoor (formerly Viacom Outdoor) has repeatedly violated the terms of its contract with the TTC, including dangerously transforming transparent mid-road streetcar shelters into opaque billboards by covering the glass with ads.

Clear Channel Outdoor threatened to sue the Toronto Public Space Committee for "economic loss" if we continued to inquire with Municipal Licensing and Standards into the legality of particular billboards. One of its companies was also forced to pay out $65 million in damages for the 1998 death of a twelve-year-old boy in Miami who was electrocuted by one of its bus shelters.

"City Council is spending $16 million to spruce up their own front yard (Nathan Phillips Square), and yet they won"t spend a penny to furnish the streets and sidewalks of the entire city," said Goldsbie. "Rather than investing in our shared, public spaces, City Council has once again opted to exploit them."

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