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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Spacing’s buttons one of decades best things

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The National Post has picked Spacing’s launch of Toronto subway buttons in 2005 as one of the decades as one of the best examples of how Torontonians are more engaged with their city.

2005 The urban activists behind Spacing magazine created a batch of one-inch buttons featuring the tile designs and colour schemes of TTC subway platforms. We at the Post deemed them to be “the civic pride fashion statement of the year” and Mayor David Miller reportedly handed them out gleefully as if they were oversized Smarties. The magazine sold about 35,000 buttons in 2005. “People for the most part are proud of where they live and want to show that off,” says Matt Blackett, publisher of Spacing magazine. Blackett tried all year to team up with the TTC to sell and market the pins. But the killjoys at the transit commission said it wouldn’t be feasible. However, Adam Giambrone, city councillor and TTC chair, said recently that there is still hope. “The Spacing subway buttons have been a terrific way for Toronto’s communities to engage with their neighbourhoods and really take notice of some of the little things around us.” Since then, more than 120,000 buttons have been sold. They’ve been shipped all over the world, Japan being the biggest market for them. And now you can get Spacing’s newly released 1954 classic subway station buttons.



  1. Where can we buy the 1954 buttons? Is it possible to buy them through your online store – I don’t see them.

  2. At Swipe Books. They are not available for mail order at the moment so that people could buy them directly at stores and not have to wait until after the holidays to receive them.

  3. Swipe Books is certainly a good venue for it! I’ve been to the place a couple of times over the years and it’s a cool place among bookstores.

    For out-of-towners unfamiliar with the store:

  4. ” killjoys at the transit commission said it wouldn’t be feasible” … definitive TTC attitude … TTC marketingFAIL. Yay Spacing!

  5. With regard to the headline, there’s an apostrophe in “decade’s.”

  6. I stopped by Swipe to pick up one of your town buttons, Long Branch.

    The town buttons don’t work as well as the subway buttons; they’re too small. Even the simple Long Branch crest is too small to make out. The town buttons should be at least twice the size.

    I forgot about the original subway set–I guess I’ll have to go back to Swipe (now that I know how to find it!)