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Iconic Toronto sign set to get a permanent upgrade

Last Updated Aug 29, 2019 at 6:33 pm EDT

It’s become an iconic landmark in the city – the third most visited attraction after the CN Tower and the Eaton Centre. But now the Toronto sign is starting to show its age.

Situated at Nathan Phillips Square, the sign was originally built for the PanAm and Parapan American Games in 2015 and only meant to last only a few weeks.

But it quickly swelled the hearts of locals and became a regular backdrop for tourists selfies.

And now, four years later, the summer sun and the winter weather have taken its toll. The letters are faded and stained, the plastic light up fronts are scratched and smeared with streaks of grime.

City officials say they’ve spent more than $400,000 to keep the sign in a state of good repair and rather than paying for further, ongoing repairs and maintenance of the structure, it’s time for a more durable sign.

Toronto mayor John Tory says the temporary sign has become an invaluable icon for Toronto.

“I don’t think anyone could imagine Nathan Phillips Square without the Toronto sign now,” Tory said in a statement released Thursday.

“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.”

The city says the new and improved Toronto sign will be easier to clean, be made of waterproof material, and will have augmented lighting capacity, as well as other creative features to support public engagement and interaction.

No price tag has been put on the new sign but the city says it will use reserve funds and existing operational budgets to cover the ongoing maintenance adding it is open to “philanthropic support” to enhance the features of the sign.

Selfie-seekers need not worry, the city says the updated sign will visually be a replica of the original and should be installed by the end of this year to help ring in 2020.