A sandwich man protests the sale of fruit from the sidewalk along Danforth, October 1934. Image: Toronto Star / Toronto Public Library, Baldwin Collection, Item TSPA 0113093f.

’twas ever thus. So long as we’ve gathered into cities, there have been disputes – both major and minor – over the appropriate and proportionate use of public space.  Sometimes, such as our perennial arguments over the patios installed on Elgin street here in Ottawa during the summer months, it’s an entirely legitimate exercise in negotiating the use of space. Other times, such as the pitched battles between restaurants and food trucks, it’s more a matter protecting revenues by limiting the range of choices in the immediate area. In the case of the photo above, it was more of the former, but with some drops of the latter added to the mix.

Read more