If you live or spend any time in Toronto you may have heard about a man who was seriously injured when a gigantic billboard came untethered from the Eaton Centre during high winds on Wednesday and landed on his head.
I think this speaks to a much bigger problem and that is the increasing heights of ridiculousness (maybe that’s not a word) that advertisers are going to to get us to buy their products. Worse, and more shameful, how the City rolls over and pretends not to notice despite the fact that in many cases the advertising contravenes existing municipal by-laws
"Hey, I know what’s a good idea! Video billboards placed right beside the off-ramp so people can see them exiting the highway! That’s not a safety issue at all!" And yes, I know ipods are fucking amazing, I don’t need to see an entire subway station wrapped in that cling wrap stuff in order to convince me. You know what, I know I live in a city and that exposure to advertising is part of life in a city but come on now. When I can’t identify a garbage can because it’s disguised as advertising, we’ve got a big problem. I know I’m prone to exaggeration, but one of these monstrosities lives in my neighbourhood and it really does take a few minutes to figure out where to put your trash and/or recyclables.
Toronto Public Space Committee has developed a cool initiative (might be interesting even if you live in another city) called the Billboard Battalion to try to put the brakes on the excessive advertising we’re being subjected to. Check it out if you’ve got a few minutes a week for a more beautiful, and, ultimately less dangerous place to call home.