Last week, the City of Toronto announced that they would be removing the city’s iconic ‘Toronto’ sign in Nathan Phillips Square, and replacing it with a more durable, updated version. While most Canadians did not give a second-thought as to what would happen with the city’s old sign, residents of one small Ontario town suddenly had a great idea! In fact, the residents of Orono had always joked that their town was just like Toronto without the T’s!

The town of Onono is located about an hour east of Toronto, and has a resident population of approximately 1,100 people. Upon hearing that Toronto’s iconic sign was to be removed and replaced, the tiny town reached out to Mayor John Tory, politely asking him if they could have the massive sign once the big city was done with it.

In a letter to John Tory, Orono resident Mark Rutherford explained that a new divider in the nearby highway had diverted people away from their small town in recent years. While ‘hundreds of thousands’ of people used to drive through Orono regularly, it had recently become “too inconvenient for most travelers to make a quick stop and visit our downtown shops.”

Rutherford went on to explain how this had led to the closure of several local businesses, and noted that others were still “struggling to stay afloat.” He acknowledged that things were beginning to turn around again for the small town, but Rutherford concluded, “We could really use a boost.”

Rutherford joked, “We’ll even take the T’s if it’s an all or nothing deal,” explaining to John Tory that the sign could give the town a bit of much-needed tourism.

Speaking to CTV News on Wednesday, John Tory confirmed that he had received the letter, and said he was open to the idea of donating the sign to another part of Ontario. Despite saying, “I am willing to talk to them,” Tory also said that he wasn’t sure the letters should be taken apart.”

"Each letter stands on its own,” he said, “but I look at it as something that shouldn't be broken up."

"We need more love for Toronto in the province of Ontario, including from Orono, so maybe we can do something where some of the time it's lit up saying Orono and the rest of the time lit up saying Toronto," Tory explained.

Residents of the small town have now taken to social media to ask John Tory to recycle the sign in their direction, with one user writing, “We promise to take care of the sign!”

No official decision has been made yet by John Tory or the City of Toronto about what will be done with the sign. 


There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.


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