What’s wrong with this photo?
I took the above photo on Spadina’s subway platform back in early December with the hope of making a post about it soon after. Sadly, it got lost in my ever expanding to-do list. But since the photo was taken, I’ve seen more and more of the bins appearing on other station platforms.
So, here is what’s wrong with this photo: after the attacks on the World Trade Centre back in 2001, the TTC decided to evaluate the safety of Toronto’s subway system. One of the recommendations was to remove the old, bulky cement-and-tile garbage bins. Why? Someone could put a bomb in a bin. Safety trumps cleanliness in the TTC’s eyes so the bins were removed. In many stations you can still see circular markings where those bins stood (the above photo has a marking under the left bin).
Sadly, these old bins were sent to the scrap heap or dumped in Tommy Thompson Park (see photo below). Clear plastic bag bins were installed on the upper level of stations. This was a good from one perspective: riders had recycling options for their trash for the first time. The bad side: it meant subway trains and platforms contained much more litter, especially with the explosion of transit newspapers like Metro and 24 Hours.
The other sad part of the bin removal program was that these big trash containers, in some cases, were quite attractive and complemented the tile and colour design of stations. Instead of throwing them away, the TTC could’ve made them available to the public, BIAs or other businesses. I can easily see the bins being used in backyards or outside a store as plant or flower containers.
I suspect the TTC realized that their initial policy was over-the-top, and the return of the bins to the platform is a small, but positive, step to dealing with the mess that TTC riders make on a daily basis.
photo by Sam Javanrouh