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Speakers Corner is coming back, sort of

No, CityTV won’t be restoring the famous booth to Queen and John, but Marketing Magazine reports that the broadcaster will be reviving its Speakers Corner brand in a lesser form.

According to Marketing, the new Corner will launch on March 26, but there are some catches: rather than dropping a loonie into a street-side kiosk and ranting as they see fit, users will submit videos online. Also, whereas the original Speakers Corner was a TV show that aired submitted footage, the new Speakers Corner will be limited to the CityNews and 680News websites, where videos will be made available for visitors to view.

The idea sounds nowhere near as loopy and anarchic as the original Speakers Corner, which ran on City from the late 1980s until it was cancelled in 2008, a victim of corporate restructuring that put CityTV, a one-time upstart, into the hands of Rogers Media. (A full episode of Speakers Corner from 1990 is embedded above, courtesy of YouTube user Retrontario. It’s the most nineties-Toronto thing you’ll ever see. One guy only wants to talk about 2 Live Crew.)

The original show had a long and storied history that has made it a favourite of Torontonian nostalgia buffs. The booth spawned its own celebrities, and even gave an early boost to Barenaked Ladies.

It seems like a foregone conclusion that this new version won’t be as good, if only because YouTube exists now. But we can hope.

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