3D Toronto sign

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3D Toronto sign
Iconic sign
Toronto sign
The sign illuminated at night, as seen in August 2015
The sign illuminated at night, as seen in August 2015
OwnerCity of Toronto
LocationNathan Phillips Square
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
3D Toronto sign is located in Toronto
3D Toronto sign
3D Toronto sign
Location in Toronto
Coordinates: 43°39′9″N 79°23′1″W / 43.65250°N 79.38361°W / 43.65250; -79.38361Coordinates: 43°39′9″N 79°23′1″W / 43.65250°N 79.38361°W / 43.65250; -79.38361

The 3D Toronto sign, officially the 3D TORONTO sign and commonly known as the Toronto sign, is an illuminated three-dimensional sign in Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, that spells the city's name.[2] It is 3 metres (9.8 ft) tall, and 22 metres (72 ft) long (prior to the addition of the maple leaf in late 2016), lit by LED lights controlled via Wi-Fi, that can create an estimated 228 million colour combinations, approximately equal to what the human eye can sense.[1]

Originally installed for the 2015 Pan American Games as a temporary attraction meant to be dismantled in November 2016 at the earliest, the City of Toronto decided to continue to operate the sign after it became popular with tourists and residents.[3] Explaining the city's decision to keep it, Toronto City Councillor Norm Kelly said the sign is as iconic as the CN Tower and that it has become known all over the world.[4] It has appeared in an estimated 120 million pictures in various social media outlets in June 2016.[1]

Having an estimated three- to five-year lifespan,[2] the sign began to show signs of wear and tear by June 2016. City Council rejected spending another CA$150,000 on the sign, and city staff propose replacing the sign with a permanent version.[1] The sign was vandalized in October 2016 during the overnight Nuit Blanche event. Graffiti was applied using markers, but Nuit Blanche employees were able to remove the graffiti.[5]

A 3D maple leaf was added to the Toronto sign adjacent to the final "O" in December 2016 to mark the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.[6]

The Toronto Sign with a 3D Maple Leaf added in April 2017

However, the sign experienced more wear in early 2017, thanks to uneven erosion at the bases of each of the three Os from hundreds of thousands of posing feet from passersby, primarily to take selfies and other photos, exposing the black rubber padding underneath.[7]

The sign was modified again on June 21, 2018 to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day. The change added a 3D medicine wheel adjacent to the first "T" and new vinyl wraps for each letter consisting of a birch bark pattern with various First Nations symbols on them. These changes would be temporary.[8]


Although the Toronto sign is not an original idea and has been in European cities for many years prior, a local marketing consultant filed a lawsuit claiming he presented the idea to the city and staff before the city unveiled plans for the sign.[9] Named in the $2.5-million lawsuit is the city of Toronto as well as Mayor John Tory and councillors Josh Colle and Michael Thompson.

The statement of defence, filed February 19, 2016, argues the concept itself is nothing new, and therefore the suit should be dismissed: "Interactive, three-dimensional signs bearing the name of a city are commonplace around the world. They can be found in Amsterdam, Guadalajara, Budapest and many other cities".[10] The civil lawsuit remains in the court system.


  1. ^ a b c d "Iconic Toronto sign starting to show wear, needs funding to survive". CityNews. June 21, 2016. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "3D TORONTO Sign". Special Events Office. City of Toronto. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  3. ^ Rider, David (June 22, 2016). "'Toronto' sign will stay in square until at least fall". Toronto Star. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  4. ^ Smee, Michael (June 22, 2016). "Toronto sign will light up Nathan Phillips Square until at least November". CBC News. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  5. ^ Abdigir, Ebyan (October 2, 2016). "Toronto sign vandalized overnight". Toronto Star. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  6. ^ "Maple leaf added to Toronto Sign". Toronto Sun. December 31, 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  7. ^ Rider, David (April 9, 2017). "TORONTO sign showing its age". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  8. ^ "TORONTO Sign Refinished to Honour Indigenous Peoples - Urban Toronto". urbantoronto.ca. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  9. ^ Warren, May (April 4, 2016). "Consultant's $2.5-million lawsuit claims he conceived Toronto sign". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  10. ^ Csanady, Ashley (April 4, 2016). "Did the city steal the idea for its Toronto sign? Mayor, councillors and city face $2.5M lawsuit over concept". National Post. Retrieved September 1, 2017.

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