Walking down Spadina Avenue between College and Dundas streets, you might completely miss them, so well do they blend in with the street scene. But stop by one of Chinatown’s many municipal trash bins, let your eyes wander up slightly, and you might see one, attached to a utility pole, doing its best imitation of a yellow-jacket. Chinatown has some new signage, and the gist seems to be that you really must drop that bag of miscellaneous rotting crud someplace else, no matter what language you speak.
Actually, that’s a pretty reasonable request.
These signs appeared without notice or fanfare at some point during the past two weeks. The timing would seem to suggest a relationship with the city workers’ strike, which has caused garbage to accumulate rapidly on Chinatown’s sidewalks, particularly in the vicinities of its trash bins. Business owners have been mitigating the problem by hiring private contractors to clean up at intervals. Our intrepid photographer managed to catch a pair of them doing their thing in the pouring rain (picture after the jump). Torontoist reminds you to always smell-test before U Haul.
Transportation Services handles all things dealing with street signs in Toronto and they are affected by the strike, but a representative with the city’s Access Toronto help line said that signs of this nature could well have been installed by non-union city staff.
The phone number on the signs belongs to the City of Toronto’s Waste Enforcement Hotline, which greets callers with a message informing them that they may report illegal dumping, or any other waste enforcement bylaw infraction, after the beep.
It’s doubtful that the city would slap anyone with a ten thousand dollar fine over a dropped cup of bubble tea, but they do have it in their power to inflict penalties on those who litter.
Chinatown’s troubled relationship with Toronto Public Health and the press―a relationship that Adam Vaughan, for one, thinks might have been marked by a “tinge of racism” from the get-go―means this summer’s strike can only have been several bags of (actual) decomposing lemons on a (figurative) fresh wound for merchants and restauranteurs in the area.
Won’t you please be nice to Chinatown? They’ve had enough of this crap.
Hat tip to Ryan North.
Photos by Michael Chrisman/Torontoist.