Littering the Waterfront with Corporate Names

Is Burger King’s Quay a future street name?” asks the Toronto Star this morning.

Waterfront Toronto is so starved of cash — why? are the Feds not ponying up? is the Province hemming and hawing instead of providing financial incentive to get it going? the city is broke, that we know! — that it’s considering giving corporations naming rights to our Waterfront.

Great. Now instead of a relaxing and pleasing-to-the-eye landscape, a place of beauty and rest, especially for Torontonians unable to leave the city for vacation spots, we’ll have a length of lakefront dotted with inane names like Rogers Centre. It’s bad enough the government reneged on their promise to keep the name SkyDome, but now we’re told that we may have every single square mm of our visual landscape littered with these stupid names, which names will be guaranteed to change everytime the Waterfront needs more money and a different company steps up to the plate.

To wit, I am now completely lost as to where I’m supposed to go with some venues as the name changes every time I turn around, it seems.  I even get stopped on the street and asked for directions to such-and-such a place, except that that place no longer exists, well, it physically exists, just that the name no longer applies. This is the big problem when you follow the American model instead of the European model and when the big governments swimming in cash do not fund the small governments and public property properly.

5 Comments so far

  1. wklis on April 7th, 2008 @ 6:48 pm

    The O’Keefe Centre opened in 1960 and was owned by the O’Keefe Brewing Company until 1968, when ownership was transferred to Metro Toronto. It became the Hummingbird Centre in 1996, and Sony Centre in 2006.
    I still think of it as the O’Keefe Centre.
    Just like I don’t know where the shopping mall "Roger Centre" is, but I do know where the Skydome is.
    It’s a good thing the Princess of Wales Theatre was so named so in 1993, and not some corporate name.

  2. sevi on April 9th, 2008 @ 9:24 am

    I loathe the name "Roger’s Centre." I still haven’t gotten used to it and I still refer to it as the Skydome.
    I wouldn’t particularly care if there was corporate funding in exchange for some ad space or something along those lines, but it really gets to me when they feel it’s appropriate to re-brand something that has been a Toronto institution for years.

    That said, it seems like we’ll never get funding from the province or the feds and I wonder which would be the lesser of two evils: Waiting for the government to step in and having the waterfront fall into a more dismal state of disrepair, or sucking it up and taking corporate funding.

    I already feel like Toronto has sold out and given up our charm in favour of corporate business… That toronto unlimited logo is the worst looking "tourism logo" P.O.S that our city ever wasted their money on.

  3. talk talk talk (tor_pario) on April 9th, 2008 @ 11:28 am

    wklis, yes there are a few theatres whose names won’t be changing anytime soon and aren’t corporate brands either!

    sevi, from the lack of media coverage about the name change and the face the name wasn’t supposed to change from SkyDome to anything else, I’d thought I was one of the few miffed about it (but then the media have piss poor memories and don’t seem to know how to look up stuff, unlike the rest of us). Glad to know I have company! I agree with you about selling out. What’s worse is that Council, while saying they’re all for history and being green, stand by and do nothing when developers and owners allow a building they can’t take down fall down from neglect. We’ve lost some beautiful buildings that way.

  4. sevi on April 10th, 2008 @ 10:37 am

    Talk Talk Talk,

    You’re definitely not the only one. Most people I know don’t like the name change, but they’ve become apathetic.
    We have definitely lost some beautiful buildings.
    Unfortunately I just don’t know what Olivia Chow’s complaining will accomplish. She has a great track record for being angry but no-one on council takes her seriously.

  5. talk talk talk (tor_pario) on April 10th, 2008 @ 3:10 pm

    I’m afraid I missed that — what was Olivia Chow complaining about? And isn’t she in Parliament now? Is she still focussing on municipal affairs? It would be nice if someone up there in Ottawa took Toronto’s needs seriously, instead of watching it slide into the gutter while they toss us cheap band-aids.

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