Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn © 2017


Caricature Permits - Toronto

Outdoors Caricature Permit System Dysfunctional




*Result of system failure leads to disappearance of the 30+ portrait and caricature artists who operated in downtown Toronto up until the 1990s.

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In the Winter of 2015 I began contacting the Mayor and City councillors for help in an important matter;

- the current near extinction of Toronto's once popular group of 30 caricature artists who once drew portraits and caricatures in downtown Toronto beside the Eaton center for decades.

Since officially starting my agenda in January 2016, incredibly, in spite of my best efforts I'm STILL awaiting City Hall interaction on the urgency - February 2017!

In this document I start with laying out a history of the artists and then discuss growing related problems. I conclude with workable future options.

*** Summer 2017 UPDATE Toronto MLS policy makers screwed the artists ; and will be held accountable with exposure of proof and facts of negligent conduct ***

I was an artist in that group until I left and moved to Montreal to draw among Old Montreal's group of similar entertainment artists - that was in 2000 just when the renovations began at Yonge/Dundas which led to the relocation of all the artists who drew there seasonally.
I moved back to Toronto last year and found that only 4 or 5 artists were operating out of the original 25-30+ artists in the past.

This remainder told me that sadly the hopeless situation that came with the badly placed locations would likely result in them no longer drawing outdoors in further years.


In the summer season - 2016 I was the only artist drawing outdoors with a permit - I can now definitively state that with much regret that except for me, THAT EVERY OTHER PORTRAITIST AND CARICATURIST NO LONGER DRAWS ANYMORE in downtown Toronto; the Extinction of these artists is near achieved. One other artist had a permit but quickly gave-up and left upon finding out the terrible conditions the artist permit system was crippled by.


Having purchased the permit myself in 2015/ 2016 and can testify I can only use it in a very limited and challenging manner working solo. As a large group permit the current system is impossible for many artists to function and earn a reasonable income.


In 2017 certain MLSD policy-makers proved themselves to be reckless and arrogant in defying the oversight decision of the LSC instruction to redeem the broken system for artists.


Again - save for the temporary appearance of another of the original artists from decades ago, I'm the last artist still drawing in the public.

The others are gone; drawing elsewhere or no longer artists.

This is embarrassing for the much celebrated music and film industry cultivated City of Toronto unfortunately since most other civilized arts-loving cities love visual artists in the public domain and have sectors of their popular visited locations dedicated to allowing dozens and scores of portrat and caricature artists to draw locals and visitors.
 - ie, Montreal, Quebec City, Vancouver, London, Paris, New York City, San Francisco, Barcelona, Moscow, Shanghai etc.





25 YEARS AGO, I began drawing portraits then caricatures on Toronto's streets to see how well I could do.

Since then my skills grew and I've drawn across Canada ; Toronto / Vancouver / Montreal - not only in popular outdoor tourist locations, but now also at festivals, events and for private parties - including Ripley's Aquarium, Loblaws, LCBO.

And recently I appeared on Toronto/GTA's popular CP24 morning cable show drawing caricatures too !

 Thousands of my caricatures now belong to Toronto locals and thousands of visitors from ALL AROUND THE WORLD.

All this popular acclaimed venture started from drawing on Yonge St. 25 years ago.

  Toronto being an arts-center designated city should have a popular area for public caricature / portrait artist activities as do other major arts-cities around the world and across Canada, but shamefully the current system is biased against street artist improvements/ progress.

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