toronto restaurant signs

Meet the guy behind epic Toronto restaurant signs

If you've gone out to eat in Toronto, you've likely seen Ian Milne's work. From Sweet Jesus and La Carnita in King West to Buca Yorkville, Milne's custom restaurant signs beckon hungry diners into popular eateries across the city.

Milne, who's an industrial designer of sorts, makes outdoor signs, as well as other unique items including jewelry, lighting and clocks. Despite the ubiquity of his pieces, he says he fell into his current business almost by fluke.

Toronto restaurant signs

"I had a friend who was opening a restaurant and he was looking for ideas for various things," he says. "I just sort of said, 'I can probably make you a really cool sign.' And the rest is history."

He created that first sign, for the St. Clair West bistro Rushton, back in 2007. Around the same time, he also made a sign for Rocco Agostino's Silver Spoon.

toronto restuarant signs

Now sign-making is Milne's full-time gig. Some restaurant owners come to Milne with ready-made logos; others give him free reign. While working with Poutini's House of Poutine, for instance, he came up with the poutine-emporium's slogan: om nom nom.

toronto restaurant signs

On average, each outdoor sign runs between $3,000-$6,000. Milne relies heavily on durable materials - such as steel and glass -- thanks to Toronto's erratic climate. "My biggest enemy is salt on streets like Queen Street," he says.

toronto restaurant signs

While signs might be Milne's bread-and-butter, he looks indoors for opportunities too. "Every restaurant wants a cool conversation piece, be it a light or a piece on the wall," he says, noting he can get more creative here because he's not limited by certain materials.

toronto restaurant signs

Lately, he's also been getting commissions from individuals who want pieces for their homes. And, he wants to leverage his word-of-mouth popularity in the food industry to continue selling products beyond his custom signs, including his lighting fixtures and clocks -- or as he refers to them, his time machines.

toronto restaurant signs

For now though, you can spot some of his most recent work at Bobbie Sue's on Ossignton and at the John Street La Carnita/Sweet Jesus complex.

toronto restaurant signs

Photos via Ian Milne's website and the blogTO archives.

Latest Videos

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Eat & Drink

Another case of shrinkflation at Ontario grocery store has people talking

This is the man behind Toronto's hottest new hidden restaurant

5 new restaurants for Mother's Day brunch in Toronto

Casa Loma is hosting a lavish high tea experience for Mother's Day in Toronto

Flat croissants are Toronto's hottest new food trend and here's where you can find them

Food festival celebrating 41 different countries coming to Toronto

Toronto chef responds to brutal review of his Italian restaurant

Toronto restaurant causing a stir over perplexing dress code rules