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Vintage Toronto street signs are (finally) up for grabs

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 24, 2014

toronto street signsIt's been almost a year in the making, but now the city says it's at last ready to part with its vast stockpile of some 1,750 decommissioned street signs. Starting April 28, the first batch of 100 signs will be sold at online auction via Platinum Liquidations.

The signs, many of which are of the classic "acorn" style design, have been held in storage at a facility on Eastern Avenue since 2007, when the city began its consolidated street furniture program. The retired road makers come in a range of styles, some which haven't been seen on Toronto's streets in decades.

Every year the city replaces about 1,800 signs due to damage or weathering. Those that are illegible or completely wrecked - crunched into a ball or splintered with sharp edges - will be scrapped. The city expects between 200 and 300 signs that are suitable for sale will be added to the auction inventory annually.

The minimum opening bid will be $30 for each sign, progressing upwards in increments of $5 for a maximum of 60 days. Unfortunately, Platinum Liquidations says it can't predict which signs will be for sale at any given time, so expect to check the website often if you're after a particular street.

In the meantime, why not whet your appetite by checking out pictures of the signs in storage.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Chris Bateman/blogTO.



Ryan / April 24, 2014 at 01:16 pm
Dibs on Buttfucking Avenue
Alexander / April 24, 2014 at 01:18 pm
Such wonderful stupidity...auctions that are WAY too long (60 days) complete list of inventory (really? Is it super hard to list the signs?) and, of course, minimum fee's that will likely result in a bunch heading to the landfill...I am sure the city could come up with a dumber way of doing this but they would probably screw that up too.
Thomas replying to a comment from Alexander / April 24, 2014 at 01:20 pm
You seem fun.
Anita / April 24, 2014 at 01:22 pm
60 days? No thank you.
Rj / April 24, 2014 at 02:13 pm
Minimum fees of $30...because they'd rather get nothing than give them away for any less, lol.
jen / April 24, 2014 at 02:14 pm
I've been on a wait list for these signs for YEARS now. It's too bad that I'll have to compete via auction with wealthy people, but at least the city stands to make some money out of this.
Earl / April 24, 2014 at 02:27 pm
Any Dixon Rd or Windsor Rd signs available?

Maybe if we get rid of all evidence that those roads existed the scandal story will go away...
Al replying to a comment from Alexander / April 24, 2014 at 02:34 pm
The original plan was just to sell them for a pre-set price on a first-come-first-served basis, but a few people online got really excited, and the city started to see dollar signs. I'll bet fewer than half will actually sell.
McRib / April 24, 2014 at 02:59 pm
$30 starting bids and an auction that's open for 60 days? no thanks.

Too bad, I'd like one or two but I don't want to have to compete for 2 months to get the chance of being outbid at the last second.

So I guess those of us who put our names on a waiting list a year or two back were wasting our time, eh?
W. K. Lis / April 24, 2014 at 04:39 pm
Wonder if one of the Ford brothers will go after "Ford St."? It was in the St. Clair Avenue West and Old Weston Road area.
Todd Toronto / April 24, 2014 at 04:56 pm
So stupid of the City to scrap the acorn-shaped signs in the first place. They were truly iconic. Nothing against North York, but why did the City adopt its blue and white colour scheme?
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / April 24, 2014 at 08:07 pm
Agreed. Now, the signs look like the signs from anyplace else in Toronto, and not downtown; where's the thing that makes downtown different from anyplace else?
W. K. Lis replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / April 24, 2014 at 08:52 pm
This happens when money overrides uniqueness. Yes the new signage is cheaper, but they are not "Toronto".
Ummmm... / April 25, 2014 at 07:11 am
What happened to the waiting list...
When was the city going to "officially" let us know about this...
At least they're finally being made available but still a fail...
infernalmachine replying to a comment from W. K. Lis / April 25, 2014 at 08:56 am
the new blue and white signs are bigger, more visible, and reflective - they comply with new signage requirements. they're just much better to read, particularly in traffic if you're going someplace new.

that said the old ones are much more unique and cool looking.
emily replying to a comment from Simon Tarses / April 25, 2014 at 09:41 am
c'mon guys, they're no streetcars. the new ones are safer.
first replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / April 25, 2014 at 10:11 am
We changed the signs so that those with vision issues will be able to live a normal life such as eveyone else.
You do understand that as a society we have the obligation to support those with physical needs as well.

Its something hipsters can not understand as they are still living at home with mummy in the basement.

The acorn had to go for the good of the people. They were not iconic in the first place. No one says 'hey lets visit Toronto to look at acorn street signs' Do not romanticise things from the past.

pz / April 25, 2014 at 10:34 am
So what the fuck was the point of that waiting list a bunch of us signed up for way back when?

and 60 day auctions? Jeezus, no thanks! Yet another fail...
Thomas replying to a comment from first / April 25, 2014 at 10:36 am
This is an insane comment.
You have arbitrarily brought "hipsters" into this for no good reason and made wild assumptions based on stereotypes that are not generally true.

Then you just demand people do not romanticize the past, as if you have the authority to tell people what to do.

Yes Universal Design is important but there is no reason to be an asshole when promoting it.
Todd Toronto replying to a comment from first / April 25, 2014 at 10:55 am
Ha! Nicely done.
Jacob / April 25, 2014 at 11:26 am
Hi all, I just learned on another posting about mountain bikes on this site that you can't be a hipster if you have a mountain bike...I guess its not in the hipster rule book.
first replying to a comment from Thomas / April 25, 2014 at 02:18 pm
It appears you have an issue with authority.
Im sure your mummy will be upset with you if she found out you were speaking with strangers on the internet without permission or oversight.

Since you are crying right now I'm sure you have tissue next to your 9th place trophies you won at school for the best you that you could be award.
scottd / April 28, 2014 at 10:54 am
A very dumb process. We should be able to see them all at one time.
E.H. Zwick / April 28, 2014 at 03:04 pm
Can people please stop bidding on these? They are unnecessarily driving up the price. I have my eye on the sign for my street (and house number) and idiots keep coming in and increasing by $5. Just wait until the last 30 minutes of the auction.
Hmmm.. / April 29, 2014 at 09:41 pm
Anyone else perturbed by the fact that the "celebrity" signage is all Rob Ford? I would have really liked to bid on some of those signs but in no way want to have a reminder of Ford's run as mayor on my wall. Also a bummer that his name is probably driving up the price for secondary sale. Here's hoping there's a way to take it off without ruining the paint underneath.
BrotherMarkle / July 10, 2014 at 04:40 pm
Always wondered. There's a major thoroughfare downtown that still has a couple, can't remember which right now. I would love one of those.
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