UPDATE (Monday October 22 @ 2:16 EDT): There’s been an interesting development in this story — see the end of this post for details.
One reason I bike whenever possible is that it frees me from having to deal with this city’s Parking-Industrial complex, the worst of whom are the parking lot operators. Once, after my car got stolen from a parking lot, I had to deal with a parking lot attendant who did his level best to prevent me and a police officer from looking at the space from which my car got jacked. He insisted that I had never parked there nor had my car been stolen from there in spite of two corroborating witnesses and a bunch of suspicious-looking broken glass where I had parked. I understand that they’re not liable if your car gets stolen, but they’re not supposed to actively hinder my recovering my ride just to preserve the lot’s reputation, either.
As a result, it wasn’t terribly surprising to read in the Toronto Star that employees of a lot run by Impark close to where Cirque du Soleil have been performing have been running a little scam. Prior to performances, they’ve been placing pylons in front of the curbs on Commissioners street, where parking is legal and free of charge in order to fool drivers into thinking that they’re not allowed to park there. Since Cirque du Soleil is a special limited-time event, the fee for parking at the nearby Impark lot is $15.
The Star approached an Impark employee who was placing the pylons prior to a Cirque du Soleil show last Thursday:
On Thursday afternoon, we went to Commissioners just before 5 p.m. Shortly after, we observed a man taking pylons out of the trunk of his car and placing them on Munition and then Commissioners Sts. We asked if there was no parking on Commissioners.
“That’s right, no parking,” he said.
We asked who he worked for.
“The parking,” he replied, motioning towards the Impark lot.
We asked him several times if he knew what authority or permission, if any, that his supervisor had to restrict parking on a public road. He refused to answer and finally sped away in his car.
A follow-up article in today’s Star reports that Impark stopped placing cones to block access to free parking after their ran their article. Impark has yet to return their calls for their side of the story (which I suspect is “We are scum”).
Some tips for not being scammed by parking lot operator schemes like Impark’s:
- Movie location company pylons usually have the location company’s name or logo on them — often it’s an “@” sign, the logo for that location company that seems to handle every film shot here.
- If free parking has been cut off by the city for an event, there are usually signs posted indicating so.
Contrary to two articles published on Oct. 20 and 22, Impark (Imperial Parking Canada Corporation) did not operate the parking lots near the Cirque du Soleil performances at Commissioner and Cherry Sts., and they have no lots in that area.
The Star regrets the error and apologizes to Impark.
My questions are:
- How’d they get something as simple as the ownership of the parking lots in the area wrong? The ownership of parking lots is generally easy to discern — it’s usually clearly marked, as far as I can tell.
- So who owns those parking lots, then?
- The actual pylon incident did happen, didn’t it?
- Who got to you, Toronto Star?