Short on funding, Toronto's waterfront parks agency is considering a plan to sell the naming rights to the park's amenities, allowing corporate sponsors to add their name to such public features as walkways and play areas.
"Waterfront Toronto - a joint agency of the federal, provincial and municipal governments with a 25-year mandate to implement a $17-billion revitalization program - is looking for a consulting firm to help develop a sponsorship program and naming rights strategy."
"With only $1.5 billion in seed capital from the various levels of government, Waterfront Toronto's mandate requires it find ways to pay for the massive revitalization project and to maintain new parks and other facilities, said vice-president of government relations Marisa Piattelli."
"Piattelli said naming rights are just one of many strategies Waterfront Toronto would consider as it looks for revenue sources, adding there would be public input both directly from the community and through the three levels of government."
"The branding exercise has already gone further in the United States, where, for example, you can find a Mattel Children's Hospital in California and a similar one in Rhode Island branded by Mattel's rival in the toymaking business, Hasbro."
"The debate over corporate naming of public spaces is only starting to heat up in Canada, but there was little public outcry when a Montreal community started looking for corporations to buy naming rights to all sorts of taxpayer-owned facilities."