T minus 14 days to ATypI Brighton 2007: TTC

Since my presentation on type in the Toronto subway is entitled “Inscribed in the Living Tile,” let’s take a look at those.

Transit fans adore the old, large-format, ultra-glossy Vitrolite tiles, as seen in this photo of Queen station from the Toronto archives (date untranscribed – it’s there, but even the archivist couldn’t find it again).

Spare subway-station concourse by escalators uses large glossy tiles and reads QUEEN ST WEST

The only surviving usage is at Eglinton:

Lightweight black letters on very large glossy grey tiles read EGLINTON

In the 1970s, the Yonge-line stations, all of which had original Vitrolite tiles, were renovated with new tiles, and rather awful ones at that. Everyone’s favourite: Dundas.

Green-black tiles and a small inscription: DUNDAS

Yes, they really are chartreuse (not puce), and they’re simply vile.

He’s not being upfront about it, because he’s really incapable of being upfront about future plans, but TTC chair Adam Giambrone is among the elite who despise the TTC tile æsthetic. Giambrone has an undeclared war on TTC tiles.

  • Pape station is to be redone in “artificial stone.” The TTC will always pick something fake over something real, from fonts to wall coverings.
  • Giambrone essentially admitted that he wants to reënact the Museum station desecration on as many other stations as he can. Maybe one or two “heritage” stations would be retained in original condition.

This ethnic cleansing of Toronto’s actual transit heritage is what Giambrone calls “renovation.” He’s trying to slip all this in under the wire, and I don’t exactly see you up in arms about it.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2007.09.02 15:19. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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