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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Toronto City Council Adopts Billboard Tax and Comprehensive New Signs By-Law

Fighting the encroachment of commercial messages in our shared public spaces happens in many different ways. In Toronto, they have recently won a hard fought legal battle which will regulate signage in the city with an unprecedented billboard tax. We commend Rami Tabello and all of the the activists and artist who worked incredibly hard to challenge the abusive outdoor advertising companies that once reigned supreme on the streets of this marvelous Canadian city. The new by-law is an indication that the public, through hard work and perseverance, can actually alter the space they live in and create for themselves the city they so desire.

VIA Illegalsigns.ca

It was a fantastic day at City Council and someday we should let you know the inside scoop of how a rag tag team of public space and arts activists beat a murder of high priced billboard lobbyists and convinced City Council to adopt the Buildings Departments’ recommendations to adopt a $10.4 Million billboard tax and new by-law to regulate billboards. [More Here]

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Billboard Industry Uses Illegal Billboards to Promote CityBillboardTax.ca


In typical OOH advertising industry fashion, illegality abounds in Toronto. In an effort to convince the public that a small tax on billboard advertising will run the OOH business into the ground, OOH companies in Toronto have been hanging their own public service announcements around town. This is in spite of the fact that the city of Toronto, in an independent study sees the tax reflecting a mere 7% of the ad industries revenue. This is on top of the fact that the tax will go to supporting much needed public arts funding in Toronto. I can't even begin to explain the complexity of the *$%#storm surrounding this battle so I would suggest going straight to the source if you have any interest.

VIA illegalsigns.ca

"How fitting. We have discovered that the Out of Home Marketing Association is using illegal billboards to promote CityBillboardTax.ca." [MORE HERE]

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Less Billboards, More Art! Please Support This Cause

Toronto is a city filled with illegal outdoor signage and antiquated sign laws. Rami Tabello of illegalsigns.ca has been fighting to change these laws and it looks as if they will make headway this morning morning at 9:30 am when the debate over the Signs By-Law and Billboard Tax will take place. The post below via the View on Canadian Art blog briefly describes how these new taxes and Sign By-law might further the arts agenda in Toronto and bring public content to the forefront of public space.

This just in from the Department of Culture, a community of artists and arts professionals who organized themselves in the wake of the Harper Government’s brutal cuts to the arts in the past year, in order to ensure “the social and cultural health and prosperity of our nation in the face of a Federal Government that is aggressively undermining the values that define Canada.” [MORE HERE]

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Vancouver Public Space Network

The Vancouver Public Space Network is yet another example of the many progressive Canadian public space activist projects going strong these days. A PublicAdCampaign reader brought VPSN to my attention and that their new magazine PubliCity was published with a map of all the non-compliant billboards in Vancouver. The manifesto is interesting to me in that they combine all sorts of public space activism with a strong influence on outdoor advertising creep.

The VPSN is a grassroots collective that engages in advocacy, outreach and education on public space issues in and around Vancouver, British Columbia.
This includes challenging the increase of advertising ‘creep’ in public places, promoting creative, community-friendly urban design, monitoring private security activities in the downtown core, fostering public dialogue and democratic debate, and devising creative ways to re-green the neglected corners, alleys and forgotten spaces of the city.

We also like to devise ways to have fun in public space. The Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN) was formed in early 2006. Since that time our numbers have grown from a dozen initial participants to over 1500 members. The Network continues to expand: a testament to the large number of individuals who value public space and view it as an essential feature of a vibrant, inclusive city.

Members are drawn together by both a shared concern for various issues facing public spaces and public realm amenities in Vancouver, as well as a desire to celebrate the role that public space in shaping the city.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

McDonald's "Free Coffee Ambient"

I'd like to thank Shai for making us aware of this insanity.

VIA Direct Daily

As part of a national campaign promoting McDonald's restaurants, a downtown Vancouver lamppost became part of an out-of-home optical illusion, appearing to pour coffee into a giant cup on the sidewalk. At the time, McDonald's was giving away free small cups of its brew for a two-week period, in an effort to attract new breakfast customers. They developed the concept for a lamppost near 6th Avenue and Cambie Street. The post was wrapped in brown vinyl to resemble poured coffee, while an oversized carafe was attached to the end.

Agency: Cossette west, Canada.

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