New Toronto Sign Unveiled – Respect Show to Indigenous and Black Communities

New Toronto Sign Unveiled
New Toronto Sign Unveiled

TORONTO – The City of Toronto unveiled the new Toronto sign that proudly stands in Nathan Phillips Square. The sign includes a Midewin showing respect for Canada’s First Nations people.

Mayor John Tory unveils new Toronto Sign and its first wrap recognizing the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent
Today, Mayor John Tory unveiled the City of Toronto’s new Toronto Sign on Nathan Phillips Square and its first wrap, Patterns of the People, in recognition of the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent.
Mayor Tory was joined by Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Ward 21 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee, and Danilo Deluxo McCallum, the Toronto-based artist who designed the new wrap.
One of the design features of the Toronto Sign is a vinyl wrap on the outer edges of its letters. The wrap is refreshed approximately every 12 months. The design of the Toronto Sign wrap is used to promote events, projects, and City priorities. Themes for past Toronto Sign wraps have included: Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, Nuit Blanche Toronto artist installation by JR, Toronto Neighbourhoods, Canada 150, My City My Six Exhibition, and Indigenous Iconography.
The City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism (CABR) Unit issued a call for artists in October 2019 and Danilo Deluxo McCallum’s design, Patterns of the People, was selected by a community jury for the first wrap of the new Toronto Sign.
Danilo Deluxo McCallum is a Toronto-based multi-disciplinary artist, graphic designer, and curator whose practice is deeply rooted in the art movement known as Afrofuturism. His design for the wrap uses colourful African fabric patterns as a backdrop to represent the diverse community of people of African descent in Toronto. Woven into the colourful patterns are African cultural symbols such as the Adinkra Sankofa bird, which represents the importance of moving forward by recalling the past. Interspersed with these symbols are portraits of Canadians of African descent, asserting the beautiful, bold, and proud presence of Black communities in Toronto.
Patterns of the People will remain on the Toronto Sign for ArtworxTO 2021: The City’s Year of Public Art.
The City recognizes the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent (2015 to 2024). The Decade was established to encourage the international community to recognize people of African descent as a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected. The goals of the Decade are recognition, justice and development.
The Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, unanimously adopted by Toronto City Council, is being implemented by the City’s CABR Unit to ensure that systemic changes are made to eliminate anti-Black racism in Toronto. More information is available at https://www.toronto.ca/abr.
The original Toronto Sign was installed in July 2015 for the Toronto Pan American and Parapan American Games. While it was only built to last a few weeks, in response to the sign’s popularity, the City extended its presence on the Square indefinitely and it has become a Toronto landmark.
After more than five years, the original sign was showing significant wear and tear. The City decided to build a more durable sign rather than continue with costly, ongoing repairs.
According to a Destination Toronto visitor survey, the Toronto Sign was one of the top three most visited attractions in the city and it is consistently ranked as one of the most Instagram-worthy spots.
The new Toronto Sign is easier to clean, waterproof, and will have enhanced lighting and creative features to support public engagement. Both the  Maple Leaf and  Medicine Wheel have been retained. The City is using reserve funds to pay for the new sign and existing operational budgets to cover the ongoing cost of maintenance and vinyl wraps.