PLACE MARKETING AND PLACE MAKING: TORONTO, TOURISM, AND THE FRACTURED GAZE
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This thesis is an empirical and theoretical investigation into the changing trends in place marketing as it relates to urban tourism, particularly in the city of Toronto. It begins by exploring broader discourses to do with capitalism and creativity and their impacts on city space and people’s interactions with it and within it. These perspectives are then situated in the Toronto context, a city that currently embraces the notion of the Creative City, as promulgated by Richard Florida, which encourages the branding of the city for the purpose of stimulated economic growth and in which tourism plays an increasing role. Thirdly, it examines the theoretical implications of the prominent belief that tourism and place marketing are imperative for Toronto’s economic well-being. Official efforts at place marketing and place branding construct what John Urry terms the tourist gaze, and frame the city in particular ways to particular people. Fourthly, this thesis gives an empirical account of how the gaze comes to bear on the physical city space in terms of infrastructure and financing projects in the interest of creating a Tourist City. The penultimate chapter brings to light how the rise of new media has allowed for the greater possibility to puncture the traditionally linear narrative of the city with new voices, thus fracturing the monolithic gaze in some instances. The thesis concludes by questioning the implications of new media on the existing systems of city management and promotion, recognizing the ambivalence of new media and its potential to both challenge and reproduce current discourse.