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Spotted: A Graffiti Plea

SPOTTED BY: Twitter user Carla D.

WHERE: The back of 533 Richmond Street West.

WHEN: Monday, April 23.

WHAT: Mayor Rob Ford has been pursuing an aggressive anti-graffiti agenda, the focus of which is encouraging people to report vandalism when it appears on walls. The trouble is that when a defaced wall is reported to the City, it’s the owner of the building—not the vandal—who has to bear the cost of cleanup. Effectively, the City’s graffiti rules punish victims. Some bear the perceived injustice quietly, while others remonstrate with the City. This person, though, has taken a more original approach. Maybe kids who aren’t dissuaded by the bylaw will be swayed by this laminated sign. Who knows? In any case, it’s cheaper than paint.

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  • DEVO

    It’s worth noting that these policies have been on the books in Toronto for much longer than Rob Ford has been in office.

    • AEM

      Have any of the previous administrations gone out of their way to punish business owners that do not object to grafitti like this one has? I honestly don’t know, but I don’t remember this ever being an issue in the 30+ years I have lived in this city. Seems incredibly ridiculous to me that business owners are being punished for something almost entirely beyond their control. I truly feel for these business owners being extorted by City Hall for the sole purpose of salvaging some of Mayor Ford’s pride. Gross :(

      • Anonymous

        Yes. The graffiti bylaw was aggressively enforced by Howard Moscoe, chair of Municipal Licensing and Standards. He dismissed business complaints, saying that removing graffiti was part of a business’s “responsibility as a citizen.” In 2008, the Toronto Star said Moscoe was “blaming the victim for the crime.”

    • OutsideLookingIn

      Rob fords administration is the only one in recent memory to target business owners. Know your facts before you troll

      • Anonymous

        Uh, I don’t think it’s trolling to point that out. Nevertheless it’s probably a bad idea to have such a law on the books for the very reason that someone in power might use it.

        • OutsideLookingIn

          Making comments on subjects which you are uninformed about, just to get a reaction is trolling.

          • Curious_toronto_guy

            Considering your comment came SIX HOURS after JohnfromTO posted something to inform you about the truth, it seems that you are the one uninformed. Did you even read the Star’s article? Or can you?

      • Anonymous

        It’s going to be so cool to beat Anti-Business Rob Ford over the head with this come election time…

  • Andrew Smith


  • Anonymous
  • Side_kid

    Stop whining then, and commission something.

  • Yonge

    Everyone below… its not business owners that are responsible, it is building owners (landlords). Myself as a landlord have painted the rear (alley) of my building over and over again, only to have it tagged and tagged. The rules the city has isn’t really working out as typically high school kids continue to mark up the exterior walls once they see a fresh new “canvas”.

  • Pete

    ha ha ha ha she’s asking people with no respect to have respect ha ha ha ha

    also, if she likes art on her property, commission something then tell the city to go f itself

  • Anonymous

    If the city is against tagging, then it has to see to it that the vandals are punished. The underlying assumption that if property owners quickly clean up the tags, it will decline as a problem is not that valid without a strong effort on the part of law enforcement to track down and arrest the vandals. Their serial vandalism adds up over time to thousands of dollars (if not tens of thousands) in property crime. The logical punishment is removing graffiti as community service, but graffiti may seem like a petty crime in law and hence punishable generically with a fine.

    At the end of the day, it’s unlikely that most victims will get anything out of attempts to catch the taggers besides the possibility of less tagging in the future, so they must unfortunately clean up the graffiti by law currently. The solution to this flawed system of “punishing” the victim with mandatory clean up may be a city service that removes graffiti on both public and private property akin to Chicago’s Graffiti Blasters. It would cost money to taxpayers, but by having everyone impacted by these vandals could create a culture that bands together democratically to take on vandals and better accommodate real street artists with a greater number of legitimate opportunities.