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City

Hudson's Bay Centre confiscating legally parked bikes

Posted by Chris Bateman / August 14, 2014

Brookfield bike theftLost a bike outside the Hudson's Bay Centre on Bloor? You might want to give the building's security team a call. It appears the building's owners, Brookfield Properties, are removing bicycles locked on the sidewalk without permission. No warning notice, no note of explanation.

The matter came to light last night when Lisa Ferguson, a public policy consultant who had locked her bike to a TTC subway sign outside the building, returned to find it missing.

"I walked up and down the sidewalk for several minutes," she wrote in a Facebook post before asking someone from the building's security team if they might have caught the incident on CCTV.

Ferguson says Hudson's Bay Centre security, which is provided through a company called RSSI Security, told her they had cut through her heavy-duty Kryptonite lock and placed her bicycle in storage.

She was told security is regularly directed by Brookfield management to remove bicycles locked to signposts or trees outside the building.

The north side of Bloor, east of Yonge, does have several places to lock a bicycle, most of them located outside the Marriott hotel. Closer to the intersection with Yonge, cyclists are often forced to use signposts, trees, or other vertical fixtures.

City by-law 743-9 prohibits people attaching or locking any object to a garbage can, signpost, or other municipal property on public sidewalks. However, in July 2012, city council tweaked the rules slightly, providing an exemption for bicycles that, in the opinion of Transportation Services are "in good operating condition and [are] not chained, locked or attached so as to damage or interfere with the use of municipal property."

The new rules were designed to help city workers better identify abandoned bicycles.

toronto hudsons bayA portion of sidewalk outside 2 Bloor Street East does in fact belong to Brookfield but as this map that draws from the city's Open Data illustrates, the privately-owned space does not extend more than a metre or so beyond the building itself. A call to the city confirmed the subway sign where Ferguson's bike was locked is indeed part of the public sidewalk and therefore, it would appear, a legal place to park.

Staff at the Hudson's Bay Centre refused to comment on the matter and my questions were directed to Brookfield's corporate office in New York City. So far, repeated enquiries have gone unanswered.

UPDATE: 21:57

Brookfield Office Properties says the bikes were removed as a safety measure and apologizes to cyclists who believed their property had been stolen.

"We have free exterior and interior bike racks at Hudson's Bay Centre in Toronto, as well as a secure bike storage facility within our garage. As adjacent property owner, we have the right to remove a bike or otherwise affixed object to property and the TTC pole on the sidewalk outside of our building if it poses a perceived risk to pedestrians," the company said in a statement."

"It is our first and foremost responsibility to protect the health and safety of our tenants and all those that visit the building. There have been numerous instances at this location where pedestrians have tripped over or have otherwise been injured by bicycles affixed to the pole."

"We apologize to anyone who believed their bike was stolen and in the future endeavor to provide either a verbal or written warning before removing a bike or other property from a prohibited area."

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Discussion

116 Comments

CaligulaJones / August 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm
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"forced to use signposts, trees, or other vertical fixtures"

Forced? Like at gunpoint or such?
alexandra / August 14, 2014 at 12:07 pm
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The locks on Bloor near the Marriott are poorly designed and have a very low capacity. They fit four bikes max and are designed so that it is difficult, if not impossible to lock your bike safely with certain locks. The racks around the corner from this spot on Yonge are often so packed that it's impossible to find a space. Cyclists have a right to park their bike on public property and this THEFT is a travesty.
s r hitchcox / August 14, 2014 at 12:10 pm
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how very car-centric, and rich-centric. how totally distasteful of this corporation to stomp on the little guy. how very "rob ford-ish". if we want a humane city, we need to be supportive and tolerant of bikes. if it is not a legal place to park, it must be signed as being so. provide good, legal, outdoor parking units for bikes, and then maybe put signs up re no locking to this post. otherwise, Brookfield Properties had better buy a bike and new lock for everybody that claims to have lost one here. and pay for their time and inconvenience, too. shame on Brookfield Properties. shame on Rob Ford, while I am at it, as I am quite sure he'd rather just have cars here, and hide all the others of us on a subway.
James / August 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm
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There's definitely a dead zone for decent parking right where this happened. The closest proper racks are around the corner or down near the hotel. It's weird - there's more space for racks right there than anywhere else around, but it's the one place that doesn't have them.
craig / August 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm
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I hope their CCTV footage is seized as evidence and looked at, years back. If they did this every day for years how many infractions would that be?
Paul Natsuo Kishimoto / August 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm
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Sadly, CBC News staff doesn't seem to be aware of the City's Open Data resources, juxtaposed here with Brookfield/RSSI's claim that the pole is on private property.

Instead, they simply repeat that claim as if it were fact:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/security-guards-cutting-locks-confiscating-bikes-outside-hudson-s-bay-centre-1.2736345
Bob / August 14, 2014 at 12:20 pm
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I'd guess many property mgmt companies push the boundaries in this area all the time. It's just Brookfield facing the current s&$#storm.
Alexis / August 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm
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Perhaps if the city provided sufficient bike parking, cyclists who live and work in Toronto would not be forced to lock their bikes to "city property". City of Toronto, why are you discouraging citizens who remove cars from the congested downtown from riding their bikes?
David / August 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm
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So perhaps a class-action lawsuit is in order?

