When I first read about Light Grey Art Lab's 6 Degrees project, my gut reaction was to do something related to what I still (and will probably always) consider home:

Saint-Louis, a small sleepy Acadian village on the East coast of New Brunswick:


But... I've been living in the Toronto area for the past seven years now. First for school, then for work.

Still, I can't quite bring myself to call Toronto home. Is it the fact that I lived in a rural area all my life? Is it because I have zero family in a 1500 kilometer radius? Is it that Lake Ontario will never be able to replace the Atlantic Ocean and its salty breeze? It it because, although I have access to an amazing diversity of cultures (the films, the food, AMAZING!) I can't have a daily conversation with someone in my native French?

(And no, Rob Ford doesn't help.)

My relationship to Toronto? It's complicated.

Much like my feelings about the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) and specifically, its streetcars.

The good:

  • Public transit... YAY! The environmentalist in me love that Toronto has such a huge network of public transit options. See the above GIF.
  • The Toronto streetcars are quite emblematic since most North American cities have phased out their streetcar systems.
  • The cheerful ding-ding! of a passing streetcar never gets old.

The bad:
  • Unreliable. If you have to take a streetcar somewhere, you can bet you'll be late. This is actually a gridlock problem, but the streetcar's dependance on a single lane of tracks is a huge disadvantage.
  • The inside of the average streetcar will more often than not smell like a gross wet dog. 
  • They get packed. Tight.

But alas, the iconic Red Rockets have reached the end of their service life and are about to be upgraded. More train-like than streetcar, the newer models are much sleeker and longer:


Good, right? Well...

Toronto, like much of North America, doesn't have the best track record when it comes to historical landmarks. The tear-it-down-and-re-build mentality usually wins over consistent restoration work.

A lesser known victim to this attitude is the Toronto Transit Commission's custom designed typeface. The TTC font is absolutely beautiful, but its usage has become somewhat chaotic over the years. With extensive renovations at some stations, it becomes obvious that typography is the last thing on people's minds. For example, the Rosedale subway station's name is incorrectly displayed in Univers:


This only gets noticed by a handful of people since, as was the case with the people in charge of renovations, typography isn't exactly the first thing on the common commuting Torontonian's mind.

As ambivalent I am about calling Toronto home, I'm alternatively happy that Toronto will be getting an upgraded streetcar system and already a bit nostalgic about what is about to become the old Rocket.

So! In an effort to make myself a bit more at home in Toronto, I went with an urban theme for my 6 Degrees postcard and support some local artisans in the process. The card uses the painstakingly recreated TTC font by David Vereschagin, Toronto Subway(tm) Regular, and was risographed at Colour Code Printing by Jesjit Gill.

Check out Light Grey Art Lab's online shop if you'd like a postcard or print!

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