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Sunday Supplement: The Don Valley's rainbow tunnel, a look at sign rules, and rejected names for the Raptors

Posted by Chris Bateman / November 4, 2012

toronto don valley rainbowA small, brightly colored underpass in the Don Valley might not seem like a place with much of a story, but the rainbow tunnel in Milne Hollow is certainly worth noticing. The latest chapter in its history was written this week, and we take a look back at the paintwork's origin.

Also this week, there's a look at the almost unenforced a-frame sign bylaw that made headlines this week and a list of unused names for the Toronto Raptors.

Somewhere Under the RainbowA painted rainbow marking the entrance to a pedestrian underpass in the Don Valley got a fresh lick of paint this week, its first official facelift since it was created in 1972.

Painted by Norwegian muralist B.C. (Berg) Johnson by hanging suspended from the CN tracks above, the piece was intended to bring a little cheer to the city's dour commuters. Unfortunately, the authorities weren't too jazzed about the idea.

The rainbow was repeatedly threatened with removal by the city despite local popularity among walkers in Milne Hollow near Lawrence Avenue and passing motorists. The parks department painted over the rainbow with grey paint several times before learning to love the artwork, which was often repaired by concerned local residents.

Despite its numerous concerned well-wishers, including artist Peter Doig, the DVP rainbow started to chip paint and attract tags from other graffiti artists in recent years.

According to The Star, the cost of the official paint work was budgeted into the East Don Trail construction costs and was completed this week. Its full, bright colors will cheer a new generation of eagle-eyed Don Valley motorists.

Bad Signstoronto sandwich boardA-frame signs - sandwich boards to you and me - were in the news again this week when Global reported just 41 of the possibly thousands of signs on public sidewalks were registered and licensed with the city. I suspect most business owners that plonk a sign outside the front door don't know they need a license, but still, good enforcement guys.

Here's a list of some of the unusual (and hyper specific) regulations in the a-frame sign bylaw:

  • "When portable signs are displayed or erected on public property as permitted by this article, the placement of the signs shall allow for an unobstructed pedestrian clearway, of a minimum width of 2.1 metres."
  • "Portable signs shall be located against the front wall of the premises directly adjacent to the business which it is advertising ... the portable signs shall be located so as not to obstruct the remaining portion of the sidewalk."
  • "No Portable sign shall be located in an area that has tall grass or weeds, litter, trash or is generally unkempt,"
  • "Each portable sign shall only display first party content and no other message;"
  • "Each portable sign shall not exceed a maximum height of 1.0 metre, nor be less than a minimum height of 0.5 metre;"
  • "Each portable sign shall not exceed a maximum width of 0.6 metre;"
  • "A portable sign shall not be animated, contain any video display elements, be illuminated, have flashing lights, emit sound or have electronic device to create or simulate motion,"
  • "the owner of the sign shall display on the sign a sign permit identifier issued by the City as evidence that the sign has been authorized."

Don't say you weren't told.

Naming the Raptorstoronto raptorsLast week we took a look at some of the rejected names for the Toronto Blue Jays (or Giants, Lakers, or Blues) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the team's first World Series win. Since the NBA season officially kicked off this week, let's check out some of the names that fell by the wayside during the public naming contest.

  • Toronto Huskies (after the original Toronto Huskies)
  • Toronto Beavers
  • Toronto Bobcats
  • Toronto Dragons
  • Toronto Grizzlies
  • Toronto Hogs (for Hogtown)
  • Toronto Scorpions
  • Toronto T-Rex
  • Toronto Tarantulas
  • Toronto Terriers

Professional Basketball Franchise (Canada) Inc. (as it was known pre-naming) chose the Raptors name on 15 May 1994 in the hopes of cashing in on the popularity of the Jurassic Park movie franchise. The silver trim on the team's uniforms is named "Naismith Silver" after the Canadian inventor of basketball, James Naismith.

The team played its first seasons at the SkyDome and Maple Leaf Gardens before moving with the Leafs to the Air Canada Centre. A planned arena next to the Eaton Centre at Bay and Dundas never materialized.

Photos: "Under the Rainbow, Charles Sauriol Preservation Reserve, Don Valley, Toronto" by Tony Lea, "Undead Friendly Zone" by sniderscion, "Fisheye Raptors" by longshots from the blogTO Flickr pool.



Nixon / November 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm
It should have been The Huskies and they should have kept the retro white/blue jerseys you see in stores today.
Aydin / November 4, 2012 at 01:11 pm
Raptors is an embarrassingly bad name for an NBA team. I always thought it should have been the Toronto Towers. Cute play on words, and it would have something to do with the city, unlike the Velociraptor.
joe / November 4, 2012 at 01:48 pm
It's the Towers. That's what the city wanted and what everyone expected. The decision to go with Raptors was just cheap marketing. Mighty Ducks.
Jose / November 4, 2012 at 02:35 pm
So corporate greed was the only reason why they choose to name the team The Raptors.

Didn't they know that eventually, like every other fad, the movie Jurassic Park would die out? They didn't consider any longevity in the actual team, rather, temporary financial gain?

White Collar Pigs. Hey, I just named those corporate bastards lol.
akswun / November 4, 2012 at 03:08 pm
As bad as the name is, the Raptor mascot remains one of the best in the NBA. Oh but wait here comes the Brooklyn Knight brought to you by Marvel!

Craptors / November 4, 2012 at 04:26 pm
Should of been called the Craptors since they suck so much.
who cares? / November 4, 2012 at 06:48 pm
Who really cares what any of the names of our sports teams are?
They all suck and charge a premium to go watch them.
Maybe we are the stupid ones who actually pay to go see our teams loose.
distractions / November 4, 2012 at 08:20 pm
its because people are playing into the distractions they are fed. sad state...
steve podborski / November 4, 2012 at 08:21 pm
anyone old enough to remember TIMEX TRAILS near the rainbow bridge???
Jer / November 5, 2012 at 11:02 am
Interesting article about the A-Frame signs. I am surprised that the city hasn't jumped on it as a revenue model. Some store owners are very inconsiderate with placement, they should have more respect for people with disabilities and at least follow the other rules even if they don't apply for the permit.
Bradley replying to a comment from Aydin / November 5, 2012 at 12:23 pm
I came to the comments to say I remembered voting for the Toronto Towers ... glad to see there are others who feel the same.
Alex / November 5, 2012 at 03:46 pm
Toronto Towers? What is wrong with you people? We already have one team named after an inanimate object, do we really need two?

I love the Raptors name and mascot. It's the only part of our team I like. Basketball is boring to watch and our team sucks, so at least they have a good name.
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