Brookfield acted like dicks in that they didn't bother to learn what their boundaries were before ordering security to confiscate the property of ordinary TO'ians. They didn't even care to warn people.

They really need to be held accountable.
Ben / August 14, 2014 at 12:27 pm
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I agree 100% with David. This is theft. Someone should get a class-action started.
LC replying to a comment from CaligulaJones / August 14, 2014 at 12:27 pm
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No, forced as in there are no other places to lock a bike and you are there, with a bike, that you need to lock somewhere. Understand?
S / August 14, 2014 at 12:31 pm
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Shouldn't there be an onus to say that bikes are allowed to park somewhere rather than being forced to say everyone a bike isn't allowed to park?
Natalie / August 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm
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This story angers me so much.

1. To the person above - CaligulaJones - forced as in there are no other spots to park. Clearly you do not ride a bike in the city or this would be beyond clear to you.

2. Even if it is private property, Hudson's Bay/Brookfield's owe it to the person to at least leave a note explaining why the bike was taken and where it can be retrieved. Otherwise it is literal theft. When a car is towed it is taken to a facility where it can be picked up. Not simply confiscated.

It's common sense.
DR / August 14, 2014 at 12:34 pm
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The BIA in the neighborhood kicks and screams any time the city wants to add more bike parking infrastructure to the area because they don't want bike posts clogging up the sidewalks. Then this happens.
seanm / August 14, 2014 at 12:37 pm
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This is theft, cut and dry. HBC should be responsible for the full cost of replacing the lock, and immediately cease their actions for space outside of the one metre radius surrounding their property.

Now, on the topic of locking bikes to stuff, anyone who locks their bike to a tree deserves to have it confiscated and scrapped. Our street trees have enough trouble surviving as is, without ham-fisted morons trampling the soil their roots are in and damaging the bark with their locks.
T.J. / August 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm
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Perhaps it's time for a mass of people to lock their bikes directly to the entrance of the HBC Centre for a while. A sit-in of sorts. Not sure if there's a good location for this to work.
No to HBC Centre / August 14, 2014 at 12:53 pm
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We are chronically short of parking rings for bikes downtown. I'll certainly not be doing any business at the HBC Centre if they are taking bikes from the public sidewalk.
Ryan / August 14, 2014 at 12:55 pm
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I had 5 bikes taken by security here. They were each worth at least $2000. Where do I get my money from Brookfield? With damages and all, I need and deserve $50,000 + punitive of $1 million.
Loper / August 14, 2014 at 12:59 pm
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I'm no activist but I'd participate in a bike-lock-in if someone organizes it.
Parker / August 14, 2014 at 12:59 pm
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Hudson's Bay is the new Igor Kenk.

What's the PoPo doing about these thefts?
Ray / August 14, 2014 at 01:02 pm
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It's hard to tell from the map, but the TTC post may sit just inside their property line. It's still a dick move either way.
They have not even had the decency to warn people. The CBC article claims Brookfield intends to contact the TTC to put a sign up. So, they are okay with removing multiple bikes per day, but didn't care to put up a little sign.

If they were decent corporate citizens, Brookfield would add some more bike parking for customers, tenants and others. Perhaps along that enormous eyesore of a blank concrete wall along Bloor Street. There are only a handful of racks beside the planters and room for many more.

According to their website, there are public bike racks inside the parking garage on Asquith, although no one would have any way of knowing that.
Ray / August 14, 2014 at 01:03 pm
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On their website, Brookfield boasts:

"Brookfield contributes to the communities it operates in by enlivening the public spaces at its flagship properties with concerts, exhibitions, fairs and festivals, held year-round and free-of-charge."

What a joke.
dave / August 14, 2014 at 01:03 pm
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the security policy is pretty staunch there... they also don't allow buskers anywhere on the northeast corner, even though there's lots of space and planter boxes as dividers

oh well...
Grant / August 14, 2014 at 01:04 pm
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Bay Security guards are stealing bikes?! This is crazy and illegal.

When's the protest?
Al / August 14, 2014 at 01:06 pm
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Any business that regularly has cars towed from their private property has to have signs stating that cars will be towed and providing a contact to retrieve the siezed vehicle. When the city removes abandoned bikes they tag them first with a warning a few days in advance. Even if this is private property there's no way it's legal to just take the bikes without any kind of notification.
Walter replying to a comment from LC / August 14, 2014 at 01:12 pm
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"forced" to use sign posts.
A lot of Toronto's traffic problems are because drivers are "forced" to double park because their was not a convenient parking lot. Drivers are also "forced" to stop or stand in bike lanes while waiting to pick up a passenger because there is no convenient point to pull aside.
Benjamin Smith / August 14, 2014 at 01:12 pm
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Definitely should sue for damages.
Stephen / August 14, 2014 at 01:13 pm
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Are the police going to charge Hudson's Bay for stealing bikes like they busted Igor?

Are the police going to confiscate HBC's cache of stolen bikes?

BOYCOTT HBC!

Surster / August 14, 2014 at 01:15 pm
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I complained to RBC as well since they are a large tenant in the building too. It could have been one of their clients who had their bike stolen while in the bank! Each business with a visible presence should be notified of Brookfield's actions.
Jonathan Freeman / August 14, 2014 at 01:15 pm
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If you are as unhappy with this as I am, the person at the property management company in New York to call is Matthew Cherry, and his number is 212-417-7488
Spaz / August 14, 2014 at 01:15 pm
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Meh... I can sympathize with The Bay. It's private property, and if they don't move these bikes and a pedestrian gets hurt, by misplaced bicycles, they could be in for big trouble.

