1) I saw an article in National Post (yes, I read or skim three or four newspapers a day - three Canadian papers and The Wall Street Journal - what of it?) the other day that mentioned that Toronto city council is going to vote on a new look for street signs in the city. I had seen this awhile back but had forgotten about it completely. Now it's top of mind again, so I'm bringing it to the blog.
At the risk of sounding like Dwight Schrute - Question: Didn't Toronto already decide on new street signs about three years ago? They look like the old signs, white with black lettering, only they're much bigger. I wasn't crazy about them, but - and I'm sure this will not surprise my regular readers, because you are by now familiar with how cranky, crochety and contrarian I can be - I'm even less thrilled with the new design.
Seeing as city council can't even pose for a group photo without throwing a tantrum, we might be safe from the new signs for a little while. I hope so. I really don't like them.
Why? Well, one reason is that I think they're ugly, but this is just a personal judgment. They look like they would be more at home in a shopping mall than a city, pointing the way to the toilets and the pay phones and the food court.
But the main problem with them is that they will get dated, so fast. It may be that they look funky and stylish in 2007, but in five years or less, they will look old and tacky. Guaranteed. And for that reason alone, I just don't think it would be wise to use them. Street signs need a more classic, enduring style. Do we want to look like we're stuck in a time-warp? Is this the image we want to project to tourists flocking to Toronto from Syracuse and Pittsburgh?
I wish I had gone to the public meetings. Sigh.
2) It seems that Parc Avenue in Montreal will keep its name after all. Last fall, the city councillors voted to change it to "Robert Bourassa", in honour of the late premier. Montrealers, especially those living and working on Av du Parc, were outraged, and rightly so. Parc is one of those streets in Montreal that has a personality, a character, a culture. Changing the name to Robert Bourassa would have been twenty kinds of wrong. I can't give you a logical or rational reason why it would have been wrong, but it's not about logic or reason. It's pyschological and emotional. People develop strong relationships with certain spaces, and Parc is one of those spaces, and you just don't mess with that. I'm glad the mayor has changed his mind.