Ontario’s Provincial Logo Raises Questions

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Sometime back in 2006, a small gathering of bureaucrats sat in a conference room in Ontario and gazed at a design proposal for the new provincial logo. It was a semi-abstract image, the artist said, of a trillium (flower) bloom.

It was a busy day, the logo looked like a flower — and Canadians especially like flora and fauna such as maple leaves and beavers as national symbols — so the proposal was approved and the meeting adjourned.

Almost immediately, however, some Canadians began seeing something else in the logo. Take a close look.

There were some Canadians who saw three men relaxing in a slightly-skewed, triangular-shaped hot tub. What's more, they said, once you saw the three men in a hot tub, you couldn't unsee them. There they were, every time you encountered a billboard or tourism ad or official letter.

"Now that's all I can see," tweeted Ontarian Adam Gillis of the three men.

Over the years, the flower versus hot tub controversy bubbled and steamed and simmered until the election of Douglas Ford as premier of Ontario last year. Ford had seen the men, couldn't unsee them either, and commissioned a new logo at the cost of $89,000.

Times being what they are, this too was controversial, as defenders of the hot tub took to social media to decry the loss of a relaxing public symbol while others insisted the change was needed — such as this anonymous Ontarian tweeter who said, "Everyone knew the hot tub guys had to go."

The Ford administration has issued few statements other than to state that the redesign was inexpensive and necessary, and is clearly hoping the hot tub controversy will cool off.

For our part, AQUA believes hot tubs make great provincial logos and we encourage municipalities of all kinds across North America to simply pick up and adopt the sweet hot tub that Ontario has foolishly left at the curb.

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