Postering Etiquette

Postering, telephone poll, utility poll, bylaw, Kingston, Ontario
I must admit that I have a love-hate relationship with event posters.  Aside from the fact that I often learn about fantastic upcoming events via publicly posted notices, I’ve started to amass a modest collection of my favourite local concert and festival prints.  And I think it’s safe to say that I’m not the only one in Kingston who does this.  On the flip side, sometimes I spot expired notices in store windows, and more often they’re in various states of decay clinging to telephone booths, utility polls and other public surfaces.  As someone who’s done my fair share of postering for various clubs at Queen’s as well as local bands, I know that removing old posters is almost as important as affixing them in a timely manner.  Is there such a thing as postering etiquette?

For small businesses that display posters on storefront windows and on their community bulletin boards, expired notices are few and far between.  This is partly owing to the fact that most business owners take pride in their establishment, and do a reasonably good job of keeping advertisements fresh and up to date.  Conversely, real estate on store windows and cork boards is in high demand.  Hence, for every poster that comes down, there are at least two ready to take its place.  Generally speaking, you won’t see event posters plastered one on top of  another inside local businesses, as it looks unsightly.

Taking it to the lawless streets, and postering is a completely different beast.  Both the student ghetto and downtown Kingston have taken steps to thwart the application of posters to utility poles by establishing oversized  notice boards, which can collect vast amounts of printed notices.  In spite of these designated zones, which are admittedly few and far between, the utility poles in and around the downtown core and campus are still littered with paper and scared by staples.

Oversized notice boards sound great in theory, but they are unfortunately where a lot of posters come to die as many folks forget about the all important removal process.  Further, not everyone who affixes an advertisement to these boards takes the time to carefully ensure that they’re not covering up a notice that has yet to expire.  This is truly unfortunate as printed media doesn’t come cheap, especially when they are paid for by local bands or clubs who have next to no marketing budget.  And as the old saying goes, all it takes is one unruly poster to spoil the notice board. It becomes a vicious circle to keep all eyes on the outter crust.

Clearly the City’s $300 fine for attaching posters to utility polls and trees is not doing the trick. So what’s the solution to keeping our neighbourhoods free of expired print litter and neon-coloured tumbleweeds?  I don’t want to see local bands and clubs who are just scraping by financially get hammered with tickets from our trusty By-Law Enforcement Officials, but something needs to be done.  Should Kingston add more oversized notice boards, or remove them entirely and leave it up to local businesses to display and police as they see fit?  What are your best practices for keeping notice boards clean, while respecting current and expired posted material? Please drop off your postering tips below.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

3 thoughts on “Postering Etiquette

  • Posters are dying a slow death thanks to this great thing called the Internet. Amazing tip for people putting up advertisements, take the old ones down and put them in the garbage or recycling. That's not too much to ask.

  • Why not hire a local student to remove expired postings once a week like cities tend to do for other kinds of signs? Make sure the day is well-known so people get their new posters up after the takedown day and all will be pretty and well in Ktown.

  • I've done a lot of postering and I always make sure I'm not covering up someone else's yet-to-happen event. Not everyone is so polite. I've had to take down and re-post my own posters to get them out from underneath someone else's many a time (particularly at The Goat for some reason).
    I've actually stopped putting posters on poles after one establishment got hit with a $500 fine. This only seems to happen some of the time though – I've seen many posters in the exact same places with no word of any consequences. It would be nice to see the city be consistent with their fines rather than picking on specific bars when they feel like it.

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