Signs – of the Apocalypse?


signCouncillor Cam Ecclestone made a comment at council earlier this month that he had been contacted by several residents concerned about the new sign on the Rexall Drug store on Huron Street, its size and colours. Coun. Doherty chimed in about it with similar comments.

Aside from the question why anyone would contact a member of council whose sluggish performance at the table would win an award for best impersonation of a somnambulist, one has to wonder who these residents are who are so concerned about a rather ordinary corporate/franchise sign.

Well, I mean aside from the handful of petty ideologues who want to blame all the evils under the sun on the developer, that is. He, of course, has nothing to do with the corporate signage of a tenant in one of his buildings.

But that’s logic, and these folks are not concerned with logic. They hate everything he does and has ever done, and will ever do, so why not blame him? Didn’t he give us that bad winter, after all? Isn’t he responsible for all those frozen pipes? So why stop hating him now?

No matter to them that the building is in neither the heritage district nor the BIA, so does not have to comply with any sign restrictions therein. Nor that the building actually passed a heritage impact assessment that said it was just fine, signs and all. Nor that the sign went through all necessary and stringent site plan agreements and was approved by town staff as conforming with our own bylaws.*

(And these approvals are entirely out of council’s hands, past and present, so councillors questioning them are in fact questioning staff’s integrity….)

No matter that the building and its tenants are located downtown, rather than outside the core where they might have been, and they will help bring more people to the area, and they and their clients will likely use local services and businesses.**

No matter, too, that the sign itself is innocuous unless you are so consumed with anger and venom that you can’t see it for what it is: a mere sign identifying a retail business, on a commercial building. No different from the signs on Mark’s, Walmart, Freshco, Metro, Loblaw’s, Rogers’… ninety nine percent of passers-by won’t give it a second glance and even if they do they won’t give a damn whether it’s aesthetically pleasing. It’s just a sign for a drug store.

Logic and reason don’t matter to these people. They see everything in monochrome: it’s them vs. us in their polarized little world. So they will raise any ruckus they can to try to defame or belittle the developer because he’s not one of their ‘us’ – he’s one of ‘them.’

Before this site was resurrected by the current developer, it was a derelict; a run-down, old building, standing empty and boarded up, left to grow moldy, and to decay to the point where it was condemned by Ontario’s Fire Marshall, with a demolition order on it. The new buildings are a welcome change, offer a better sight line to the water, and he should be praised for them. And the sign? Grow up…

Yes, some tenants are corporate franchises. So what? Welcome to the 21st century. This isn’t new: franchises have been with us for many, many decades. They can’t open without their corporate logos and signage. Period. You want businesses here, you want retail stores and restaurants? Better get used to corporate signage and move on. The rest of us have.

For Coun. Ecclestone and Doherty to make an issue of it at the table when there is nothing of substance to prattle on about only underscores how little they understand of both the process and the town’s bylaws. It does, however, identify them as upstanding members of the ideologue group. But you knew that already.


* If you can stumble past the run-on sentences, the missing punctuation, the unconnected statements, pedestrian writing and the tired clichés without getting a migraine, the EB’s May 6 editorial on this sign issue almost makes sense… but unfortunately it veers off the track and meanders randomly around unrelated civic issues to reach a wholly pointless conclusion. But that’s not surprising given the calibre to which the EB’s writing has descended since Mr. Adams left.

** There are backroom moves afoot by some at the table to extend the borders of both the heritage and BIA districts to encompass these two new buildings, no doubt in the hope of imposing some late restrictions and changes on the developer. But they will find this, too, fails. What exists now will be considered legal, non-conforming. I doubt this will stop their malicious efforts, however.

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