Hand-out cards target Torontonians' rudest behaviours
Published Friday, December 9, 2011 9:31PM EST
A Toronto designer is trying to make the city a more considerate place. People who talk on the phone while paying for groceries, stand in the subway doorways, or text while walking -- he's looking at you.
Christopher Rouleau, 29, recently launched the Toronto Etiquette Project, a series of brightly-coloured cards posted on his website, which annoyed citizens can print out and hand out to offenders. Each contains several options that can be selected to show recipients just where they're straying from proper public behaviour.
"Dear fellow pedestrian," reads one card. "Just remember that walking is like driving. Always stay right if slow/stay left if fast/merge properly/avoid stopping/be alert/look both ways while on the sidewalks/streets/stairs/escalators of Toronto."
While some might think the idea of handing out cards to strangers is a little presumptuous, the Saskatchewan native thinks he's not alone in his concerns. A lot of people are simply sick of being around others who don't take the time to consider their behaviour, he said in a phone interview.
"It's definitely hit a nerve," he said. "Everyone has a story to share."
Having lived in Toronto since 2009, Rouleau says he continues to be surprised by what he sees as inconsiderate and often rude behaviour.
"I think people sometimes just forget that there are other people around them," he told The Canadian Press this week. "It's funny in a city as big as Toronto, as populated as Toronto, that we forget that."
Rouleau said he chose a hand-out card instead of something like a poster because he wanted to encourage face-to-face interaction and remind people it's not so scary to speak to others in public.
"It was important it was an engaging thing," he said. "I think cellphones are affecting our communication skills a bit. We opt to not talk to each other."
He said he hopes that people who receive the cards take them in the spirit of societal-betterment in which they were intended. He knows that won't always be the case, but not from first-hand experience just yet. Due to illness and a heavy workload as a freelance graphic designer, Rouleau says he hasn't had a chance to hit the streets with the cards himself.
"I have them in my wallet, if the situation were to come up," he said, noting phone use at inappropriate times is one of his personal public pet peeves.
"I hate generalizing because it's never a good idea, but sometimes when I see people younger than me on their cellphones that gets me riled up."