Small town of Orono, Ontario wants ageing Toronto sign to boost tourism

Sep 5 2019, 7:46 am

The old saying ‘one person’s junk is another person’s treasure,’ couldn’t be more true. Especially in the small town of Orono, Ontario, which is located just about an hour east of Toronto.

Last month, the city announced it was looking to replace its iconic Toronto sign that’s been proudly on display outside of City Hall at Nathan Phillips Square since the summer of 2015, as it was showing significant “wear and tear.”

After the word got out that the city was in the process of finding a permanent replacement for the beloved sign, a resident of the small Ontario town, which is comprised of many of the same letters as Toronto, came up with the idea to have the worn sign donated to the town to help boost tourism.

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Mark Rutherford, who lives in the town of Orono, said hundreds of thousands of people pass by the small town each year, but a divider in the highway, which was installed to improve traffic safety, has stopped people from visiting.

“In the last few years, we have lost our grocery store, our LCBO, our CIBC bank, and other small shops have struggled to stay afloat. Positive things are starting to happen again in Orono, but we could really use a boost,” wrote Rutherford in a public Facebook post.

Rutherford added that growing up, residents always joked that Orono is just Toronto without the T’s, and so now he’s asking Toronto to consider donating its sign to Orono “to help attract visitors into our village to shop, eat or simply enjoy our beautiful town.”

To help his case, Rutherford sent a request to Toronto Mayor John Tory on Tuesday, asking the city t0 donate its ageing sign.

“We’ll even take the T’s if it’s an all or nothing deal,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford’s request has also grabbed the attention of TSN’s Dan O’Toole, an Orono native, who also wants Tory to “make this happen.”

“Let’s be honest [John Tory], who else would be able to use it? We will take extremely good care of it. We promise!” wrote O’Toole.

“Orono needs to catch a break.”

At this point, it remains unclear what will happen to the worn sign, but here’s to hoping this small town gets the boost it’s looking for.