Go stations could soon be renamed after cell phone companies and other brands
A decade and a half since the SkyDome had its identity stripped away and replaced by its new corporate overlords, people in Toronto are still hesitant to call the domed ballpark by its adopted name.
That was over a stadium few people visit regularly. Now just picture the backlash Metrolinx might face for its plan to slap corporate naming rights on transit stations in the Greater Toronto Area.
If that plan sounds too bizarre for reality, then sorry to be the bearer of bad news, because it really sounds like it's going to happen soon.
Metrolinx issued a formal Request for Information on Feb. 15, seeking "Expressions of Interest for Station Naming Rights Opportunity," to bring new corporatized names to four GO Transit stations currently just known by their locations. You know, like a transit station is supposed to.
Commuters might find themselves a bit confused at one of the four stations covered in the bid; naming rights are being considered at Exhibition GO station in Toronto as well as Whitby, Clarkson, and Oakville stations in the surrounding GTA. Though there could be more stations renamed, as Metrolinx has stated that it "will consider proposals for other stations at the request of interested parties."
Don't expect anyone to get straight-up lost using the renamed stations, though, as Metrolinx has indicated that sponsors' names would merely be added in front of station locations, so you might see something ridiculous like OVO Oakville, Canadian Tire Clarkson, or perhaps WestJet Whitby.
The plan has been in the works for a while, and it was revealed back in 2019 that naming rights would be sold off in five-to-ten-year periods, with corporations paying in the range of $50,000 to $500,000 per station, per year.
Metrolinx issued a bid intent deadline of Oct 7, 2024, so while this might not be happening any time soon, the wheels are very much in motion.
Doug Ford has been waiting quite some time to see such a plan implemented, having fought to sell off TTC naming rights during his turbulent tenure as Toronto city councillor back in 2011.
It may be for a different transit line and just a portion at that, but it looks like Doug's dream of a corporate-branded transit system is coming true.
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