What TTC shwag should look like

I’m jealous Marc Lostracco from Torontoist beat me to this — I’ve been thinking (and sketching) the designs I’d like to see on clothing for the TTC for a year now. Marc has pulled together a few good designs (certainly much better, and creative, than the one pushed by Legacy Sportswear, the TTC shwag suppiler). You can see one of my designs at the bottom of the post. Read Marc’s post from Torontoist (and the read the growing list of comments — it was at 38 this morning).

We really would want some TTC merch if it looked cool, like New York’s or London’s. We can’t bring ourselves to buy any of the current overpriced stuff because we have a set of working eyeballs.

By ignoring Matt Blackett’s ultra-brilliant Spacing subway buttons and dropping a cease-and-desist on RobotJohnny’s anagram route map, the Commission marooned the best public relations projects in its recent history. Since then, the TTC has unveiled its hideous stock at their Union Station merch store — called Transit Stuff to appeal to the coool kids — and after virtually universal dislike of the product, they go and renew their exclusive contract with Legacy Sportswear for another five years. Sigh.

So, while the TTC is offering dowdy pewter pins perfect for grandpa’s fishing hat collection, read-on to see how we imagined some way more palatable swag that somebody might actually buy. We tried to keep it simple and familiar for mass appeal, but we’d also like to see what some of our local artists could whip-up for the more hipster vibe.

See these designs while you can, however, because we’ve seen how the TTC treats this kind of customer enthusiasm. We have a feeling that most of them are only going to be viewable for a limited time.


  1. I love that! Rich colour, but catchy graphic. Maybe you guys should get together.

  2. For a while I’ve had my own streetcar-themed shirt in mind, too.

    One day I’ll get around to roughing it out.

  3. Just a note from far away Germany (and a big hello over the ocean):

    After my last trip to visit family in Toronto, I discovered the Spacing Subway Buttons online – and absolutely fell in love with them. I called my sister (who was still in Toronto and not yet back in Germany like me) and told her to buy the one featuring “Runnymede Station”, as this was my starting point for all trips to the city – I could hardly wait for her to come home with it! I adore the buttons and I’m often asked about it when wearing it.

    It sure is my all-time favorite souvenir from Toronto!

    Greetings from Braunschweig/Germany,
    *Johanna Dietrich*

    P.S.: Those shirts look great! I could imagine “guest designs” as well, Designers from other countries who stayed in Toronto for a visit featuring their personal view/favorite part of the adventure … just and idea 🙂

  4. Excellent T-shirts!

    I especially like the red shirt.

  5. Marvelous. I want a streetcar one. I find Marc L.’s designs a little hit-and-miss, but with so many of ’em, there’s plenty of hits there too.

    Are you listening, commissioners? Let’s hope the crew we elect in November takes this sort of thing to heart.

  6. These are all pretty cool. If I may make a suggestion, I’d love to see a “Blue Night” one.

  7. I’m wondering if it’d be a little too raunchy if some of these motifs were cheekily applied to other clothing items as well: pants, underwear, etc…

  8. I love “Mind the Gap”. Some of the designs get me excited about what can be done – why not turn the Spacing button designs into a T-Shirt? Or do a T-shirt with a streetcar or subway rollsign, customizable to your favourite line? Finally designs that match what NYC has.

    It’s funny – even SEPTA in Philly has a transit museum and store, and SEPTA’s no MTA or TTC. I wonder of the TTC transit stuff store is purposely half-assed to “show” there’s no demand.

  9. Sean M writes: I wonder of the TTC transit stuff store is purposely half-assed to “show” there’s no demand.

    You’re assuming that the TTC even thinks about this kind of stuff. It doesn’t.

  10. A friend and I tried approaching the TTC in 2002 with this sort of idea (inspired by marketing efforts of the Berlin transit system, the BVG, who sold more than 40000 pairs of underwear with saucy double entendre station names). Our efforts were documented by Dale Duncan in the Transit issue of Spacing (#6), see http://spacing.ca/archives/29/. Our hope was to use the money raised by such merchandise sales to fund a route planner for the TTC. Our proposal ended up in “procurement” and then it was clear why: the exclusive contract with Legacy. Which was unbelievably renewed in August. Truly, sigh.

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