Also, you don't have to notify anyone when you move an object has been left on your property with no explanation. I expect that someone that values their property would at least not be ignorant of the law when randomly leaving their bike on private property.

I guess you could have a beef with the Bay for not pointing out that the sign is private property but at the same time, if you live in a big city like Toronto you should know by now, that areas close to buildings usually aren't public areas..
Surster / August 14, 2014 at 01:16 pm
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And I posted directly to the Facebook post where I originally saw this, that both the Bloor-Yorkville BIA and TABIA should be contacted to report this situation. Also the Fixer at the Star.
Rich replying to a comment from Parker / August 14, 2014 at 01:17 pm
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They're parked around the back in Asquith park taking "off the clock" breaks. Check em out daily, especially right before shift change in the morning.
nbb / August 14, 2014 at 01:19 pm
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Wow this is seriouslyy messed up and outrageous. Definitely enough to make me never want to shop there.
John farns / August 14, 2014 at 01:20 pm
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The security company should be charged with vandalism and theft.
CallDaPoPo / August 14, 2014 at 01:30 pm
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What is all this talk of protest? Each and every person who locked up their bike near HBC in recent memory and found it missing needs to CALL THE POLICE. You are lucky, now you know who the criminal is and where to find them. Tell the police Brookfield Properties stole your bike. Do NOT call 911, call the non-emergency theft line.
CallDaPoPo / August 14, 2014 at 01:33 pm
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Here's the non-emergency number: 416-808-2222

From http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/contact.php

I love how we're all so trained to just be screwed by big corporations. Do any of you think calling some office dweeb in NYC is going to fix this? Call the Toronto Police to report the theft of your property. Plain and simple.
Steven / August 14, 2014 at 01:43 pm
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Other options, take public transit or drive.
the lemur replying to a comment from Rick / August 14, 2014 at 01:43 pm
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Because it's not really near enough to the storefront to 'clutter' it?

Because maybe they ARE HBC customers?

Or because there isn't a Starbucks across the street?

John / August 14, 2014 at 01:43 pm
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I am so thrilled this is happening. Good work HBC! Fucking cyclist in the city ride around on their little aqua coloured, faggy bikes and refuse to obey any of the traffic and parking laws that seem to pertain to everyone else. They run red lights. They swerve in and out of traffic. They ride down sidewalks at top speed and could care less for anyones safety., including their own. Fucking hipsters. Stop wasting your money on five dollar organic lattes and ten dollar burgers and buy a fucking car. little bitches.
alberto replying to a comment from John / August 14, 2014 at 01:48 pm
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LMFAO
Nahid / August 14, 2014 at 01:51 pm
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Yesterday evening I witnessed security talking about this while they were telling a street performer to leave Bloor Street because he was on "their property". City of Toronto maps clearly indicate that this part of the sidewalk is public property, so they shouldn't have the authority to do this.
Fuck off, John replying to a comment from John / August 14, 2014 at 01:55 pm
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Yes.

Someone who currently rides a bike should buy a car.

And run your stupid complaining ass over with it.
Monkey Bars replying to a comment from Spaz / August 14, 2014 at 02:04 pm
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Read the article. It's not private property. Your whole point is moot and you wasted your time writing that long-winded bullshit for nothing. Well done.
v79 replying to a comment from Ray / August 14, 2014 at 02:04 pm
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"According to their website, there are public bike racks inside the parking garage on Asquith, although no one would have any way of knowing that."

You do realize that the latter part of your sentence was disproved by the first part, right?

Anyway, this is not a complicated issue. It all comes down to who's right regarding it being private or public property, which should be pretty clear cut. Either way, the air of entitlement being spewed by cyclists all over the web regarding this is hilarious and sad at the same time. It doesn't matter if there's not enough parking for bikes at this particular intersection. If that's the case, just like with motor vehicles, you must go further until you find a legal spot and lock up there. It is not in any way your right to lock up to any fence, tree or post you see fit just because it's more convenient for you.
Geoff replying to a comment from John / August 14, 2014 at 02:05 pm
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Hiya Troll!
Simon / August 14, 2014 at 02:08 pm
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This is disgusting. This is outright theft. It's time for a mass blockade of the HBC Centre. Let's get some beater bikes and chain them across the steps. No-one gets in or out until every bike is returned to its rightful owner. I don't care if these assholes think they're "doing their job" by stealing citizens' property and transportation. If I catch one of these police academy dropouts fucking with my bicycle, they're getting beat. Not shoved away from the signpost. Head slammed into concrete repeatedly. If they want to play like criminals, they're going down like criminals. I've had my bike stolen twice, and each time it disappeared into the ether and the police said there's nothing to be done, so fuck any naive middle-class chump who recommends calling the police. In the real world, when someone steals your things, them and theirs have a target on their backs.
mike in parkdale / August 14, 2014 at 02:12 pm
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can someone summarize for me - What happened to all the bikes that were taken? Were they turned over to the police as abandoned, or what? Where are they now?
Fo. replying to a comment from s r hitchcox / August 14, 2014 at 02:13 pm
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You're an idiot. Your comment has nothing to do with anything other than to bash Rob Ford. Stick to the issue at hand whine less about your political views.
CaligulaJones replying to a comment from LC / August 14, 2014 at 02:13 pm
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"No, forced as in there are no other places to lock a bike and you are there, with a bike, that you need to lock somewhere. Understand? "

"Not other places to lock a bike?" How hard did she try? Walk a few blocks. Wait a bit. Its ridiculous that some are already bleating about "car culture" when, very often, people who park cars have to walk blocks after parking. Or is actually biking right over to the parking spot on the sidewalk an inherent right now?

