City to upgrade the iconic Toronto Sign

The City of Toronto will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to begin the process to secure a new, more durable Toronto Sign on Nathan Phillips Square, an iconic attraction for our city and a wildly popular spot for selfies and group photos among residents and visitors alike.

The original sign was installed on the public square in front of Toronto City Hall as a temporary structure in July 2015 for the Toronto Pan American and Parapan American Games. Although it was only built to last a few weeks, in response to the sign’s popularity the City extended its presence on the square indefinitely and it has become a Toronto landmark.

After more than four years, the original sign is now showing significant wear and tear. It has needed ongoing repairs and enhancements to keep it working. Staff determined that rather than paying for further, ongoing repairs and maintenance of the temporary structure, the City should invest in the construction of a new sign that will be more durable.

The city will use reserve funds to pay for the rebuild and existing operational budgets to cover the ongoing cost of maintenance and vinyl wraps. The city is open to philanthropic support to be able to enhance the features of the sign. Interested donors should contact the Toronto Office of Partnerships at 416-392-6121, [email protected] or donations.toronto.ca.

The city aims to have the new sign – visually, a replica of the original – installed by the end of this year just in time to help ring in 2020.

The new and improved Toronto Sign will be easier to clean, be made of waterproof material, and will have augmented lighting capacity and other creative features to support public engagement and interaction.

The city will retain the sign’s maple leaf, which was installed in 2017 to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, and the medicine wheel, which was installed on June 21, 2018, in consultation with the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre to honour National Indigenous Peoples Day. The medicine wheel is an emblem of North American Indigenous cultural values, tradition and spirituality. Its four directions (east, south, west and north) symbolize completeness, wholeness, connectedness and strength.

The scope of work includes design, construction and installation of the new sign, removal of the existing sign, production and installation of vinyl wraps, and maintenance over a three-year period.

Since its installation on the square in 2015, the Toronto Sign has become symbolic of Toronto.

According to Tourism Toronto’s visitor survey, the Toronto sign was one of the top three most visited attractions in the city. Over 122 million social media impressions were tracked for the Toronto Sign within its first six months and it is consistently ranked as one of the most instagrammable spots in the city.

The image of the sign is captured daily by local media and it has been a visual backdrop for global media coverage of major events from the 2015 Toronto Pan American and Parapan American Games and the 2017 Invictus Games to, most recently, the 2019 Toronto Raptors’ NBA championship playoffs.

The sign has also been illuminated and dimmed for hundreds of charities, community festivals, days of significance and times of mourning for the city and its residents.

“I don’t think anyone could imagine Nathan Phillips Square without the Toronto Sign now. The sign may have started as a temporary fixture but it has become a Toronto icon, beloved by residents and tourists alike. I’m confident the new and improved sign will continue to be a great attraction in the heart of our city that helps us recognize our major victories, significant days of citywide importance, and even moments of tragedy,” said Mayor John Tory.

Photographs of the Toronto Sign can be shared with the hashtag #xoTO and #TOsign. More information about the sign and related initiatives is available at toronto.ca/3dto.

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