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Toronto gets another quirky neighbourhood map

Posted by Derek Flack / March 5, 2012

Typographic Map TorontoI'm a bit of a Toronto map junky, always on the look out for vintage or quirky efforts that chart various elements of this city, be they geographic, historical, social or whatever else. Although many of the documents I've taken interest in lie outside my economic bracket — man, do I ever wish I could cough up the cash for one of Flavio Trevisan's works — there are other intriguing that won't break the bank. Ork Posters fit this bill, as do Dave Murray's neighbourhood word cloud maps. And, as of a few days ago, there's a third option for local map lovers on a budget: Ben Brommell's Typographic Toronto map.

Pretty much exactly what it sounds like, Brommell's map renders Toronto's neighbourhoods and streets solely through the use of multi-coloured text. "The inspiration for my map came from a similar series of maps I saw online for several U.S. cities," the second year Film & Television Production student at Humber College told me by email over the weekend. "There wasn't, as far as I could find, any maps for Canadian cities, so I thought I'd rectify that and make one myself.... I thought it would be cool to see a map of Toronto that functioned both as a map and as a piece of artwork."

Typographic Map TorontoAlthough the concept is pretty straightforward, it was a labour-intensive process to fashion the final documents, which come in a few variations (in addition to the full map, there's also a roads only version and a black & white option). Brommell thinks it took anywhere from 50-100 hours to put the map together, much of which was spent plotting out Toronto's streets (the font is Futura in case you're wondering). It was a little easier to do the neighbourhoods, he explained, thanks to resources like blogTO's neighbourhood map and City of Toronto ward maps.

The price of the maps depend on what size and material one is looking for, but they start at $15 (for a small 7" x 10" print) and go up to $122 (for a framed 26" x 38"print), with lots of different options in between. I particularly like the stretched canvas ones, but chacun à son goût. The Ork folks probably don't need to worry about their Toronto market share falling off, particularly given the downtown focus of Brommell's map — but it's always nice to have another option out there, especially one as nice as this.

Typographic Map TorontoFor purchasing options, check out Brommell's Society6 page.



JW / March 5, 2012 at 03:57 pm
This would be so much nicer if it used the actual Toronto Subway font.
JJ / March 5, 2012 at 04:05 pm
Might also be better if it didn't say "Typographic Toronto" in massive letters. The image speaks for itself. That's like having the words "THE MONA LISA!" on the Mona Lisa.
Adam / March 5, 2012 at 04:07 pm
Looking for negativity? Come to the BlogTO comments section! Nothing is positive here!
Marcel / March 5, 2012 at 04:13 pm
"chacun à son goût" is not proper french; you'd rather use "à chacun ses (son) goûts"

Cool maps.
Ribbit replying to a comment from Marcel / March 5, 2012 at 04:32 pm
ou chacun son goût
DC / March 5, 2012 at 04:33 pm
I really want to get a print, but I've spotted a number of typos in the samples. "Tork", "Beverly", "Granve"..
DaVinciLover / March 5, 2012 at 04:35 pm
Whoa, that heading at the bottom really reminded me of this: Almost a rip-off, in fact.
DaVinciLover / March 5, 2012 at 04:38 pm
Oops, didn't realize that another art buff had noticed that already. Anyway, good point, JJ.
Ichigo Makoto / March 5, 2012 at 06:57 pm
Don't like all uppercase font.
Alicia / March 5, 2012 at 08:00 pm
Really cluttered and busy, not readable.
Marc / March 5, 2012 at 08:26 pm
That's lot of art good efforts to keep up our city lovers
Derek replying to a comment from Alicia / March 5, 2012 at 09:07 pm
This is directly tied into the size of the map. Also, you're not supposed to read them from afar — only when you get in close.
mike / March 5, 2012 at 11:50 pm
LOVE that someone just compared this to the mona lisa.
rapi / March 6, 2012 at 07:03 am
the mona lisa is not....original is not....
John / March 6, 2012 at 08:35 am
So it's a map of Toronto that leaves out most of the city? I didn't realize Toronto's borders were Dufferin, Davenport, and Parliament.
OAF replying to a comment from John / March 6, 2012 at 09:04 am
Oh, go make your friggin Etobicoke map then you ninny.
rek / March 6, 2012 at 04:16 pm
@JW: Why? It has nothing to do with the TTC or subways.

@Alicia: It isn't supposed to be readable, it isn't a functional piece. It's a poster. Art. Design. Jeez.

@John: Get started on the rest of the city then. I'm sure you have upwards of 700 hours free.
Phil / March 7, 2012 at 12:45 am
John's right, it's not a map of Toronto; it's not even a map of the Old City of Toronto. It's a map of the downtown core and surrounding area. If you want to call it that fine, but don't call it a map of Toronto.

It's like someone building a bungalow and then calling it a 2 storey home and when anyone points out the obvious error the builder says "Well go build a your own two storey home, I don't have time to do that."

It's a legitmate criticism and the silly strawman arguments and deflections show that the criticism is correct and labelling of this map as "Toronto" is indefensible.
Lindsay / March 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm
I think this is lovely. The concept is great and the map encompasses the part of the city I love and spend the most time in. I can see having something similar in 4 x 6 collectible cards that shows each of the various neighbourhoods separately.
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