new toronto sign

A brand new Toronto sign is being installed and it's costing the city more than $760k

It was just over one year ago that the city announced the iconic Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square would be taken down and replaced with a more durable, permanent version — and the brand new sign is now in the process of being installed. 

Standing outside city hall Thursday afternoon, Mayor John Tory announced that the installation of the new sign had begun and the entire process is expected to be completed within roughly one week. 

"As we embark upon the work to rebuild our city from the significant impacts of the covid-19 pandemic, it is fitting that installation of the new, more durable Toronto Sign is underway," Tory said in a statement. 

"I know when we get through this, Toronto will shine brighter, just like the sign itself. Like our iconic Toronto Sign, together, I am confident that we will rebuild a Toronto that is inclusive, dynamic and resilient."

The original Toronto sign was first put up as a temporary structure in July 2015 for the Toronto Pan American and Parapan American Games, and it was only built to last a few weeks. 

But the attraction immediately gained popularity, becoming both a tourist destination and a selfie background for visitors and locals alike.

As a result, the city extended its presence in Nathan Phillips Square indefinitely, and it has since become a Toronto landmark.

But the sign wasn't built to last. It started to show significant wear and tear over the past couple of years and has required ongoing repairs and enhancements just to keep it working.

So last August the city announced intentions to replace it with something more durable, and in December they awarded a contract for the design, construction, installation and ongoing maintenance of a new sign to Toronto-based custom design and fabrication supplier Unit 11.

"The new and improved Toronto Sign will be easier to clean, waterproof, and will have augmented lighting capacity and other creative features to support public engagement and interaction," notes a release from the city.

The sign is also set to retain the maple leaf, which was installed in 2017 to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, as well as the medicine wheel, which was installed on June 21 of 2018 to honour National Indigenous Peoples Day.

The new sign will undoubtedly be an upgrade, but it won't come cheap. 

According to the city, the entire process of removing the old sign, designing and installing a new one, and other maintenance and enhancement fees costs a whopping $761,842. 

The city is using reserve funds to pay for the new sign, and they're tapping into existing operational budgets to cover the ongoing cost of maintenance and vinyl wraps.

"I don't think anyone can imagine Nathan Phillips Square without the now iconic Toronto Sign," said Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson in a statement. 

"It has brought our city together to celebrate our achievements, mark occasions and raise awareness, all while providing a spectacular selfie back drop."

Lead photo by

John Tory

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