Understand?

I certainly hope this is resolved in her favour, the corporation and the rent-a-cops are wrong.

But there is never ANY reason to EVER use a try to lock up your bike.

Understand?
CaligulaJones replying to a comment from Natalie / August 14, 2014 at 02:16 pm
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"1. To the person above - CaligulaJones - forced as in there are no other spots to park. Clearly you do not ride a bike in the city or this would be beyond clear to you."

See above. There were other spots. They just weren't as close. Not the same thing, and the kind of exaggerated claim that most people just tune out.

I do ride a bike. I have locked up on pretty much everything short of a tree and a homeless person. So you should try to get a refund in your "How to Argue With Facts" course.
sr replying to a comment from s r hitchcox / August 14, 2014 at 02:27 pm
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I mentioned Rob Ford due to his clear record of antagonism to bicyclists, and his very clear support for automobiles. I reference his actions to cancel various bike lanes, and his support for "cars only" down on king street. his leadership has a rather direct influence of city policies. these bikes being cut down and stolen by a large corporation is either a parallel attitude that is implicitly supported at city hall, or a direct result of an official disdain for bikes.
the core issue is that people will use bikes. and therefore the city has to figure out how to integrate this green and healthy mode of transport into the city fabric. simply disallowing bikes, or the parking thereof, is to not make good use of a great resource.
ilostmybike / August 14, 2014 at 02:33 pm
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FUCK YOU Brookfield Properties GIVE ME MY BIKE BACK
sr replying to a comment from v79 / August 14, 2014 at 02:35 pm
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re "air of entitlement". .... if a location along a road is determined to not be suitable for car parking, a sign is put up telling motorists to not park there.
so, if this sign post on ttc, city, or private property is not to be parked at with a bike, and if bikes are being locked to it multiple times a day, should it not be that a sign be put up warning that parking a bike there is not allowed?
if you illegally park a car at most locations, you get a ticket somewhere south of $100. if you park your bike at this post, you can end up with the whole $2000 enchilada (yes, many bikes are worth that much) being stolen by the corporation.
Michael / August 14, 2014 at 02:41 pm
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Um, BlogTO, I think, in your headline, you have a typo. It should read "stealing" not "confiscating." Add to this, the security guards are removing the bikes under direction of Brookfield ... so, we also have a criminal conspiracy.
CaligulaJones replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / August 14, 2014 at 02:51 pm
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"mike in parkdale / August 14, 2014 at 02:12 pm

can someone summarize for me"

Seriously? You can't scan an article with less than 400 words in it?

BTW: "placed her bicycle in storage."

Do you need help tying your laces too, or just into velcro?
CaligulaJones replying to a comment from sr / August 14, 2014 at 02:54 pm
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" if you park your bike at this post, you can end up with the whole $2000 enchilada (yes, many bikes are worth that much) being stolen by the corporation."

So you missed that part about her bike being put in storage, right?
RJames replying to a comment from v79 / August 14, 2014 at 02:57 pm
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It may not be a "right", but locking a bike to a post, fence, tree etc in a public street is a privilege granted by Chapter 743 of the Toronto Municipal Code to bikes in a rideable, good state-of-repair providing it does not cause damage or a hazard.
Graham / August 14, 2014 at 03:01 pm
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Corporations should not be permitted to steal bikes from public sidewalks when there is clearly a lack of infrastructure for cyclists.

mike in parkdale replying to a comment from CaligulaJones / August 14, 2014 at 03:05 pm
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Clearly, I mean in the long term. Do they store the bikes indefinitely? They must have dozens of bikes (or a hundred?) collected over the years.

her bike was in storage, but it was cut form the post that same day. Is there now a storage locker filled with unclaimed bikes? There's more to the story than is being reported here.

but thanks for being so snarky.
s replying to a comment from CaligulaJones / August 14, 2014 at 03:05 pm
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re "storage". if there was a notice left at the site of the removal stating where said bike had been taken to, then I would agree with you.
however, it is apparent that no such note is being left, and therefore there is no dependable trail of bread crumbs leading to bike recovery. therefore it is as good as stolen. not to mention that good bike locks are expensive. I cannot remember having my car door locks being destroyed as part of my last parking ticket experience.
Aaron / August 14, 2014 at 03:08 pm
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Class-action lawsuit anyone?
It's an election year at city hall.
PrinceJammy / August 14, 2014 at 03:08 pm
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The bike locks out front are complete rubbish. They don't fit Arbus bike locks and any lock thats not larger than your hand.

