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Famous Toronto sign could lose funding, be sold off

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Eric Wainwright Jun 20, 2016 2:09 am

Here’s the thing about temporary items – they’re not built to last.

And Toronto is currently discovering that about its suddenly iconic Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square.

Built just under a year ago as a spark for the city’s Pan Am Games hosting duties, the Toronto sign has found a special place in the hearts of visitors and residents alike, tallying more than 122 million global “social media impressions,” according to The Star.

And while that’s a lot of social media love for seven giant letters, it doesn’t seem like enough to convince city council to drop serious cash just to keep the lights on. A Toronto city report put the future costs of keeping the sign alive at upwards of $400K for the next two years alone.

That taxpayer money to selfie ratio seems off.

So much so that it lead Etobicoke’s Ward 3 Councillor Stephen Holyday to tell council, “Essentially, I’d like to sell the sign. I’m not convinced its lustre will last that long… The light bulbs are going to burn out, or it’s going to fall, or somebody’s going to cut their finger on it and then we’ve got a negative publicity piece with the city of Toronto… I would hope somebody would buy it.”

However, in a 29-5 vote, council won the right to have staff come back with other options.

One of which that’s already been purposed is to create a smaller, portable sign for $200K that could be brought around the city to different events.

The sign, and its future, will be considered by the Economic Development Committee this Wednesday, June 22.

What are your thoughts? Would you love to see it stay? Let us know on our Facebook page!


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Eric Wainwright
Eric is the Toronto City Editor for Daily Hive and previously the Editor-in-Chief at Notable.ca. He is highly educated. He knows words. He has the best words.

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