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Parking in Toronto is even worse than driving in Toronto’s current state of mass construction. Streets can have half a dozen or more parking signs:
There are restrictions by time of year, day of week, time of day, and on top of that a permit system where ‘1H’ is a type of permit rather than ‘1 Hour.’
Rather than, say, policing, Toronto’s police seem dedicated to issuing parking tickets. There was no help a couple years ago when our rental car was broken into, though the police are always out in force to issue yellow slips. Even on a Sunday day on an otherwise deserted beach road along the Scarborough Bluffs, the police are out dutifully ticketing every car parked along the ample shoulder.
I assiduously tried all weekend to navigate the parking labyrinth, until overnight Sat, exhausted from the day’s battle with traffic and coming off a business trip to India, I overlooked a sign that prohibited parking from midnight-6 am even though all daytime Sunday was ok. Sure enough, at 1:50 am a ticket was placed on my windshield in this out of the way street. I was angry at myself and pissed off at Toronto, too, thinking of how the rental agency would gouge me in administrative fees above the ticket amount.
Turns out I shouldn’t have worried. I logged into the toronto.ca/parkingtickets, the #1 Google suggestion as you type to the .ca of the url, to find my ticket already paid. Anything involving a rental agency would take some time, so I did some hunting.
I had lucked out with a Quebec-plated car. The Toronto Star wrote in Out of province drivers get a pass on parking tickets, that perhaps because of the draconian parking regime, Toronto has no agreements with other Canadian provinces or US states to acquire information on non-Ontario cars. Prior efforts to acquire data or use collection agencies on the worst offenders, some with totals exceeding $30,000 have been abandoned as too expensive:
For three months, the Volkswagen Beetle regularly sat in the no-parking zones fronting the condo building at 100 Hayden St., amassing an impressive ticket collection.
“We called and got it ticketed,” said Sandy Maraj, the property manager for the condo building. “There would be several tickets on the car … She would crumple up the tickets and put them in the flower pots.”
Mike Guluk, the car’s Canadian owner, who spends half his time in Florida, has been fined $33,965 for 1,053 parking tickets issued between January 2008 and August 2012.
“It’s almost like a joke,” said Guluk, who lived in the Hayden St. condo for three months and says it was his wife, Sandy, who drove the car this summer. “(The parking officers) know me, they laugh about it and they say, ‘Well, here’s another ticket.’”
No one wants to cooperate with Toronto:
A big problem is that the municipal government cannot access data held by jurisdictions outside Ontario, meaning it can’t learn the name or address of a vehicle’s owner to collect the outstanding fine.
The city has canvassed “worst offender” areas, including Michigan, Ohio, New York and Quebec, for information-sharing agreements, but many governments cite privacy issues, Fabrizi said.
Champion parking violater Guluck has the final punchline:
He also denied that he and his wife used to discard their parking tickets in flower pots or tree wells outside the Hayden St. condo.
“I can assure that both my wife and I would never ever do that,” he said in the email. “I may be a scofflaw (what a great word) when it comes to parking, but not when it comes to the environment.”
Ethics come into play though you might as well mull over that in anything but an Ontario car.