If a ride along Harbord Street over the past few days had made you feel like you’re stuck in an old episode of the Batman TV series, do not be alarmed. They may be onomatopoeias, but they mean no harm.
The painted-on words-that-sound-like-their-sounds (“OUCH!” “THUNK!” “OOF!” “YIPE!”) and words-that-are-more-exclamations (“holy cr*p!”) each point to a new potential hazard for a cyclist along Harbord: a deep crack here, a bump there. They were splashed onto Harbord over the past few days; reader Liz McLaughlin spotted them on Monday and sent us an email, noting that they were “preeeeeeeetty funny.”
The excited purple stencils are the work of the Urban Repair Squad—the same gang responsible for some of the more imaginative pedestrian- and cyclist-centric touchups in the past few years, including a beautiful river painted onto Crawford Street to aid those crossing it.
In a statement passed on to Torontoist, a member of the Squad who identified themselves as Saddletramp explained:
“The action-hero drama of dodging obstacles and potholes, escaping devil-may-care drivers in super-fast cars, and braving the fierce, temperamental elements, may seem, and feel, quite comic. Unless you’re face-down on the pavement. With some wit, we endeavour to provide warning with humour; suggest danger with comedy; invite caution without frightening…and most importantly, we appeal to our fine city to remember that potholes aren’t just uncomfortable, they really, really hurt.”
Clap clap clap clap.
Photos by Remi Carreiro/Torontoist.