Subway Merchandise

When I visit a reasonably large city, I’ll raid the tourist shops searching for two souvenir items in particular both with the city’s subway system map screen on them: a shot glass and an umbrella. I suppose I don’t need too many umbrellas so I’m open to other paraphernalia that is useful like notepads and bookmarks. In recent history, I have been to London, Hong Kong, Beijing, and New York and only been successful in London. I like my subway merchandise to look official and not screened on crooked in someon’s basement like some wares being sold at the Hong Kong street markets.

A bonus is that the souvenirs do not scream “tourist!” so much as other merchandise and transit (design) enthusiasts with some civic pride will also be interested in transit merchandise.

Recently, blogTO published a post to stir up some discussion about desirable merchandise to be sold in a reincarnation of the TTC gift shop. It’s a nice idea but TTC management is working out other issues at present and souvenir sales revenue is not a priority. I’m pretty vanilla and would like to pick up my TTC (and GO Transit) shot glass and colourful reusable totebag with the system maps but other people are way more creative than I am. Thus I was surfing all morning around related links, reminiscing, and generally procrastinating from studying….

Back when I was in junior high or high school, I was in Toronto over school break and hanging out with my cousin Sandy. She lived in North York at the time and one afternoon we accomplished one of her city goals in that we rode all along the Yonge-University-Spadina Line and collected a transfer at each station. I’m pretty sure I still have that bundle of transfers somewhere. More recently, Toronto NaNoWriMos did a Subway Write-In, and rode the whole Yonge-University-Spadina Line–about 3 hours–while writing up a storm and I dearly wished I could have gone but had other commitments to attend to.

Even more interesting than my vanilla “put the transit map on a bag” idea, are the pins for each of the TTC stations, coloured by the stations’ familiar tile colours. I don’t know what I would do with so many pins so I may prefer the them as pushpins or really strong magnets.

We were waiting for a table at “Din Tai Fung” a little while ago and saw someone else was waiting for a table and poring over a new book he bought, Transit Maps of the World. Lil Sis and I also looked at the book over his shoulder trying to guess the cities, laughing when one was particularly dense or sparse. I think I would like this coffee table book as well, but I’m not that interested in the bulk of the maps if I don’t have much connection to the city. I simply have to visit the cities, too!

Did you know there is a TTC font, Toronto Subway Regular? To me, it kind of looks like Helvetica but font enthusiasts would be quick to disagree! It can be purchased for $25.

I like the idea of removable wall decals but how to choose just one station?

I love this Jonathan Guy collage poster of the stations on the Yonge-University-Spadina and Bloor-Danforth line. It is made from photographs from each station and a good refresher of the stations’ colours. I grew up with the TTC and MTR (Hong Kong) station colours and you just have to glimpse the colour and know where you are if you’ve missed the announcement. In Vancouver, the stations are all white and you have to cran your neck to look up out of the train to orient yourself.

Finally, this doesn’t have to do with transit but that’s where all the sleuthing takes you, I learned that the following poster prints using typography to show neighbourhoods in a city are called Ork Posters. I love looking at the cities I know and have lived in. Like in Vancouver, I lived in Fairview while NPY is in Hastings Sunrise (I think). The Toronto Ork Poster is insane! Either Toronto is too subdivided and enthusiastic about naming everything or perhaps Ork went down too low a level? I think Toronto’s currently the densest of the Ork Posters!


On this day..