Founded in 2001 by activist and author Dave Meslin, the Toronto Public Space Committee (TPSC) has been working to protect Toronto’s shared common spaces from commercial influence and privatisation. Between 2001 and 2011, the TPSC served as an incubator for a number of influential projects including Spacing Magazine, Toronto Guerilla Gardeners and Illegal Signs. In addition to protecting postering rights, the TPSC was successful in keeping video advertising out of subway cars, advocating for a new sign bylaw to reduce illegal billboards, and defeated the proposed “Monster” garbage ad-bins. Volunteers also organized creative interventions such as Art Attack, the Human River, and the Downtown De-Fence Project. The TPSC met monthly as a committee until 2009. A spin off group, the Toronto Public Space Initiative emerged in 2011 and was active for a few years and focused on public space policy and research. While the TPSC wound down its organizing during this period, it was resurrected in 2015 for the road mural project.
The TPSC was rebooted once again in 2019, led by public space advocate and researcher Cara Chellew. With the help of Dave and a new cohort of volunteers, the TPSC is once again advocating for more accessible and inclusive public spaces with work on washroom advocacy, illegal billboards, and more!
Dave Meslin - (he/him) Founder of the Toronto Public Space Committee An urbanist, community organizer, trainer and political entrepreneur, Dave has left a trail of campaigns and organizations in his path, including the Toronto Public Space Committee, Unlock Democracy Canada, and Cycle Toronto. Dave also co-founded Spacing magazine, in 2003.
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