toronto street sign

Toronto (finally) allows the sale of old street signs

The city will begin auctioning off its vast stockpile of old road signs next year, but not at the $30 starting price suggested in May. Owning a piece of Toronto's wayfinding heritage will cost a minimum of $100 once the city finds a way to manage the bidding process, the public works committee decided today.

The city current has more than 1,200 signs - some of them dented, bent, or too damaged to be of practical use, others made redundant by newer designs - in storage on Eastern Avenue. Since the look of Toronto's street signs was harmonized in 2007, the city says it has received more than 3,500 requests to buy an old piece of the streetscape.

Right now the requests have all been made informally via calls to the office. The city plans to dedicate a portion of its website next year to handle road sign requests (we'll provide an update when that happens).

When the online auctions go live in 2014, bids on individual signs will be accepted for a total of 60 days. Any that go unsold will be scrapped "in an environmentally responsible manner."

A note for would-be pranksters: The city says it will make the owners of old road signs sign a waiver promising not display the signs on the street "in such a way as to confuse road users." The kill-joys.

Earlier this year the city let us rummage through the street signs it had on offer. Check out the pictures here.

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

Image: Chris Bateman/blogTO


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