Toronto streetscape getting prettier

Astral Media Outdoor unveiled student competition winners and new street furniture at two events in Toronto yesterday.

Three advertising students from the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) get to see their work on over 70 Astral Media properties around Toronto.

The third-year students’ entry, ‘I am Toronto,’ was voted by Torontonians as the winner of the third annual Astral Media Outdoor Student Design Competition, which challenges students ‘to use outdoor advertising as a canvas to express their ideal vision of the city of Toronto,’ says Luc Sabbatini, president of Astral Media Outdoor (AMO).

The winning entry was selected by a panel of OCAD faculty judges, who then presented their concepts to a second panel comprising industry experts including Debbie King, EVP/COO, ZenithOptimedia; Bill Durnan, executive CCO, Cossette Communications; Philippe Garneau, ECD, GWP Brand Engineering; and Valerie Meyer, VP sales, AMO, among others.

‘They all did a great job of presenting,’ King told MiC. ‘It takes you back to the days of your first presentation: lots of nerves, for sure, and lots of excitement.’

The final four teams’ designs were displayed on AMO transit shelters across the city, inviting people to go to, to vote for their favourite. Over 7,000 people voted. The winning team, whose members include Barbara Solomon, Brooke Taylor and Katelynn Ubbi, was announced by Toronto Mayor David Miller at a reception yesterday afternoon.

The winning ad, which depicts the Toronto cityscape tattooed on a person’s back, will be displayed throughout the city for four weeks starting May 19. The team was also awarded $3,000, and an additional $2,000 will be donated to a charity of their choice. Astral also donated $3,000 to support an OCAD workshop or speaker series for ad students. Each runner-up team won $500 and tuition for a half-credit course next semester.

‘They’ve won already,’ Tony Kerr, OCAD assistant professor and advertising program chair, told MiC. ‘They got published right away, which is what they live for.’

AMO also unveiled a first look at Toronto’s new street furniture yesterday. The designs, by Toronto-based Kramer Design Associates, include transit shelters, automated public washrooms, hands-free litter receptacles and LCD screen-enabled ‘INFOTOGO’ columns.

In total, the 20-year contract includes 5,000 transit shelters (2,000 more than currently exist), 12,500 litter/recycling bins, 2,000 benches, 500 multi-box newspaper vending boxes, 120 information pillars, 2,500 postering/neighbourhood information structures (500 pillars, 2,000 pole-and-board type), 20 public washrooms and 1,000 bicycle racks.

The new shelters use up to 40% less electricity than previous models, and one-third will be solar-powered. AMO will use recycled and recyclable materials such as BIOflex, a new biodegradable vinyl for billboards, wherever possible.

With files from Jesse Kohl