The side racks have zero space. Fuck that whole area in general.
canuckone / August 14, 2014 at 03:15 pm
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I can understand having a bike removed if it was locked to the railing going up the stairs to a building but on any other object away from the building - that's no property of any landlord.
For all the wonderful enhancements going on in places like Bloor Street - my biggest beef is the lack of places to lock bikes. The chic bike racks they have in place are impractical unless you come with the right size lock. Many of us who lock bikes up in business districts are left no options but to find a tree or construction sign.
Martin replying to a comment from sr / August 14, 2014 at 03:22 pm
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@sr Sure there should be signage indicating you can not park here but its not required by law, there is a list of parking offenses that do not require signs: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=eff6a84c9f6e1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD or try this one http://www.toronto.ca/311/knowledgebase/69/101000049369.html

Parking offences that do not require signs:

Park longer than 3 hours $15.00
Park more than 30 cm from a curb
Park vehicle for sale
Park obstruct driveway/laneway
Park within 3 metres of a fire hydrant
Park within 9 metres of an intersecting highway *
Park taxi cab for hire-unauthorized location
Park on a boulevard
Stop on/over sidewalk/footpath
Stop roadside (parked/stopped) vehicle
Park left wheels to curb
Stop within intersection
Stop within 9 metres of crosswalk
Stop on a bridge
Stop on centre strip

Mr.A / August 14, 2014 at 03:24 pm
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I'm tempted to leave the contact info for some paralegals down there, and hopefully drown HBC with a a ton of small claims.
TJ / August 14, 2014 at 03:26 pm
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I understand there isn't much bike parking around here and that people are "forced" to lock it somewhere. Ok, using the same logic, if I can't find parking space for my car, then I am forced to park it on sidewalk or someone's private property. Then if my vehicle was towed, I should expect there to be a sign that says I can't park on the sidewalk or someone's private property or someone to leave a note of where my car was towed to? How does this make sense?

Should it not be the bike's owner to find out whether or not you can lock your bike somewhere first before locking it there, having it removed, and then complain like its someone else's fault?
Mr.A replying to a comment from TJ / August 14, 2014 at 03:39 pm
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TJ - from the article

"city council tweaked the rules slightly, providing an exemption for bicycles that, in the opinion of Transportation Services are "in good operating condition and [are] not chained, locked or attached so as to damage or interfere with the use of municipal property."

"A call to the city confirmed the subway sign where Ferguson's bike was locked is indeed part of the public sidewalk and therefore, it would appear, a legal place to park."

So, to make your analogy more accurate, it's as if you parked your car legally, in a public place that it is legal to do so, and a private company confiscated it.
The Shakes / August 14, 2014 at 03:44 pm
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Sorry, I just need to get this off my chest - IT IS NOT HBC WHO DOING THIS, ALL YOU FUCKING IDOIOTS!!!! They are just a tenant in this building, it is Brookfield Properties who owns and manages the building that is stealing the bikes.
Ray replying to a comment from v79 / August 14, 2014 at 03:50 pm
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@V79 - saying I'm contradicting myself is to suppose that a cyclist is going to go into the tenant manual of the 2 Bloor Street property on the Brookfield site as they pull up on their bike. I am clearly making reference to the fact that there is no way of knowing while at the site that additional bike spaces are supposedly available on Parking level 2 at the back of the building, you knob.

And it turns out this is public property, so Brookfield's actions constitute theft and vandalism and I hope they are held accountable.
Ray / August 14, 2014 at 03:52 pm
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City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam has tweeted an image that clearly shows the TTC pole on public property, According to the Official Record of Highways:

https://twitter.com/kristynwongtam/status/499964116958994433


RahAbasd / August 14, 2014 at 03:57 pm
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Rob Ford. Gas plants. Billion dollars. Subways.
Penny / August 14, 2014 at 04:12 pm
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The security guards at this Brookfield property seem particularly zealous. I was passing this location at 5 p.m. yesterday (August 13) when I heard the most beautiful tenor voice coming from the a young man, Ian Sabourin, on the sidewalk just in front of one of the flower beds. Several people had, like me, stopped in their tracks to listen to his beautiful voice. Within a few minutes, two security guards appeared and asked to see Mr. Sabourin's papers that authorized him to perform there. They insisted he move much farther down the block, away from their property. They were officious and unrelenting. A friend of Mr. Sabourin's tried to defend his right to be there. Mr. Sabourin moved to the edge of the curb, standing on the balls of his feet with his heels overhanging the roadway, in an effort to convince the guards he was on public property. His friend was clearly annoyed and upset. Mr. Sabourin made every effort to restrain himself and his friend. Since no one else seemed willing to do so, I stepped in and told the security guards to leave the young man alone. I told them he was very talented and was not bothering anyone. They replied that they had orders to remove him from their property. I asked who he could possibly be bothering. They shrugged and walked away. The young man thanked me and continued singing. I bought his CD. It's wonderful. His friend told me that Mr. Sabourin had just moved to Toronto from Ottawa two days ago, in order to study with one of the greatest counter tenors alive. What a welcome he had to our city. This kid's got talent. I predict he'll go far.
Nana Infograb replying to a comment from John / August 14, 2014 at 04:16 pm
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Ladies and gentlemen Ford nation has spoken.
Art Vandalay / August 14, 2014 at 04:18 pm
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One important point: don't confuse The Bay (HBC) with Brookfield. The Hudson's Bay Company is just a tenant in the building that Brookfield does property management for.

