Stop & Think

STOP Vandalism?

As any Torontonian knows, Toronto is in love with the stop sign. It likely is the most popular traffic sign in the city: virtually every residential intersection has four big, red, hard-to-miss octagons with capital "S", "T", "O", and "P" printed on them (usually reinforced with an emphatic "ALL WAY"). So it's no wonder that if you're trying to convince people to stop something, you might be tempted to use these very conspicuous objects to get your message out.

So, what do the people of Toronto believe should be stopped?

Well, apart from the occasional thugs like the ones who scrawled "Kill Police" on a stop sign near St. Clair and Spadina, the editors of our street signs seem to have, by and large, noble intentions. The messages call out for us to STOP:

THE WAR,
HATE!,
HARM,
Corporate Greed (good luck!),
Driving,
EATING ANIMALS,
WEARING FUR,
and (my favourite) ...& THiNK.

There is also some rebel who urges us to NEVER STOP, and indeed it appears that some of us actually can't.

Of course, quite apart from the content of the messages, the method of their delivery is likely to cause hot debates among those who care about the city. It is the old argument of "vandalism" vs. "street art" and "community activism". I certainly can't condone turning traffic signs into public billboards and tagging targets. If nothing else, it can present a real safety hazard (I had a friend run a stop sign he didn't even notice since the red barely showed through the spray paint). But I sheepishly admit that I like the non-intrusive "STOP & THiNK" one. What do you THiNK?


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