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Spotted: Ghost Bike Posts

Stenciled bike posts where real ones were once installed—removed by Astral Media to make way for information pillars.

SPOTTED BY: Martin Reis

WHERE: College Street and Manning Avenue

WHEN: Saturday, April 28

WHAT: Back in November, we learned that Astral Media, which has a contract with the City of Toronto to provide street furniture (bus shelters, trash bins, et cetera) had been cutting down bike posts to make room for their new (and reviled-by-many, including us) information pillars—not just removing them but sawing them off, rendering the posts unusable and the bikes that were still locked to them an easy target for theft. This weekend, at the site of one such removal: painted reminders of the cycling infrastructure that was.

UPDATE: 7:21 PM We have now confirmed that the stencils come courtesy of the Urban Repair Squad and Mexico City-based collective Camina, Haz Ciudad. The two groups also worked together recently to create the temporary Wyle E. Ford bike lane for the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Spotted features interesting things our readers discover in their journeys across Toronto. If you spot something interesting, send a photo and pertinent details to


  • therandomdialer888

    Might the solution be to get an extra long chain and lock your bike to the information pillar itself?

    Astral’s design/engineering team is awful. Along with these terrible pillar things, their replacement bus shelters are cold and windy and let the rain in, not to mention the glass gets broken all the time.

    • Anonymous

      Astral’s design/engineering team doesn’t give a damn about what users think. They’ve optimized ad viewing angles, and that’s all.

    • Anonymous

      The solution is to get an extra long chain and lock your truck to the information pillar, then drive away.

  • Melissa Carter

    I’m shocked that noone has mentioned visibility issue yet. If these at intersections, they are a HUGE safety concern.

    •!/gracingthestage Steve Fisher

      Melissa—we did, in our “Villains” citation, state that the placement of the posts in many places blocks visibility for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, and as such, are an accident waiting to happen.

      As a recent Spacing post pointed out, it’s solely due to lack of oversight by the City of Toronto that this was allowed to happen. In Vancouver, municipal authorities did their due diligence, and mitigated the negative impact of info pillars on their streets in several ways:

      • Melissa Carter

        Oversight my aunt fanny. They couldn’t see through the dollar signs in their eyes.

  • ASStral… Haha

    I like how in the first shots they cut down a tree, and a bunch of bike posts nowhere near the ad board. Is anyone else as pissed off as I am about this?

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, it’s overkill. If the Astral pillar had to go up, maybe one or two bike posts needed to be sacrificed, but the tree could have stayed. In fact it might eventually have provided some nice shade for people looking at the pillar (assuming there was something useful posted on it).

      • Anonymous



        • Anonymous

          How about a nice picture of a tree on the pillar?

          • Anonymous

            Only if we can get a paper supplies company to sponsor the picture.

  • Jpeck

    Astral, or someone, should fill us in on how they’re replacing those spots. If they give a damn, that is.

  • SonjaRuth

    These pillars are an abomination – they contain very little actual info relative to the space they take on the sidewalks. Are we stuck with them indefinitely. I’ve seen at least one plastered with another poster. Seems like a good idea to me!

    • Anonymous

      I think the contract with Astral for these things is pretty long-term. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if some of them end up being postered over, defaced or knocked over before long.