UPDATE:  City Council approved this sign on July 15, against the advice of staff, against the opinion of 12 residents associations, and despite three outstanding complaints to the Office of the Integrity Commissioner. 

Do digital billboards belong in residential neighbourhoods?

Outfront Media wants to install a massive 32 square metre digital billboard in Leaside.  The billboard will flash bright advertisements every ten seconds - over FIVE THOUSAND TIMES each day. 

If approved, it would set a precedent that will lead to more digital billboards all across Toronto.

Many residents feel that digital billboards belong in Dundas Square, but not in our residential neighbourhoods. That's why eleven residents associations representing over 20,000 households are opposed to the Leaside digital billboard,
including the Leaside Property Owners’ Association themselves!  Not a single residents group is in favour.

No one wants a massive 32 square metre flashing commercial sign in their community.

If you live in Leaside, tell your City Councillor how you feel!

Did Outfront Media break the law?

The City's Community Benefits Policy states that private companies are not allowed to ask for an exemption from a bylaw while at the same time offering cash to the city.  But that's exactly what happened here.  We have filed three complaints with the Office of the Integrity Commissioner, suggesting that the city's own policy may have been violated.

Outfront Media requires a special permission to install a massive digital advertising billboard in a residential area.  When they applied for the permit, city staff rejected the sign, saying the proposed digital billboard would "represent a significant conflict with the goals and objectives of the Sign Bylaw"

So they applied for a "variance" (exemption) from the bylaw, and at the exact same time, offered 40K in cash - annually - to the Leaside Memorial Gardens Arena... the site of the billboard.

The arena's board of management supports the proposal, and they have encouraged hundreds of hockey parents to support the application as well, because it will reduce their hockey fees (incidentally, the savings are only about forty cents per hour, per family.)

This is exactly what the Community Benefits Policy doesn't allow.  Companies aren't allowed to bribe a neighbourhood with cash, in exchange for policies that benefit the company.  Yet on the City's lobbyist registry,
Outfront Media has 92 registered meetings with City Councillors and members of the Leaside Arena Board of Management.  At each meeting, they were offering $40K in cash, in exchange for the billboard variance. 

Are digital billboards safe?

Digital billboards are designed to distract drivers' attention from the roadway.  Recent studies have found a clear scientific correlation between digital billboards and automobile collisions.

The Toronto Paramedic Association and the Ontario Paramedic Association have both spoken out against digital billboards. 

Learn more here.

How do digital billboards affect neighbourhoods?

READ:  "Misleading Leaside: Lobbyists score a hat trick with digital billboard"

The Leaside Gateway Digital MegaBoard

Dedicated to preserving and enhancing the visual character

of Toronto's communities and neighbourhoods.

Scenic Toronto. Defending our public spaces

Coming Soon? The proposed Leaside Digital Billboard