This story is rather ironic, because Brookfield Properties is planning on holding a bike repair clinic on August 19, on the Yonge St. sidewalk. No word on whether this clinic will advise participants as to where it's permitted to lock up one's bike.

Brookfield does offer a bike parking cage in the parking garage, but they seem completely uninterested in it. They don't enforce any of their rules (such as, not being able to leave your bike in the cage for longer than 36 hours). Right now there are people who lock up their bike outside of the cage, right in front of a machine room, and Brookfield either doesn't know or doesn't care about it. During the winter they closed off access to the bike parking cage and didn't bother to notify anybody who had paid the yearly fee to park there.
IBike / August 14, 2014 at 04:23 pm
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Before they renovated that section of Bloor Street, they had a ton of bike racks outside of HBC. Since the reno, there is only that piddly rack by the Marriott another commenter mentioned. I shop at that Bay location a lot and always ride my bike over. It's a nice, 20 minute ride from home. Having said that, I find it OUTRAGEOUS that Brookfield is not obliged, at a minimum, to put up signs noting that unlawfully locked bikes will be removed (and noting where they can be picked up). Come on Brookfield, practice good corporate citizenry. And HBC, how about asking your landlord to pony up for a few signs so your customers are at least aware that they may lose their ride?
ginnee / August 14, 2014 at 04:30 pm
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It's not just bikes. I've seen security from buildings come out and stop people taking photos, kick walking tour groups from the sidewalk in front of buildings and take down license plates of cars parked legally in civic parking spaces. The building owners are growing more and more unaware that their property does not extend to the street.
And I see this as part of a much bigger problem. Look at all the new buildings that immediately screen off or curtain up their windows at street level and then install security cameras to take photos of the public outside.
The Jane Jacobs concept of eyes on the street was a two-way idea where safety is raised organically when people inside are looking out and those passing by can see in. Now we have these private owners spying on all passersby, but refusing to be part of the community. Protecting their property is their goal while public security takes a nosedive.
John Spragge / August 14, 2014 at 04:43 pm
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If this article contains accurate information, and so far nobody from the security company or the property management company has disputed it, the bicycles in question were legally locked on city property. Even if they were not legally locked up, no private citizen would have any right to take them; certainly, if a private citizen made it their business to defeat the security systems of cars parked on private property and remove them, we would not call it "confiscation". Unless both the reporters for BlogTo and the city spokesperson they contacted made an error in fact and the building property actually extends to the place security took the bike from, building security has, either intentionally or through negligence, taken property that does not belong to them and also vandalized people's bicycle locks.

Complaining that cyclists who object to this kind of lawless behaviour have demonstrated some sort of "entitlement" makes no sense at all. Everyone has the right to take exception if other people take and destroy their property in defiance of the law.
alexandra / August 14, 2014 at 04:48 pm
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Ultimately this comes down to an issue of private vs. public space in the city. If we accept that the city is in the commons and that it belongs to everybody, then what private companies are doing by encroaching on public space is criminal. They may have the law on their side, but when has the law ever been synonymous with justice? Healthy vibrant cities are totally at odds with corporations who are only interested in protecting their property and maximizing profit. As ginnee mentions, these corporations block our view of the skyline and the water, make our sidewalks hostile places and kick those who are poor and downtrodden out of squares and plazas. Pretty soon, there will be no room left in the city for citizens, and the only people welcome will be consumers.
MTorontonian replying to a comment from Spaz / August 14, 2014 at 04:52 pm
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Only thing is Spaz, you have the facts all wrong.

jsjs / August 14, 2014 at 04:54 pm
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Cutting off someone's lock and taking their bike is theft. It does not matter that it is in storage. The company is not being diligent about informing those affected of what they've done because it is illegal and they are breaking the law. So why aren't the police doing anything?

Is there a different set of laws for powerful corporations?
Mohamed Ali Kaboom / August 14, 2014 at 05:14 pm
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Time to make a decoy bike filled with plastic explosives that will go boom 2 hours after it is moved! That will fix this problem!
Joey / August 14, 2014 at 05:22 pm
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Brookfield's actions are gross. Brookfield is not Toronto.
Brooke Fields replying to a comment from Art Vandalay / August 14, 2014 at 05:38 pm
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When we hold the bike repair clinic, we will have free spare parts which we will donate to the people who attend. We are going to dismantle the bikes we stole and give them back in pieces.
EDM Disaster / August 14, 2014 at 05:41 pm
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Olivia Chow to ban poles on the sidewalk. Problem solved. Next issue Olivia
Protest / August 14, 2014 at 06:01 pm
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Anybody want to plan a protest in front of that post tomorrow?
sandy / August 14, 2014 at 06:26 pm
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The bike posts on Bloor by the Bay are extremely poorly designed, it's laughable. I always have a difficult time locking my bike to it.

