AutoShare Brings Color to Toronto’s Parking Signs

Written By Thomas Ponco on Thursday, May 24, 2012 | 10:30 PM

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Published May 25, 2012

By Philippe Crowe

With hundreds of signs around the city, AutoShare is one of the largest owners of Toronto’s downtown street-visible parking signs. AutoShare saw this as a good occasion to bring color to the Canadian city.

When designing their new generation of reserved parking signs, the local carsharing company gave 250 blank canvases to five of their favorite Toronto street artists. "Keys to Wonderful" is simply a new expression of the way that AutoShare has always felt about Toronto and the company's role in helping people get around. The result? Beautiful art for all on Toronto streets.

AutoShare's goal is to bring the wonders of Toronto's neighborhood back alleys into the forefront. "We see a wonderful transformation going on within our city and we can play a role here. We have over 400 signs in parking lots all over downtown Toronto. We decided we should use these canvases to bring beautiful art to the downtown Toronto streets", says AutoShare president and founder Kevin McLaughlin. "Street art is about vibrancy, as well as beauty, so we gave the five artists one very simple instruction: do whatever you like." The artists used colors, shapes, shadows and light to make patterns and images that reflect the city, as they know it.

"Keys to Wonderful" is designed with the intention that Torontonians will discover something new - and wonderful - about their city. The artists used various forms of media including spray paint, silk screens, decoupage, and acrylic paints to create their individual pieces. "It's exciting to be part of a project that is creating beauty to the city. AutoShare has been cool enough to share their space with local artists rather then just use these signs as simple advertisement," said graffiti artist Deadboy, recently recognized for his Rob Ford, Toronto mayor, spray-paint work in the last year. "More communication like this needs to happen between street/graffiti artists and the businesses and communities around them. We can make this city look beautiful if companies give something back the way AutoShare is doing with this project."

The "Keys to Wonderful" project launches on Saturday May 26, at Queen Street West and Fennings Street (two streets west of Ossington). AutoShare will then unveil the Wonderful Signs that will be installed across 150 lots in Toronto. The artists will be performing live demonstrations of how they created many of the signs and the public is invited to create their own Wonderful sign. In turn, the artists will vote on the best sign painted by a member of the public that day, and it will be used in a Toronto neighborhood.

The artists include:



Alexa Hatanaka

Patrick Thompson

Alexandra Mackenzie

"The artists share the love for Toronto that we here at AutoShare have," says McLauglin. "While we help our members take in all the great ideas in Toronto, from your favorite grocery store, to errands or work appointments, they are creating great ideas in the city for people to enjoy."

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