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“Would you put up posters for us along with your posters,” a caller asked.

I said, “Sure so long as you’re happy limiting yourself to what the Toronto poster bylaws allow?”

“Certainly,” the caller said.

Then they got a phone call from James “Dr. Jamie” Gillis. He said, “If you continue to use Reg Hartt to post flyers for you the city will fine you.”

They stuck with me.

A few weeks later they were fined by the city.

The Supreme Court of Canada defended street poster as freedom of speech for people without access to mainstream media (magazines, newspapers, radio, television, the web). People who use mainstream media do not have a legal right to street poster.

That right is reserved for the poor, the least of those among us. Now most of us in the arts in Toronto cannot afford to use mainstream media to promote our events. Many small businesses can’t afford to use mainstream media either.

In my files are countless photographs of destroyed and torn up posters placed in clumps behind posters for things promoted through mainstream media.

What was meant for everyone, has, through the compliance of The City Of Toronto and Metro Licensing and Services, has become something only those who can afford to pay commercial posterers to post.

City of Toronto MLS inspectors tell me to complain to 311@toronto.ca.

I have. Nothing has been done. Nothing will be done.

We all know how zealous MLS inspectors can be and often are.

MLS Inspector Elliott deBarros offered to help my landlord move me out of here.

Just before Christmas 2017 a street person I had helped said, “I was offered $30 a week to tear down your flyers, $100 to break your legs and $1,000 to kill you. The thing is, if I have been offered this, others have.”

Yes, others probably have.

At this moment everything that can be done to cost me to lose the support my work has had for decades has been done.

Will they?

I think not.

There’s something really rotten, however, in Toronto.

–Reg Hartt 2/25/2019.

 

 

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