Here’s a bit of retro Canadiana that’s back in a new way just when we need it most: Speaker’s Corner.
Remember the cool little video booth set up at 299 Queen Street West in Toronto? It quickly became a tourist attraction outside Citytv 30 years ago in 1990. Other booths were positioned in Ottawa, Vancouver and other Canadian cities.
Folks used to pop in a looney, face the camera and rant on any topic, or jam an audition as the Barenaked Ladies did way, way back when they were Barenaked punks. Celebrities such as Madonna, Mike Myers, Harrison Ford and political leaders such as Jean Chretien also got ‘Cornered.
As social media gained prominence and Twitter and Facebook blew up big the booths were shut down. By 2008 they were all gone.
On Wednesday, June 3, as voices are being raised across the world on the streets and on-line, Rogers Sports & Media have re-imagined Speaker’s Corner as a social media megaphone. You can visit the site here.
“With racial inequality, hatred, and discrimination still so prevalent, we as a society must do better,” says Rogers Sports & Media President Jordan Banks in a release Wednesday. “We have a unique responsibility to engage Canadians in conversation through our media assets and help be a catalyst for positive change by amplifying voices that have not always been heard with equal measure.”
Anyone who wants to make a point on-line is encouraged to leave a video message at the site and use the hashtag #Speakup. Videos will appear on the SpeakersCorner webpage and some could wind up on CityNews, OMNI Television and across other Rogers’ platforms.
Best of all, it won’t even cost you a looney.