To Hide and Protect


Royson James has a great piece in the Toronto Star today critiquing the 2.4-metre-high cedar fences being erected around Toronto police stations. These tall fences make the police look like they are afraid of seige. If the police are afraid what are the rest of us supposed to be feeling? Fences are a subtle but essential element that demarks the boundary between public and private spaces. The height and transparency of fences are signs of openness and public engagement. Tall solid fences are not appropriate along public streets as James points out in his article:

Robert Frost wasn’t talking about our neighbourhood police station when he wrote, “Good fences make good neighbours.” These fences are neither good nor neighbourly.


  1. i noticed this at the division down the street from my old apartment in etobicoke– i wasn’t even sure if the station was still there, or under construction or what. anyway, this is just the latest and most overt fuck-you to toronto and its citizens. off the top of my head:
    -the weird highway barriers that have been outside 52 division for the last couple of years
    -moving 51 from regent to the no-place site on parliament where there’s nothing but a few upscale shops, the distillery and a bunch of homeless people– hardly a “neighbourhood” on par with regent park, not a useful place to walk a beat
    -TPS HQ itself, a total post-modern fortress, complete with turrets and, considering the maze of ramps and elevated walkways facing college, basically a moat too. frontage is huge, entrance is tiny and, considering it takes up half a city block, it says a lot that there is ONLY the one public entrance.

  2. i remember seeing these first out at todd baylis drive and thinking the same things mentioned in the article – namely it doesn’t look very community friendly to me and how freaking expensive it does look

    next time they ask for a helicopter, just tell ’em to sell the wood

    and cedar??? why build a security fence out of the most expensive building material we can find?

Comments are closed.