Corporate names for subway stops is a mistake

[Cache – #29]

Toronto’s transit commission has approved the selling of naming rights for subway stations and other property (http://alturl.com/2fvk3).  Hence the brilliant Torontoist parody of my city’s future, in which Ossington Station becomes Hugo Bossington, Eglinton morphs to Eggolinton and Bathurst to Bed, Bathurst and Beyond.   You can see the entire subway map here: http://alturl.com/6weov

It won’t be so hilarious if it comes to pass.  But it will be a joke – that Torontonians cannot pry $7 per capita (based on a population base of 4 million) out of their wallets each year to sustain their transit system, an amount equalling the annual price of this deal for outdoor advertising giant Pattison.

The subway, despite its frequent overcrowding and sometimes unreliable service, is one of the greatest things about Toronto – in that it gives everyone an opportunity to pop up, gopher-like, all over the city.  The subway is a key shaper of this city’s pattern of movement and is fundamental to what Torontonians can do – and therefore to who they are, and to what they can be.

While it’s true that something so important shouldn’t be for sale, the real point is that we should be willing to pay for it.

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