toronto winter is coming

City of Toronto raises eyebrows with unintentionally-suggestive pamphlet title

Winter weather may already be rearing its nasty head in Toronto, but the official hibernal solstice (the first calendar date of the winter season) is still just under a week away.

Thus, it makes perfect sense for the City of Toronto to send out a pamphlet regarding snow preparedness bearing the words "Winter is Coming." Like the popular tagline from HBO's Game of Thrones, get it? Toronto is hip.

It also makes sense for this pamphlet to indicate that city staff are ready to help residents by clearing off their roads, bike lanes and sidewalks (where applicable.)

What some Toronto residents who received the pamphlet this week can't understand is how... well, how it came out like this:

Lest you think (accurately) that just an I'm immature millennial with the dirty mind of someone who grew up watching Beavis and Butt-Head, I'm not the only one who noticed that the phrasing could be taken another way.

"City of Toronto, you needed a copyeditor on staff for this one," joked Toronto novelist Anna Maxymiw on Tuesday morning when sharing a photo of the pamphlet with "WINTER IS COMING AND SO ARE WE" on the front.

Thousands of likes, hundreds of retweets and dozens of comments prove that Maxymiw was far from alone in noticing how awkwardly the copy was phrased.

I kid you not, even the official Twitter account for Ottawa Public Health has now dunked on the city's pamphlet title, facetiously praising it as a good slogan for a safe sex campaign.

 They weren't the only ones with jokes.

"John Tory is VERY excited about his new strong mayor powers," replied one Twitter user.

"Always run your logos, taglines and ad copy through a group of 12-year-old boys," another suggested.

Some think that whoever made this apparent gaffe might have done it on purpose.

"They don't need an editor, the copywriter needs a raise — they know what they did," responded one local to Maxymiw's original tweet.

"The fact that you are tweeting about it and getting lots of comments means that their campaign was a huge success," wrote another who is definitely not the copywriter in question. "No review needed."

Some people likened the apparent gaffe to other campaigns that didn't quite get across the message they had intended to.

"Remember when the TTC had posters that said, 'Thinking of suicide? We can help'?" reads one response to the pamphlet.

"It's all part of the wordplay on having 'zero vision.'," joked another of Toronto Mayor John Tory's failed road safety campaign.

A few critics here and there told us to get our minds out of the gutter, sure, but they were in the minority. Many Twitter users who had also received the pamphlet replied to share their own initial reactions.

"[I] really tried not to dissect this and just accept it for the info inside but tbh lolz (ALSO who plows the lakes????)," reads one reply.

"I legit laughed out loud when I saw this one in my mailbox," reads another.

One person even tossed out another unintentionally (I think?) sexual-sounding phrase in response to the pamphlet cover, bringing the whole thing full circle [jerk]: "Lol. Omg. I reacted exactly the same when that appeared in my box yesterday." 

Tee hee hee!

Lead photo by

Anna Maxymiw

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