Canada: The ‘Toronto’ sign costs a fortune to maintain, so the city wants to build a better one - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaThe ‘Toronto’ sign costs a fortune to maintain, so the city wants to build a better one

23:11  29 august  2019
23:11  29 august  2019 Source:   thestar.com

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The ‘Toronto’ sign costs a fortune to maintain, so the city wants to build a better one © Jennifer Pagliaro The Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square was originally meant to be a temporary installation.

City officials are looking to rebuild the “iconic” Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square after four years of wear and tear since its installation.

The original sign, installed in 2015, was only meant to last a few weeks, but the sign has since become “a Toronto landmark,” with scores of residents and tourists visiting it every day — prompting the city to make it a more permanent fixture starting next week.

“The sign’s definitely become symbolic of Toronto — it’s iconic,” said city spokesperson Brad Ross in an interview. “It’s been a visual backdrop for global media coverage of major events like the Raptors parade, and for hundreds of charities, community festivals, days of significance and times of mourning.”

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Next week, city staff are issuing a Request for Proposal to begin a process in securing “a new, more durable” sign, according to a statement issued Thursday.

“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,” said the statement, which described the sign as “a Toronto landmark.”

The ‘Toronto’ sign costs a fortune to maintain, so the city wants to build a better one © Jennifer Pagliaro The original sign isn’t water resistant. The city says it has cost $400,000 to maintain it. Ross said it cost the city $400,000 to maintain the sign since it was first installed. He said it wasn’t water resistant and the lighting infrastructure inside the sign needs upgrades.

If the proposal goes through, the city said reserve funds will be used to pay for the new sign and existing budgets will be used to cover ongoing costs of maintenance following the revamp.

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According to Tourism Toronto’s visitor survey, the Toronto sign was one of the top three most visited attractions in the city, ranking just behind mainstays like the CN Tower and the Eaton Centre.

“A city’s visual icons are vital in marketing a destination,” said Tourism Toronto executive Andrew Weir in a news release.

The city said over 122 million social media impressions were tracked for the sign within its first six months, adding “it is consistently ranked as one of the most instagrammable spots in the city.”

“I don’t think anyone could imagine Nathan Phillips Square without the Toronto Sign now,” said Mayor John Tory in a statement.

City staff hope to have a new sign installed by the end of the year — just in time for the New Year’s celebrations.

Temur Durrani is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star's radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @temurdur

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