Stop the proposed changes to the governance of public squares in Toronto
  • Petitioning Toronto City Council

This petition will be delivered to:

Toronto City Council

Stop the proposed changes to the governance of public squares in Toronto

    1. Thea Munster
    2. Petition by

      Thea Munster

      Ontario, Canada

On September 24, Toronto City Council will consider proposed changes to the governance of public squares. The proposed changes will create undue hardship for non-profits and small festivals, and change Toronto’s profile from diverse and creative to a commercial public face.

There are two items that are of particular concern:

1. It is proposed that public squares be opened to commercial activities. Currently no commercial activities are allowed in public spaces, which in Toronto may be the only areas outside of home that are completely free of commercial activity. Activities currently held in public spaces focus on the theme of the events rather than selling something. More importantly, small festivals and non-profit events will not be able to compete with commercial ventures that have access to almost unlimited funds to apply for and promote their marketing idea.

2. An extra base cost for using public squares is being proposed. Small festivals and non-profits have always paid for support services such as waste management, security, permits and AV if required. The additional fee, which could be as much as $10,000, will immediately make it impossible for most non-commercial events to use public space, thus eliminating many exciting and diverse events from Toronto’s landscape.

We request that Toronto City Council consider the major negative impact on Toronto these changes will bring and refuse to endorse this proposal.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 500 signatures
    2. Councillor's to vote on October 8th.

      Thea Munster
      Petition Organizer

      Please note that tomorrow's meeting will be an executive committee vote, recommendations then go to council on October 8th.

      "Request the General Manager of Economic Development and Culture to bring forward a proposal through the 2014 budget process to harmonize fees and charges pertaining to Public Squares, other than Yonge Dundas Square,including for commercial, private and gated activities approved for use on Public Squares by City Council, for inclusion in Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 441, Fees and Charges and criteria to waive fees and charges under certain conditions".

      Stakeholders were made aware that "harmonizing" meant introducing new costs that are in line with Yonge and Dundas Square. Right now, non-profit events that take place in public squares are given the space. The event has to pay for all the costs associated with the space, including waste management, permits, etc. These changes would create new base fees that aren't affordable to small events.

    3. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • alex anag TORONTO, CANADA
      • about 1 month ago

      Because I am an artist who participates in the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition and won't be able to afford the additional fees involved which will be passed down to artists. These fairs are the only way I make my living. The square is a forum for the community, not for advertisers. There are plenty of other places they can do their promotions.

    • Krys-Tyna Collins HAMILTON, CANADA
      • 8 months ago

      I grew up in Toronto. My family is still there. I would like to see public areas left to the people & for the communities. So much is commercial,surely some things could be exempt.

    • Ryan Clark HAMILTON, CANADA
      • 8 months ago

      cause I am sick of our government enabling big business and using shit like this to hijack tax payers money. Leave some for the little people too.

    • Lauralee Kelloway TORONTO, CANADA
      • 8 months ago

      I support non-profit events in Toronto because it's what makes us unique! Don't charge $10,000 to the little guys who have no money to begin with because their initiatives don't usually revolve around making money. The Toronto Zombie Walk is a free event put on every year and drives tones of business for Toronto in Hotels, restaurants and stores. If you take away this one event, you are turning away the revenue produced by over 10,000 people who attend this event every year.

    • Christine Durant TORONTO, CANADA
      • 9 months ago

      Parks are our commons - there are few places that are commercial free in the city - few places that people can relax in without paying for it - parks should be about community and be about and support community use - events/festivals etc. A move towards commercializing is a move against communities


    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.