toronto development application sign chinese

Toronto is finally getting its first development sign in a language other than English

It seems a parody sign erected by a community grassroots organization in Chinatown last month had the intended effect, because the city is about to put up its first development application sign in a language other than English. 

City councillor Mike Layton tweeted about the new sign earlier today, indicating that it will soon go up on Spadina Avenue.

Community organization Friends of Chinatown TO first pointed out the city's oversight by installing a parody sign in both English and traditional Chinese. 

Their sign replicated the official development sign in front of Rol San — a staple dim sum spot in Chinatown that could soon face demolition.

Plans for a 13-storey, mixed-use building designed by Montgomery Sisam were submitted to the city a few months ago. If the project goes ahead, it could mean the closure of more than 10 longtime Chinatown businesses, including the beloved neighbourhood staple Rol San.

The project would span two main buildings at 315-325 Spadina Avenue and re-zone the stretch of Spadina between D'arcy and Baldwin Streets. 

The city's new sign is set to be erected in front of the 315 Spadina Court building. 

FOCT's stunt aimed to question how the potential new development would impact the lives of Chinatown’s residents, families and business owners.

On top of that, the bilingual parody sign pointed out the fact that the city's sign would be illegible to many of the residents it was intended to inform. 

"Language inaccessibility keeps non-English speaking, immigrant and newcomer communities in the dark about potential changes to the composition of the neighbourhood," Amy Lam, an FOCT organizer, said at the time.

It seems the city heard FOCT's message — or at least part of it — loud and clear. 

Lead photo by

Mira Miller


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