WE NEED MORE BIKE POSTS at Yonge and Bloor and at Yonge and Dundas. More bikes posts = more shoppers = more revenue.
Grant / August 14, 2014 at 06:49 pm
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According to the City property data map for this corner of Yonge and Bloor (it's map number 51H-2) which shows the boundaries of the private property lines, that pole is private property.
Brooke Fields replying to a comment from sandy / August 14, 2014 at 07:04 pm
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We don't care about people on bicyles, they don't buy much as they can't carry much home! Usually they just by a few bras and crotchless underwear.
Mayvern replying to a comment from s r hitchcox / August 14, 2014 at 07:11 pm
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Only four bike spaces close to the corner. I demand equal treatment, four parking spaces for cars in the same vicinity.
Richard / August 14, 2014 at 07:28 pm
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Holy hell people! This is about safety. It's not theft.
This is at the corner of a major transportation hub, multiple financial institutions, consulates, and pedestrian foot traffic. Take the time to search and see what kind of damage a small pipe bomb can cause. Now look at a bicycle..... It's the equivalent of 10.
There are bike racks throughout the core of the city. There are bike racks in every parking garage where your bike is safe. Don't go chaining it to any post, pillar or tree you find because it happens to be close to the front door of the building you choose to visit. You can't park motorcycles or cars in this fashion so it's obvious you can't park a bike this way either.
This has nothing to do with being anti bike. Brookfield is not being heavy handed, they're actually doing the right thing and keeping you safe. NO, I don't work for Brookfield, I'm the infantry soldier that see's what kind of crap there is in this world. Have the courtesy to find a bike rack and lock your bike up where it belongs or leave it at home.
anonymous66 replying to a comment from Ray / August 14, 2014 at 07:38 pm
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The fact that Brookfield is contacting the TTC about getting a sign put up is tantamount to admitting they were wrong about the pole being on their property.

If it was on their side of the line, they'd just go ahead and up put the sign.
mnren / August 14, 2014 at 07:45 pm
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If you run into a bike locked to a pole, first, put down your stupid cell phone and stop texting and walking, second, kill yourself and do not procreate.
Brookfeld Sucks / August 14, 2014 at 08:39 pm
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Freaking "urban designers" - love bikes until you want to park one in one of their pretty stuff only zones . They want to hide the bikes in the back. No sense of priorities.

The pole is an oasis for bike parking.
Joel / August 14, 2014 at 08:47 pm
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This is theft plain and simple. They should have to cover the cost of every lock cut, cost of the persons new bike they had to buy, and one months ttc fair.
Posa / August 14, 2014 at 10:16 pm
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I often shop at the Bay and this strip has to be the worst equipped downtown area for places to lock a bike. As many have mentioned the only place is near the Marriott, those horrible rectangular things that are difficult to use. So much do I might add that I had my bike stolen from that spot a year ago. Of course, what is probably considered Toronto's major shopping intersection has no secure places to lock a bike!
Bob replying to a comment from Richard / August 14, 2014 at 10:29 pm
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If it was about safety...
- Why not call the Police and get ETF to take away the pipe bomb.
- Why put your OWN employees at risk MAKING them do it (contracted employees)
- Why store a 'pipe bomb' IN YOUR OWN BUILDING.
- If 'safety' is the case, get rid of the planters, which are a GREAT place to hide pipe bombs...
- If you're serious about safety and bikes used as bombs... ALL locking places should be removed.
- In a parking garage...bombs cause more damage (confined space)
- Bylaws say you can lock a bike to the structures mentioned (provided certain conditions are met) NOTE: Trees are not structures...)
- You seem to have brought your experiences home with you if your a soldier. (I will address this in the next paragraph)
- The bylaw states that this WAS legal parking (or most likely, as I do not know the state of the bike)
- It was NOT their property, so therefore, they have NO legal reason to do things themselves that the City is responsible for...

Based on my reply...you can clearly see that this is not 'safety'. If it was, many more conditions need to be met. Your post does seem very anti-bike, potentially from experience. However...you must note that no pipe bomb has gone off in TO in a long time. And not ONE has gone off as terror related. I DO understand your concern, but frankly it is not warranted. That said, if you do see things like this, PLEASE respond to this post and let me know. There are many people able and willing to help you. I know a few people I can get you in contact with, both within and outside of the service. Can be anonymous if you choose. I've posted my website with this post... it's food related...post a comment (or email address) on any article and I'll get it...
Spaz replying to a comment from Monkey Bars / August 14, 2014 at 10:33 pm
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@Monkey Bars, you might want to reread the article. It was updated a few hours after I posted and basically reiterates what I said. Just an FYI, just because its posted in article doesn't mean it a fact or truthful.
John Spragge replying to a comment from Richard / August 14, 2014 at 10:34 pm
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If you went around stealing illegally parked cars on the grounds someone might drive them drunk, you'd probably do a lot more for public safety. Despite the theoretical possibility of using a bicycle as a bomb, it appears that nobody in the history of terrorism in Canada has ever actually done it.
Spaz replying to a comment from MTorontonian / August 14, 2014 at 10:35 pm
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@MTorontonian, nope still true and the article has been updated to reflect that fact.
John Spragge / August 14, 2014 at 10:49 pm
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@spaz

No. The article reflected Brookfield's reply; at this point, the wording of their statements, where they describe themselves as the "adjacent" property owners, pretty clearly concedes that they do not own the property from which they removed the bicycle. While I have the right to remove a parked vehicle from my own front yard, I have no right whatever to remove one from the street in front of my house, particularly if its owner has parked it legally.
Sparky / August 14, 2014 at 11:11 pm
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Always great to hear from the peanut gallery. However, seeing as none of you are real estate attorneys let's focus on the key point of the article shall we?

