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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Ad creep that looks cool but isn’t that cool

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The TTC streetcar shelter at King and Bathurst was recently converted into a 3D ad for Coors Light. The artistic side of me can see the creativity in an ad like this, but the public space advocate in me thinks its just stupid. It always seems ridiculous to me to see our important infrastructure being turned into promotional tools. I’m comfortable with how the ads are displayed normally as they don’t (usually) affect the overall feel of a streetscape or hinder the sight lines of waiting transit riders. But these added 3D installations just make a shelter feel cheap and anyone inside the shelter an unwilling participant in the ad campaign.

Or maybe I’m just ticked because the shelter looks so refreshingly cool — with frosted windows on two sides — when I pass by on my bike, dripping with sweat (I did see an older, sweaty man go inside the shelter the other day thinking it was some kind of cooler; he cursed out loud when he realized he’d been duped).

photo by Bouke Salverda



  1. Gee, they forgot to write “Colder Than Most People From Toronto” on it…

  2. …Its almost like these new shelters were designed to become giant ads. Nawww I am just being paranoid.

    Shawn what do you say?

  3. It’s a nice change from the normal ads on the bus shelters. It’s certainly thinking outside of the box.

  4. Do Canadians drink Coors Light?! *barf*

  5. there’s another one of these going up as we speak on King just east of Yonge …

  6. scottd> I think I don’t see the shelters anymore – just don’t care, so I’ve got them on casual auto-block. This would stick out though — just bad/ugly design. Giant cartoonish can on the street. Aesthetic atrocities, though, are everywhere.

  7. TTC says that all their advertizing revenue doesn’t come to even 1% of their total revenue. And for this we are prostituting the public realm? It’s as if collectively we have no self-respect.

    Now if some corporate sponsor wanted to give us a billion dollars a year, we could rename the TTC the Rogers Rockets!

  8. horrifying. It was bad enough to see the roll out of these shelter & bin monstrosities; now we have to have even bigger ads thrown in our faces. Marketers seem to think that the bigger the offending piece of blue or grey plastic, the better our city looks. Gah.

    [And I have to agree with Joseph Kelly’s comment: DO Canadians drink Coor’s Light??]

  9. I don’t mind advertising on transit shelters, I really don’t. However, this just looks cheap, garish and perhaps a sign of a city desperate for cash.

  10. I’m tired of transit shelter ads hindering the view for not only riders, but transit drivers as well. More than once I have had buses drive by while I wait in the bus shelter. The very placement of these shelters is lacking as well.

  11. “Do Canadians drink Coors Light?! *barf*”

    Sadly, Canadian drink a lot of Coors light.

  12. I don’t think TTC get shelter revenue – that’s part of the Astral Street Furniture program, not CBS’ TTC contract for stations and vehicles.

    Open to correction…

  13. I don’t mind the looks or public space issues of these things.

    Worst thing about this one @ King & Bathurst was the flying styrofoam debris left from the packaging they came out of. Almost as if it was snowing the next morning… or is that part of the campaign?

  14. It’s almost ridiculous how predictably negative the comments for this were going to be.

    It’s advertising; and by all accounts it’s pretty clever. It’s garnered an entire post in this blog, which proves that it’s effective.

    Like it or not, it works, and it’s everywhere. I ride by it every day, and it doesn’t protrude into the streets, or seem to block anyone’s view.

    Just try not being negative for once.

  15. It’s only effective if it makes you buy Coors light.

  16. I think the shelter looks great.
    Just my POV.

    Adds a little creativity to the concrete jungle.

    Hey if TTC wants to make money off advertising that is great, sure beats having the fares go up.

  17. If one person reads this blog and ends up buying Coors Light, then it’s effective.

    It definitely is effective in that it makes you think about Coors, whether in a positive or negative light.

  18. Aaron: this is the thing — Coors is already saturated the market and has such a large share that it doesn’t need to do this kind of stuff. I doubt anyone buys a Coors Light because they saw this shelter. And if they did, I have some property for a rice paddy in Arizona I’d like to sell.

  19. micky: fair enough. But to call this ineffectual or stupid is a bit ignorant I’d say.