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Toronto company could face fines for illegally placed signs

Watch the video above: What a Toronto company has to say about the possibility of fines. Cindy Pom reports. 

TORONTO – A company promising to finish painting projects in one day has plastered a neighbourhood in Toronto’s east-end with signs.

The signs can be found throughout the Beach, and sporadically in Leslieville and Lawrence Park. Those areas are the company’s “target neighbourhoods,” its general manager said.

“We’re revolutionizing and disrupting the painting industry,” Darryl Karper of Wow 1 Day Painting said. “We’re coming in and painting your house in one day.”

While business seems good – he claims to be getting constant referrals – the placement of the signs is a questionable.

A little known bylaw states signs advertising businesses cannot be placed on any city property except designated kiosks.

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“I wasn’t aware of that,” Karper said.

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“That’s how our business comes in. We get our name in front of the customers and they love our service and that’s how we’re getting them.”

Wow 1 Day Painting is the sister company of 1-800 Got Junk and has been operating in Toronto for two years.

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“Any poster that’s attached to city property is illegal, like hydro poles, garbage containers, phone booths, TTC kiosks,” said John DeCourcy, the city’s director of bylaw enforcement.

“[It’s] unlawful postering and you can be fined up to $400 if you’re found guilty.”

The city can fine people for every sign but generally won’t, DeCourcy said. Instead, it sets one fine for all the posters in a given area.

“If we found someone, a business, who had a number of posters posted illegally, we would bundle those together and we would just do one ticket going forward.”

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It’s not clear how big of a problem illegal postering is in the city but DeCourcy said his officers have been dealing with an increase recently. The city employs 50 bylaw officers to seek out infractions across the city.

But there are some exceptions to the postering rule, including signs for missing persons and community events.

“They can be hung up but we’d ask that when the function or event is over, that they be removed within five days,” he said.

The city did not say whether Wow 1 Day Painting can expect a fine, but DeCourcy, upon seeing a photo of the signs suggested they would infringe upon the bylaw and a team would be investigating soon.

With files from Cindy Pom