Residents seeing red after failed 'shop local' marketing scheme taints Roncesvalles Avenue yellow

A failed "shop local" marketing plan has turned Roncesvalles into a yellow, slick road.

Ovenight Wednesday, Dec. 1, the Roncesvalles Village Business Improvement Area (BIA), as part of its 'There’s No Place Like Roncy' holiday shopping campaign, painted a golden Wizard of Oz-like path on the sidewalk on Roncesvalles Avenue, south of Dundas Street West.

However, with rainy weather, the water-soluble paint that was used is now washing away. It’s smeared all over the sidewalks, made puddles look like lemonade, and gotten all over people’s shoes, boots, clothing, on the tires of their strollers and bikes.

Area resident Victoria Meyerink’s rescue pup, Amelia, now has golden-hued paws and a yellow belly.

“I’ll give her a bath and hopefully it’ll come out,” she told

Meyerink lives just off Roncesvalles. She was out with her white dog Thursday morning running to run a few errands.

“Everyone is tracking this paint everywhere. … I just think this is a half-baked idea. It’s nice that the (business association) wanted to do something special to the street, but they should have checked the weather forecast first,” she said.

“It’s definitely a hot yellow mess. … We just had snow. I’m not really sure what they were thinking. It’s just ridiculous.”

And now on social media, many residents are seeing red.

Residents seeing red after failed 'shop local' marketing scheme taints Roncesvalles Avenue yellow

who thought painting a kilometre of sidewalk yellow was a good idea, and then forgot to check the weather? is this a shop-local gimmick that backfired? #shoplocal #publicspaces #roncesvalles #roncesvallesBIA #toronto #topoli

— Scott Barker (@scottbarker) Dec. 2, 2021

Scott Barker, who also lives in the area, contacted the BIA to complain.

In an email, the business association advised him that the paint on the sidewalk is "non-toxic, safe, and approved by the City of Toronto for use on the sidewalks."

The BIA blamed the wet weather for the mess.

"The rain, which is of course out of our control, has unfortunately played a role here, and we have crews currently working on clean up for any paint that has started to run off the intended pathway," they wrote.

"We assure you that this project is developed with our community in mind, and we are taking all the steps necessary to create something special for the neighbourhood, despite some of the effects from the weather. "

The Roncesvalles Village BIA also said that the goal of this project was to "bring a creative and artistic approach to exploring our neighbourhood this holiday season, bringing to life a bright and colourful pathway for everyone to follow along as they complete their Holiday shopping. We know how important it is that we all continue to shop and support local businesses here in Roncesvalles as we continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic."

The BIA also suggested Barker clean off the paint with a cloth or brush with some warm water and, if necessary, mix some detergent.

In an email, Maria-Paula Galia, who is handling public relations for the BIA, said the plan is to still complete the project and reveal it in its entirety the morning of Saturday, Dec. 4.

"In a perfect world, dry weather conditions would have allowed the team to paint the whole two-kilometre stretch of the sidewalk in a single shot, however this was not possible and instead small stretches of the sidewalk have been painted each day this week. We regret that rainy weather conditions resulted in a bleeding of the paint this morning, but our cleaning crew has been working diligently on cleaning the sidewalk all day. As it stands, the campaign is still a work in progress and the aim is to reveal the entire project Saturday morning," she wrote. We asked the Roncesvalles Village BIA for comment, but we have yet to hear back.

The BIA also tweeted earlier today about the situation and advised people not to worry.

Thanks for checking in. The rain is coming into play here, but clean up crews are out to take care of this. The paint is non-toxic and safe.