Ontario man launches $2.5-million lawsuit over TORONTO sign

An Ontario man has filed a $2.5-million lawsuit against the City of Toronto after claiming he proposed the idea of creating the iconic 3D TORONTO sign at Nathan Phillips Square for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games last year.

The plaintiff, Bruce Barrow, alleges he developed the design for the sign years ago, but that his idea was used by city officials without permission.

The lawsuit names the City of Toronto, Mayor John Tory, councillors Josh Colle and Michael Thompson.

READ MORE: Designer claims idea for TORONTO sign was used for Pan Am Games without permission

A statement released by Barrow’s lawyer John Simpson said his client conceived the sign structure in 2009 and subsequently had several meetings with city officials in 2013 and 2014.

It is also alleged the idea was brought to the attention of Tory’s campaign manager Barry Avrich who then responded in an email: “Thanks for reaching out – agreed – good idea – best pitched once he wins – let’s keep in touch.”

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The allegations have not been proven in court.

According to the City of Toronto’s website, the 3D TORONTO sign was conceived by city staff “inspired by other successful marquee events and cities that have used a branded 3D letter installation.”

“Staff determined the specifications of the 3D TORONTO sign and worked collaboratively with a local manufacturer, through an RFP (request for proposal) process, to produce it.”

Barrow is seeking $1.75 million in damages for misappropriation of confidential information and breach of confidence, as well as $750,000 in punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages.

The sign has been a hit with local residents and tourists alike with many sharing photos of themselves with it on social media.

-With a file from Adam Miller

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