August 15, 2018


Instead of being mad, local artist Andrew King hopes his t-shirt kerfuffle on Sparks Street can be channeled into real change.
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Local artist Andrew King’s offending Ottawa 2017 t-shirt.

Local artist Andrew King’s offending Ottawa 2017 t-shirt.

T-shirt fiasco

By: Emma Jackson from
Local artist Andrew King says ”good things are ahead” on Sparks Street after he was kicked out of the pedestrian mall for handing out free t-shirts.
The move caused a bit of a backlash on Friday: some accused Sparks of being ”the street that fun forgot,” while others actually protested the decision Saturday with handmade signs and the hashtag #funkillers.
While King called the situation ”ridiculous,” he’s hoping the outcry can be channelled into real change on the historic street.
”What this shows is people love Sparks Street and they want to see something fun and exciting there,” King said.
Instead of being mad, he’s working with Sparks Street BIA events coordinator Kevin McHale on a new project.
Neither of them would confirm what exactly that might be, or when we’ll see it.
”We’re just going to jam on some ideas,” King said.
The drama began around noon on Friday when King showed up outside the Sparks Street Winners to hand out 50 handmade Ottawa 2017 t-shirts.
”It was just meant to be a fun thing to get people in the mood to party,” King said. ”This was just a spontaneous thing on a beautiful day.”
But fun wasn’t really in the cards, as McHale confronted King almost immediately because he hadn’t cleared his plans with the BIA in advance.
”I have to apply the same rules (to everyone),” said McHale, who said he has to make sure the pedestrian mall doesn’t get too crowded. ”Most of the time we say yes.”
Still, McHale said the BIA can do a better job communicating those rules, and he’s asked city bylaw whether or not the BIA was wrong to make King leave.(T-shirt fiasco)
Meanwhile, King is planning to second run of the shirts – the first 50 were gone in minutes once he relocated – while he laughs off the ”hilarious” fiasco.
”This is so Ottawa,” he said.ÊÊÊ

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