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New TTC ad campaign criticized for lack of 'body diversity'

Last Updated Oct 29, 2016 at 9:11 am EDT

The TTC’s new ‘We Move Campaign’, which features five national ballet dancers performing at several transit locations throughout the city, has caught the ire of at least one organization.

In an online statement directed to the TTC and the National Ballet of Canada, Body Confidence Canada says the ads do not adequately represent those of most Canadians or TTC users.

“Regarding the TTC and The National Ballet of Canada joint campaign, we have concerns about the body size, shape and weight diversity, or should we say lack thereof, that this campaign unknowingly communicates,” part of the statement reads.

The organization is focused on the promotion of body diversity, equity and confidence. Its co-founder Jill Andrew, said it’s part of their organization’s mandate to ensure this conversation is had, adding that the campaign fails to represent Torontonians.

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“Our critique is about whether or not the ad speaks to TTC users,” Andrew explains. “Which body counts in an ad like that and which body does not.”

Andrew added the campaign should have been more representative of the target audience. In her online statement, she adds that the group included suggestions to be more inclusive.

“Imagine this ad, with National Ballet of Canada, including children, adults, people who are differently able bodied, with different racial backgrounds coming together to participate in this group dance on the TTC that symbolizes, we move you,” Andrew said.

The ads’ tagline intends to reflect how both the TTC and the ballet organization move their customers, through transit and the arts.

“The TTC is incredibly proud to be able to partner with the National Ballet of Canada to create an exciting and interesting campaign that showcases our respective places in the social and cultural fabric of Toronto,” Stuart Green, Senior Communications Specialist with the TTC, wrote CityNews in an email.

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The ads will appear at TTC stations and on the vehicles.

“We have done similar promotional campaigns with MLSE, The Pan-Am and Para Pan-am Games and Pride Toronto,” Green tells CityNews. “These organizations are representative of the diversity we cherish in Toronto.”

In celebration of the campaign, the ‘We Move You’ dancers from the National Ballet will be holding barre class at Union station on November 14.