In the colder months, I ride the TTC almost daily. Often, it’s a giant pain in the ass – an affront to personal space, time and human decency. Between the annual fare hikes, confusion around Presto cards and bed-bug scares, it’s safe to say that “riding the rocket” can be one of Toronto’s least enjoyable experiences.
So upon discovering today that the TTC has revitalized its online gift shop in time for the holiday season, I'm laughing and shaking my head at how out of touch it is with its customers. In fact, by launching the shop a week after the TTC board voted in favour of increasing fares yet again, I can’t help but wonder if hawking T-shirts and water bottles is some sort of cruel joke at tackling the $231 million budget shortfall.
There are a handful of tolerable items, such as vintage TTC posters from the 1950s and ‘60s as well as prints by local artists Jerry Waese and David Chrighton. But for the most part, if you’re thinking of buying someone anything else from the website for a holiday gift, you may as well fill their Christmas stocking with tokens. They'll appreciate it more.
Below are five of the most ridiculous pieces of officially licensed TTC merch you can buy on the website – but I recommend you don’t.
The description calls this “the perfect accent for a classic bathroom.” You know what else is a perfect bathroom accent? A toilet brush. I suppose one might want this $90 shower curtain to help them wash off the feeling of riding a streetcar sans air conditioning everyday in the summer from Union to Don Mills.
Are you a 1, 2 or 3? Be reminded of your grueling morning commute each day as you sip coffee from this mug, whose “bold icon” I’m sure will fade away after one spin in the dishwasher. Does anyone actually use these numbers?
For those who ride Line 1 and want to scream it to the world, this T-shirt’s for you. There are separate ladies’ and men’s versions, and for those who care, the tees are made locally from organic cotton.
This 81cm by 12 cm wooden replica sign lets you pretend to live inside a subway station or show off how much you love a particular subway station. Either way, it’s not a good look for the living room, kitchen or god forbid, bedroom. There are 12 stations to choose from, but I suggest you stick with hanging Etsy-sourced wall art.
You might be really sad about the plan to slowly phase out tokens, but that doesn’t mean you should spend $75 – or the equivalent of 25 tokens – on TTC-themed cufflinks.