El Mocambo

Is Toronto planning to save the El Mocambo sign?

The future of the iconic El Mocambo sign is once again looking uncertain. The palm tree-shaped neon sign was briefly listed on eBay last week where it attracted more than $15,000 in bids before being hastily taken down without explanation.

"No-one bought it," said co-owner Sam Grosso in a text message last week, without divulging any additional information. "I want to keep it in Toronto," he said.

Now it appears there are indeed plans to find a new home for the sign. According to the Toronto Star, Grosso held a preliminary meeting with representatives from City of Toronto, the local BIA, and a music industry lobby group with an eye to its preservation, though nothing has been decided.

The sign, the club's most famous and visible asset, was extensively renovated at a cost of $20,000 in 2012. Grosso had said he would like the sign to be placed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if the Cleveland, Ohio, if the institution would cover the cost of removal and shipping.

Grosso, co-owner of the El Mocambo with Marco Petrucci of 99 Sudbury, announced last month the club would be permanently closing in November after 70 years as a mecca for rock and roll fans.

The building has been conditionally sold, although it's not clear what will fill the space or if the deal will eventually be finalized.

The club's farewell show, a fundraiser for Parkinson's research, is scheduled for next Thursday.

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

Image: Alex Meoko.


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