Signs

SAHRA Monitoring

Each month, SAHRA reviews the Sign Permit Applications on the City’s Building Applications website to determine if there have been any new applications or changes in the status of past applications.  This information is reviewed by the SAHRA Board for any areas of concern, in which case, SAHRA contacts the department responsible for Sign Permits.

SAHRA has prepared an Inventory of the rooftop billboard locations that existed at the time of the study (associated with the Avenue Road Avenue Study) in 2009.  We monitor the Sign Permit Applications and the street for any changes to these sites.

Public Consultation Input on Sign and Billboard Regulations

In 2014/2015, the City of Toronto was looking for input from the public and business owners on potential changes to the City of Toronto Act and the Toronto Sign Bylaw. The proposed changes would increase the City’s ability to implement and enforce the Sign Bylaw. At the January 8, 2015 meeting of the Planning and Growth Management Committee, staff recommended that Council request the province to amend the City of Toronto Act so that the city’s Sign Bylaw could apply to signs and billboards that existed prior to the current Sign Bylaw being enacted. If approved by the Province, the amendment to the City of Toronto Act could restore the level of authority back to similar levels that, prior to 1983 existed for municipalities in Ontario and that currently exist in other large Canadian cities (e.g. Vancouver and Montreal).

In response to the staff recommendations, City Council requested that staff hold public and stakeholder consultations on this request to the Province to report back to council in April 2015 on how the city should address existing non-conforming signs if the Province amends the City of Toronto Act. All residents, property owners, businesses, and members of the public were invited to attend workshops in Feb and Mar, 2016 from to speak with City staff about their thoughts and ideas on this subject. Specific issues considered as part of this consultation included:

  • Which signs and billboards should the current Sign Bylaw apply to?
  • To what extent should the current Sign Bylaw apply to lawfully existing signs and billboards that don’t meet the current requirements of the Sign Bylaw (because they existed prior to the current bylaw being enacted), if at all?
  • If existing signs and billboards don’t comply with the current Sign Bylaw and were required to comply, how should the City go about achieving this?

Both FoNTRA and CORRA were actively involved with these reviews representing the North Toronto and all GTA Residents’ Associations. Further details on the Sign ByLaws are available at: www.toronto.ca/signbylawunit/


Staff Report March 25, 2015

A Staff Report was submitted to the Planning Growth and Management Committee on April 13, 2015.  It was referred back to staff for further information/study.  Sign By-law Potential Amendments April 2015
The Recommendations were:
1. City Council request that the Province of Ontario amend Subsection 110(1) of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, to provide increased authority for the City to regulate the operation of existing advertising devices, including signs; and, 2. City Council request that, following amendments to Subsection 110(1) of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Chief Building Official and Executive Director, Toronto Building engage in further consultation with stakeholders and members of the public concerning what regulations should be applied to existing non-conforming signs.


Sign By-Law Information

The Avenue Road Study Report in October, 2009 stated the following regarding Signage on Avenue Road between Lawrence and the 401: “In the Study Area 19 rooftop billboard locations existed at the time of the study.  This concentration of roof signs can be attributed to the low scale of buildings, the heavy vehicular traffic and the relative scarcity of alternative commercial properties with roof sign opportunities on Avenue Road between Lawrence Avenue and downtown.  Both merchants and local residents are of the opinion that this concentration of rooftop billboards detracts from the visual appearance of the area.  The first party signage identifying businesses is generally good quality and well-maintained. The Avenue Road Study recommendation related to this was: “Direct Building staff to incorporate into the new harmonized Sign By-law, if required, a provision to prohibit new third party roof signs on the portion of Avenue Road between Lawrence Avenue and Highway 401.” In 2010 the new harmonized Sign Bylaw came into effect which prohibits any new roof top signs.  Therefore, only the 19 that existed in 2009 and were still in effect in 2010 and any new ones installed between 2009 and 2010 are allowed to continue to exist at this time.  Any sign erected under the previous bylaws exist legally and the City cannot require these signs be brought into compliance with the new bylaw.  If a sign is substantially altered, however, a new permit would be required.  For example, a roof sign existing legally prior to 2010 is permitted to continue in its original form but if it is removed, any new structure would need to get a permit under the new bylaw. So a roof sign would be gone and the old permit would no longer be valid. The 2010 Sign Bylaw (Chapter 694 of the Toronto Municipal Code: Sign By-law Chapter 694
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