A painting of me

Illegal Signs at Lansdowne

   14 November 2007, early morning

I emailed Adam’s office about the ugly billboard up on the municipal housing just west of Bloor and Lansdowne. His office got in touch with MLS, and passed on a response to me:

The sign is a third party fascia sign that has no permit. Charges have already been initiated against the property owner and the matter is now before the courts. As for your last question I suggest you direct your enquiry to the sign company and or property owner for it is of no concern to MLS.

Foolishly, I thought I had made a difference. Several weeks passed and I noticed the sign was still up. I thought I’d email the fellow behind Illegal Signs with the information the councilor’s office gave me to see what his take on things was:

What they didn’t tell you is they are asking for a $1000 fine and that the City can take down the sign if it wants. … The city has decided not to enforce the law.

Now, clearly ugly billboards aren’t the biggest problem facing Toronto, and they certainly aren’t the biggest problem in my area, but this really does speak to just how lame the city is. Unlike Toronto’s other problems, this one is incredibly easy to solve: the city can take down illegal signs. More so, they can probably fine the companies the cost of doing so. This isn’t the sort of problem that requires creative thinking to sort out.

(By strange coincidence, this sign I emailed Rami Tebello about was discussed on his site just yesterday.)

Update May 6th 2009: The sign is still up. Go City Hall! Go!



  1. Certainly in this area of town there are more pressing concerns on the streets than illegal signs. It is interesting that this is municipal housing. Does that mean the city is fining itself for the infraction? If so, perhaps, in the end money talks and there is more money to be made renting out the (illegal) sign than by fining and taking it down. That website illegalsigns.ca points to many illegal signs that nothing is done about. The city needs money, we know that. Maybe if more illegal signs were allowed, they wouldn’t have to raise property taxes. Hmmm… maybe I had better stop here, this is starting to sound like a “modest proposal”.


  2. The city probably gets revenue from the advertising company that put the sign up. There are apparently only 5-6 companies that are serial abusers of the system. (And i’m pretty sure they all were trying to win the street furniture contest — shocking I know.) The city must get some money from the signs, presumably.

  3. what sort of message does this send kids? if you pull a stunt and get away with it its ok?
    motorists putting vulnerable road users (read pedestrians and cyclists) at risk says one thing. when the police don’t lay charges when a vulnerable road user is assaulted by a motorist is the next level. when the city is complicit by allowing city operated buildings to be wrapped in automobile porn increases the level of perceived complicity.
    If we want a peaceful environment we have to lower the level of white collar crime first.

  4. Sing it. People need to raise a fuss if they want change.

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