"As adjacent property owner, we have the right to remove a bike or otherwise affixed object to property and the TTC pole on the sidewalk outside of our building if it poses a perceived risk to pedestrians," the company said in a statement."

This needs legal clarification. It certainly doesn't work this way for home ownership. You can't just have your neighbor's boat/car/bike confiscated. However, we're talking about a public space intersecting with a quasi-public space, so they may in fact have legitimate issue as far as liability is technically concerned. Point in fact this all this probably is. Same as how bartenders/servers are technically responsible and liable if they over-serve someone alcohol. It's not fair, but that's the law.

So, could we get an actual, real professional to address this point, please and thank you.
Sparky Malarky / August 14, 2014 at 11:33 pm
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I assume there are some fire hydrants in the vicinity of the TTC sign. Maybe they should take those out also so nobody trips over them? May as well take the TTC sign down also!
Average_Joe_Voter_Taxpayer / August 14, 2014 at 11:52 pm
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AGREED! OLVIA PLEASE Consider banning street signs.
Archie / August 14, 2014 at 11:53 pm
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Burn the place down!
John Spragge replying to a comment from Sparky / August 15, 2014 at 01:10 am
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Sorry, the criminal code of Canada sections that cover behaviour such as sawing through locks and walking away with other people's property don't, AFAIK, have an exemption for large companies with worries about civil liability.
soybomb replying to a comment from CaligulaJones / August 15, 2014 at 09:32 am
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dont be an idiot
m replying to a comment from Spaz / August 15, 2014 at 10:07 am
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Except it's public property
JW / August 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm
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Brookfield, please show me any instance of locked bikes posing a health and safety risk to pedestrians and your tenants... seriously, ridiculous.

I guess they didn't bother to think that those bikes might actually belong to their tenants, clients, or customers shopping in their building...
Dan replying to a comment from Sparky / August 15, 2014 at 01:04 pm
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Well I'm not a lawyer but worked in law for almost a decade and this is what I would see as an issue with Brookfield's recent statements.

They look like they consulted their legal dept based on that wording based on the "perceived risk" comment, which might hold up as they were doing this for the greater good. But I would also expect them to source some kind of statute or city by-law supporting their actions.

But like you've noted, I can't think of anywhere that as an adjacent property owner you have the 'right' to remove objects on another owners/city property. When Brookfield makes a statement like that, we of course logically think of a hundred other places in the city that has perceived obstacles in place. Does that mean adjacent property owners can arbitrarily remove them?

I would highly doubt the legal precedent is in place to support that. As you can imagine then it would be open season for every property owner to remove anything from the front of buildings adjacent to them they "perceive" as risks.

Which goes to the updated release where they say people have tripped over and been injured by these bikes. I have no clue how someone trips over an upright bike locked to a pole, or how they'd be injured by said static object. They would of course need to provide the instances to support this.

Sorry for not being the real professional but knowing how these kind of things proceed, one of the keys to knowing of this is in fact a right is statutes/by-laws and if there is already a precedent in place. My thoughts are no and they are saying the things required to give the appearance they were doing this for the greater good. Which is total BS! LOL
Tammy / August 15, 2014 at 02:54 pm
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Please tell me what has happened to all the bikes that Brookfield has removed?
Do they have a log book?
"poses a perceived risk to pedestrians" What does that even mean? The sidewalk is huge there and one lone bike or maybe even two, locked to the TTC sign, is not difficult to walk around, or move around with a wheelchair or stroller.
That doesn't make sense.
Do the security guys get to keep the bikes? Why aren't they being charged with theft.
If I removed a bike in front of my neighbour's house because it posed a perceived risk to pedestrians, would I be charged?
Why aren't there more bike spots there? I don't want to run around the corner to try to find one of the silly few locking spots? Why don't we have at least some of the Pin And Ring locking spots like everywhere else in the city?
Allan replying to a comment from Rick / August 16, 2014 at 12:17 am
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Hey Rick,

Bikers are not HBC customers? I shop at HBC frequently and certainly ride my bike there. It's a 5 minute bike ride, but would take me at least 15 minutes to park if I tried to drive there.

Further to your comment, I don't drink coffee, so no starbucks. Enjoy your GO train back to the suburbs.

Allan
Freddy F replying to a comment from SHANE / August 16, 2014 at 01:41 am
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It is if they're stolen bikes.
w34y15y1 / August 17, 2014 at 06:24 pm
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"We apologize to anyone who believed their bike was stolen and in the future endeavor to provide either a verbal or written warning before removing a bike or other property from a prohibited area."

the bikes WERE stolen. these people should be jailed or executed if they can't figure out they don't own public property.
Sparky / August 18, 2014 at 04:50 pm
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Ok, clearly people don't understand legalities involving liability, or what quasi-public space means. And seeing as they're in possession of the bikes and return them to the owners they're clearly not stealing them, so at most you might have a charge of vandalism for the destruction of the lock.

Rob Ford, Bike TERMINATOR / August 20, 2014 at 08:39 am
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Grab 'em & SMASH 'EM! Put a car smashing car compactor on every corner and...MAYOR'S EDICT: SEIZE ALL BIKES! Because its CarsCarsCars! Ididwhat IsaidIwoulddo! NOTHING!

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