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22 Comments

news

Turning Japanese

2007_6_26SonyCentre.jpg
The Toronto Star revealed Tuesday that the Hummingbird Centre has sold its naming rights to Sony for $3 million for a term of ten years. Sony has the option of buying themselves ten more years for an additional $2 million.
Even though the Hummingbird Centre is a public institution, the public had no say in this matter, as the identity of the high bidder was kept secret until City Council’s Executive Committee had already approved the deal in a closed session.
As we wrote last week, the Centre has always been named after corporations—O’Keefe was a brewery, and Hummingbird was a software developer—but at least those companies were Toronto-based.
So now Yonge Street has the Panasonic, the Canon, and the Sony. How long before the Elgin is renamed the Samsung? Torontoist is setting the over-under at 2010.
Photo by greggue on Flickr.

Comments

  • WannaBinToranna

    No sex, no drugs, no wine, no women
    No fun, no sin, no you, no wonder it’s dark
    Everyone around me is a total stranger
    Everyone avoids me like a cyclone ranger

  • Jonathan Goldsbie

    It really would be such a great song if it weren’t kinda racist. I mean, I have it in my iTunes library, but I feel a little guilty every time I listen to it.
    (I’m glad the new system hasn’t discouraged you from commenting, Steve.)

  • guest

    Hold on…
    Unlike the other three companied named, Samsung is Korean, not Japanese!

  • Jonathan Goldsbie

    You know, it didn’t even occur to me that both Panasonic and Canon are Japanese. Given that fact, I concede that the joke would have been funnier and made more sense if I had gone with Casio, Fuji, JVC, Sanyo, Toshiba, or Yamaha. (Toronto already has a Ricoh Coliseum.) I just happened to have a Samsung camera sitting on my desk as I wrote the post.

  • guest

    As long as it puts Sony that much closer to total failure, I think I can tolerate it for 10 years. The way Sony’s fumbling, the Hummingbird Centre might be the only property they’re left with some day.
    (This anonymous guest stuff is nonsense.)

  • Eunice

    Samsung is a Korean company.

  • guest

    It is so damn commercial to name cultural buildings by company names…. Apart few isolated examples, we here in Europe still have our stadiums or operas called ‘normally’…
    By the way, does it bother you to find out every few years, that some historic places, for instance theathers change their names?
    It deepens the feeling that in America you do not have (or rather consciuosly do not cultivate) history…

  • guest

    Corporate naming cheapens whatever it touches.
    There have been recent re-namings in particular the name Enron was taken off some playing field.
    I can remember when Richard Nixon’s name was removed from schools, libraries and public places.
    One interesting renaming was the Attorney General’s building at Bay and Gerrard. They took down the name Clara Brett Martin because an article in Toronto Life revealed that she was not only one of the first female lawyers but she was a Jew-hating lesbian! Hence the renaming.

  • WannaBinToranna

    I certaainly didn’t mean to offend by putting up the lyrics…if I did, I pre-apologize. it was meant to be fun.
    But the larger picture of corporations slapping their logo and stamp on everything is depressing.
    Like I’m gonna walk by a building or what used to be a landmark and say, this was built, once, to honor maybe people who died in battle, or maybe it was for a founder of the city…but now Samsung is using it as ad space…that reminds me, I haven’t bought a plasma TV in a while, but from what company?
    - This comment was brought to you by Pepsi…Pepsi, be unique, like 200 million other people…and go see “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”, in theatres now…really…go…Pepsi commands you”

  • guest

    Jonathan – what kind of public consultation do you feel would be workable?
    In this city consultation is a joke anyway (Lansdowne narrowing, the new taxes meetings to name two recent examples)
    new names only matter to the media as they might lose advertising or other stuff if they fail to toe the PR line on new names. But I’m a private citizen so unless Ted wants to cut off my cable I’m still calling Skydome by the name citizens gave it.

  • Gloria

    Can you imagine if opera houses like La Scala or galleries like the Louvre were named … the Sony Centre? *chokes*

  • brokenengine

    I personally don’t care either way about corporate naming. It’s just a place, just a name. I hear you all and your concerns, but it’s just NOT on my radar, AT ALL. Never understood why people get so up in arms about it.

