Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Note from Corneil

January 1, 2016

After six years and around 180 posts, I’ve decided to bring this blog to a close. I’ll be launching a new blog on another topic soon, and I’ll post a link to it here. Thank you for reading me and all the best for a prosperous 2016. Happy New Year!

Corneil Van der Spek

Hopes and Dreams

September 30, 2015

Hopes and Dreams

I don’t often feature graffiti on this blog, but this scrawl of desperation really struck me. In a world of never ending digital status updates, it makes sense that a distressed soul would seek refuge in a wall.


Inclusion makes us stronger

June 30, 2015

Inclusion makes us stronger

During the month of June, buildings all over the city sprout rainbows. Here’s an example at a Scotiabank branch that really makes an impact. The slogan is just as appropriate for Canada Day as for Pride Month.

May your summer celebrations be full of joy.


March 31, 2015


There’s something poignant about chalkboard signs. All that effort for something that is designed to be erased.

Here’s a chalkboard sign for a vintage clothing shop, Cabaret, on Queen Street West. It features the iconic image of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s a pleasure to see her make an appearance amid stylish Torontonians.

I love the way her cigarette becomes part of the letter A.

St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2015


Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Toronto Type!


A. Ramiy

January 20, 2015

A. Ramiy

Happy New Year from Toronto Type!

Here’s a Cabbagetown sign that’s full of life. The multicoloured lettering and abundance of information give the impression of a friendly person with a lot to say.

I believe the language at the bottom is Tamil. Multilingual signs are found throughout Toronto and I hope to feature more in the future.


‘Tis the Season of Dreams

December 23, 2014

'Tis the Season of Dreams

William Ashley China is one of those places you can always count on for interesting window displays.

Here’s an excerpt from their holiday windows, featuring graffiti lettering and two playful elves.

Happy Holidays from Toronto Type!


November 30, 2014


I spotted these posters on Church Street in front of a restaurant called House-Maison. I love the way these two words are stacked up on top of each other.

The column of type has a percussive energy, like the sound of a drum roll. It easily commands attention, its noise overcoming everything around it.

The typography of a city often has a kind of music to it and it’s up to us to tune in to it, like honing in on a radio frequency. Are you listening?

Hastings Barber Shop

July 31, 2014

Hastings Barber Shop

I came across this barber shop in Leslieville last weekend. The painted lettering has the warmth and character of something made by hand.

Visually the words “Barber Shop” dominate, but the much smaller words bracketing “Shop” have a quiet impact: “Look Better” and “Feel Better”. It’s an acknowledgment that there’s more to a haircut than meets the eye.

The Venetian blinds provide the perfect backdrop, complementing the retro flavour of the sign.


April 30, 2014


If you’re a Toronto booklover, you probably know that The World’s Biggest Bookstore has closed its doors for good. Its remnants on Edward Street are a melancholy sight.

The massive letters of the sign are gone, leaving shadowy traces behind. A bunch of painted slogans remain untouched, including “A book for every passion” and “Booklovers hangout”.

Are the hangouts of booklovers really vanishing? Are they an endangered species in need of our protection? Or are we simply finding other places to congregate and appreciate the printed word?