What the TTC Needs is Cats
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What the TTC Needs is Cats

Or adequate funding. But cats are great until we get that.


Cats went viral on the internet yesterday, because that is what cats do.

People love cats. Just look at them.

So when a crowdfunding campaign in London raised $30,000 to replace all of the tube station ads with cats, it went viral. Cats are way better than ads for less-than-prestigious medical schools and personal injury lawyers, and we all know that.

There’s a lot more reasons why the TTC should go with a cat-centric strategy as well.

The chief argument in favour of TTC advertising is that it offsets other cost pressures and keeps fares more affordable. The TTC earns $26.1 million in annual advertising, according to its 2015 annual report. This is equivalent to a one-time one per cent residential property tax revenue increase. It’s not an insignificant sum, but it’s not a huge windfall either—the whole TTC system only earns $71,000 in advertising per day.

Less tangible is the impact of advertising on our public spaces. One of the reasons why our new streetcars look so nice (even if we, you know, don’t have enough of them) is because they mostly don’t have ads. Without ads, the streetcars look a lot more like the city icons that they are. This makes sense—we like complete designs that aren’t interrupted by external messages. It’s one of the reasons why AdBlock is so popular (make sure to whitelist Torontoist or support us on Patreon!). If AdBlock is good enough for your online experience, why not your commute?

Obviously transit advertising spaces aren’t going away in Toronto—we aren’t Sao Paulo or other cities that have joined the ad-free movement. Given that we won’t head in the AdBlock IRL direction, why not place the images that the internet loves most in these spaces so that our commutes can be slightly less miserable? We could even have different themes for different stations. Line One can be cats, Line Two can be dogs, and Line Three can be, I dunno, are sloths still cool? Hedgehogs? Harambe?

If there’s anything that can make the TTC better, even if it just temporarily lifts our mood until we fund the damn thing adequately, it’s cats.