‘Toronto’ sign at Nathan Phillips Square set to be replaced

The Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square.
The Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

Municipal officials say plans are underway to replace the large iconic “Toronto” sign at Nathan Phillips Square as the current letters are showing “significant wear and tear.”

The sign, which is right next to the pond in front of Toronto city hall, was erected in 2015 as a temporary installation for the Pan American and Parapan American Games. But after four years, City of Toronto staff said the sign — which has become a top local destination for photos — needs replacements.

“It has needed ongoing repairs and enhancements to keep it working,” according to a statement released by the City of Toronto on Thursday.

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“Staff determined that rather than paying for further, ongoing repairs and maintenance of the temporary structure, the City should invest in the construction of a new sign that will be more durable.”

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When asked how much it will cost, a City of Toronto spokesperson declined to tell Global News what the overall budget is because companies will have to submit financial bid proposals over a three-week period in September. Staff said reserve funds will be used to rebuild the sign and existing budgets will take care of ongoing maintenance. However, the City said it is “open to philanthropic support to be able to enhance the features of the sign.”

Proponents will be required to replicate the look of the sign and its existing features. The spokesperson said medicine wheel and maple leaf, which were added in later years and built with more durable materials, will remain when the letters that make up the word “Toronto” are replaced.

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City staff said it’s hoped the successful bidder will be selected by the end of October and barring anything unforeseen, the replacement sign should be installed by the end of 2019.

Tourism Toronto said its visitor survey found the sign was one of the top three most visited destinations in the city.

“The Toronto sign has quickly become one of Toronto’s most recognized landmarks and figures prominently in our marketing initiatives as well as in the pictures shared by millions of visitors with their friends and families around the world,” Andrew Weir, executive vice president of destination development at Tourism Toronto, said in the statement.