April 7, 2008
Canadians have become accustomed to corporate sponsorship of buildings, the branding of sports stadiums and even the renaming of movie theatres after banks, but now there’s a push to expand the name game to public spaces – including Toronto’s Lake Ontario waterfront.
Lawrence Solomon of the Urban Renaissance Institute said it’s hard to know where to draw the line when corporate sponsorship moves into public buildings and spaces, and suggested people may not be prepared to tolerate, for example, an Enron Courthouse or Loblaw’s City Hall.
Citizens must decide if they want the revenue from corporate sponsorships and naming rights that might prevent local tax hikes, said Solomon.
“I don’t think this should be a decision for governments,” he said. “I think it’s something that should go to a referendum, and let citizens within municipalities decide what their comfort level is.”