As a "last show of resistance" before city council signed off on the widely panned street furniture contract with Astral Media, Toronto Public Space Committee volunteers set out to beat the company at its own game on Tuesday, May 22.
The two-day guerrilla public art project, a symbolic attack on the proliferation of ads in public space, saw 25 Astral Info Pillars plastered over with crayon drawings of smiley clouds and animals.
Astral was not amused. The company denies it, but one City Hall insider tells us that Astral is considering taking legal action for "damages" in revenue supposedly lost when their ads were covered up.
The company also reportedly talked to police about laying vandalism charges against TPSC activists. Seems their info pillars are equipped with security cameras.
Astral has been quick to threaten lawsuits against public space advocates who dare to point out its many illegal billboards around town, but says it has no plans to sue TPSC members, according to spokesperson Alain Bergeron.
The group's members are not taking Bergeron at his word. None we spoke to for this article wanted to be identified.
Some members of the public fancied the TPSC's brightening up. "That's much better," one passerby told a volunteer who taped a brightly coloured tree over an ad for the CN Tower at University and Dundas.