  • WannaBinToranna

    Broken, You’re not looking at the big picture or where all of this is heading. It’s not just a place or a name. It is that no one but corporations have any money for anything. The corporations have more money and power than most small countries. They are, if you haven’t noticed, buying up EVERYTHING, because apparently, everything is for sale. So, the corporations get their logo out there, more advertising, more money, then they start eating each other and become one big giant corporation that runs everything. Now, do you think they will stop at arenas or parks? Whatever space that is still untouched, whatever activity or service you utilize or enjoy…if there is not someone making a profit off of it, it is driving them nuts and they WILL find a way to get their greedy hands on it. “Why is this free, when there’s so much money to be made, why is this named a War Memorial” when we can spend the money for repairs, remodelling, extra seats and slap our logo on it and make it profitable.
    Corporations do not follow the same set of rules as everybody else. They are without remorse or conscience. Go to any company and tell them you’ve been a lifelong customer, and you love their product….then ask THEM for something…maybe something a little extra or free. Yeah.
    You are throwing yourself at their mercy and assuming THEY know what’s best for the community.They do not care about being a part of the community or it’s people…as sooon as a location becomes not-profitable, it will drop it and pull out and not look back
    Public Libraries must be like what garlic is to a vampire. They’re already working on the schools. “All those who get an “A” on the test will get a free 12 pk of Mountain Dew”

  • brokenengine

    Um, but why are you blaming the corporations? Last time I checked, they can’t MAKE anyone sell to them. Blame the people that sell out to a corporation if it bothers you.
    Me, I don’t care if the park is owned by Sony, as long as the park is there. But I see your point, that if the park is then sold to condo developers, thats a problem. But if the person is willing to sell something to a corporation, they are willing to sell to anyone, right?
    Again, the fault is in the seller, not he buyer.

  • scarbie doll

    Not sure if you guys read this, but it looks like Canadian schools are going the same direction.
    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/070623/oddities/canada_education_offbeat
    Taco Bell High anyone?

  • Jonathan Goldsbie

    I certaainly didn’t mean to offend by putting up the lyrics…if I did, I pre-apologize. it was meant to be fun.
    Oh no, you didn’t do anything wrong at all.
    The offensive bit is that — in the context of the song — the phrase “turning Japanese” apparently refers to masturbation, in that people tend to squint when they reach orgasm.
    Jonathan – what kind of public consultation do you feel would be workable?
    I wasn’t thinking public consultation so much as an opportunity for public comment. Public consultation in this City is indeed a joke, although it should be noted that it’s not the fault of the City’s public consultation unit (which is very good at what it does) that the public’s opinion is inevitably ignored when it comes time for staff to make recommendations to Council.
    I was thinking that the least Council could do would be to allow the public to know what companies are interested in purchasing naming rights before a deal is finalized, thus giving people a chance to make deputations and contact their councillors with their thoughts.
    Public Libraries must be like what garlic is to a vampire.
    I have an article about that coming up later this afternoon.

  • WannaBinToranna

    I know what the song is about, but thanks: – )

  • Adam CF

    “Um, but why are you blaming the corporations? Last time I checked, they can’t MAKE anyone sell to them. Blame the people that sell out to a corporation if it bothers you.”
    It’s actually a funny (read: disasterous) little cycle. The corporations lobby intensely for endless tax freezes/cuts/breaks. In the Mulroney/Chretien/Martin/Harper/Lastman/Harris/Eves/McGuinty eras those requests are granted. Then the public institutions have a large gap in their budget that has to be made up. Then the corporation pops up when they see an opportunity to exploit the position of the financially starved public institution. And, voila, you’ve got yourself a corporate sponsorship.
    This cycle becomes painfully obvious when David Miller, who made a career out of busting Mel Lastman’s moronic private partnerships, is forced to defend privatizing street furniture. Or when Shelley Carroll explained to me that she can’t say no to the City of Toronto’s soft drink deal with Pepsi because she doesn’t want to tell Timmy and Tammy that their soccer league is going to be cut. Or when the Toronto District School Board is forced to overturn their decision to completely abondon a soft drink contract when their staff tell them they won’t be able to balance the budget without it.
    Corporate sponsorship might be nice in theory to some people but in practice it’s anything but nice. When an issue arises where it’s public interest versus private (sponsor) interest, it isn’t the public interest that takes priority.
    At no time is this clearer than when a sponsorship deal that is about to expire needs to be renegotiated. Since the public body has budgeted for a private sponsor to continue maintaining the building or program being sposnored it’ll need to find someone who will pay the required money.
    To a business, this is like Christmas morning.

  • rek

    In other news, the pope still shits in the woods. Toronto gets screwed from every direction, even in things meant to alleviate some of the screwing.

  • WannaBinToranna

    “Then the public institutions have a large gap in their budget that has to be made up. Then the corporation pops up when they see an opportunity to exploit the position of the financially starved public institution. And, voila, you’ve got yourself a corporate sponsorship.”
    - You answered your’ own question, do you want to blame the institutions who sell to them when they are being exploited? If you were starving, and your’ absolute worst enemy offered you food, would you refuse it?
    Again, this is the problem when the only “people” with any money are corporations…these are NOT the people we want to have the money and influence. If I were a religious person, I’d sooner sell my soul to Satan. When a city says, “We want to fix this…but we don’t have the money”….somewhere, the collective ears of corporate hyenas prick up.

  • Adam CF

    WannaBin, I didn’t ask a question. I was addressing the rhetorical question posed by brokenengine.

  • WannaBinToranna

    Sorry, I was addressing this…”Um, but why are you blaming the corporations?”