Bylaw Enforcement

Temporary Signs

Municipal Code Chapter 693, Signs regulates the size, location, permit requirements and fees for temporary signs for public and private property. Temporary sign providers must also have a business licence under Chapter 545, Licensing (fees are listed in Appendix C of Chapter 441, Fees).  Permits are also required for individuals who install temporary signs or who lease or rent temporary signs.  

What is a temporary sign?

A temporary sign is one that is not permanently attached or fixed to a structure or surface. Not all temporary signs require permits.

Temporary Signs requiring a permit:

Portable Signs (including A-Frame Signs)

Portable signs are rigid free-standing moveable signs (not fastened to the ground or a structure) and include A-Frame signs.  A-Frame signs are self-supporting structure shaped like an "A" with one or two sign faces, (see Public Parking sign pictured above). Base dimensions of this sign cannot be more than 60 cm wide, 75 cm long and 50 cm to 1 metre high.  

How to apply:

1. You can complete part of the A-Frame Sign applications online here:  Online A-Frame Sign Application. You will be contacted by the Licensing Services office to complete the process.

2. You can download a Temporary Sign Permit Application Form and return it the Licence and Permit Issuing Office or go to the office to apply for other types of portable signs.  

Specific regulations for A-Frame and Portable signs

  • Permit or business license attachment required
  • Width 0.6m, height min 0.5 - max. 1m, and a length not exceeding 0.75m
  • Sign permit identifier to be located on sign
  • Minimum 6.09 m frontage
  • Only permitted on public property if not able to be located on private
  • Located against the front wall
  • First party advertising only
  • If a licence for boulevard marketing or café, sign must be located in licensed area
  • Prohibited in areas on Yonge and Bloor streets
  • One per frontage
  • Sign out during business operating hours only
  • No illumination, sound, motion, etc.

Mobile Signs

Mobile signs are temporary signs which can be easily moved and have letters that can be rearranged. The sign may be attachable to a readily re-locatable wheeled trailer. This category of signs does not include signs which are attached to vehicles which are primarily used for transporting people, goods or materials. You can apply in person for this sign at the Licence and Permit Issuing Office listed above.

Specific regulations for mobile signs

  • Permit required (30 day max.)
  • Maximum of three permits per year
  • Minimum 30 days between permits
  • Permit expiry date must be prominent and visible from 15 m
  • Private property only
  • First party advertising only, in front of unit
  • Two sign faces maximum, five square metres each
  • Black and white lettering only
  • If illuminated, CSA approved
  • Not within 23 metres of another mobile sign
  • Maximum height 2.5 metres, maximum width 3.05 metres

Ground-Mounted Signs

Ground-mounted signs are upheld by one or more supports that are constructed or driven into the ground.  This category does not include real estate signs and signs that are affixed to the ground by self-supporting structures that have permanent foundations below or above grade. You can apply in person for this sign at the Licence and Permit Issuing Office.

Specific regulations for Ground Mounted signs

  • Permit or attachment to business license required
  • Permit identifier located on sign
  • Not permitted on sidewalk
  • In front of business, on public or private, one per frontage
  • Max. two sign faces, 1sq. m each, max. 1 m height and width
  • Height max. 1.2 m
  • For ground floor occupants only
  • Displayed during business hours only
  • No illumination, sound or motion

New Development Signs

New development signs are self-supporting structures, also shaped like an "A", with a maximum of two sign faces of a maximum area of 1.5 square m each, and a maximum height of 1.2 m. You can apply in person for this sign at the Licence and Permit Issuing Office.

Specific regulations for new development signs

  • Permit required annually
  • Permit identifier located on sign
  • Maximum 10 signs per development
  • Maximum five signs within 10 metre span
  • Maximum two groups per intersection
  • 100 metre separation between groups
  • Development must be approved (re-zoning)
  • Not permitted where there is on-street parking
  • No illumination, sound, motion, etc.

Temporary Signs not requiring permits:

  • Garage Sale Signs
  • Real Estate Signs
  • Open House Directional Signs
  • Community, Charitable, Religious Organizations, Schools

Garage Sale signs

  • Must be in residential zone
  • Max. 0.6 metre dimension in any direction
  • Max .36 sq. metres in area
  • Can be located on un-traveled portion of road allowance
  • Must include date and location of sale

Real Estate signs

  • One per street frontage
  • Max 1 sq. metres in residential zone
  • Max 4 sq. metres in other zones
  • Shall not obstruct pedestrians/vehicles physically or visually

Open House Directional signs

  • May be on public property
  • 0.3 metres from sidewalk and road
  • Cannot obstruct pedestrians/vehicles physically or visually
  • Max sign area 0.5 sq. metres
  • Displayed during hours of open house
  • Include address of property and date of open house

Community, charitable, religious organizations and schools

  • Sign permits are not required for events in connection with these types of organizations
  • Only one mobile sign is allowed
  • Sign must be located on the property where the event will take place
  • Sign may be maintained from one week prior to the event and must be removed within 48 hours of the conclusion of the event

Temporary Signs Regulations

Key regulations are summarized here.  Please refer to the relevant bylaws for more information.

Zoning Requirements

Temporary signs are permitted in areas zoned for commercial, agricultural, institutional or mixed-use, but not in areas zoned solely as industrial or residential.  Real estate, open house and new development signs are permitted in any zone.

Location of Signs

  • On public property, temporary signs are not permitted without valid permits, except for official signs, work zone signs, and non illuminated directional signs for religious purposes.
  • Temporary signs must be placed in a way that allows a minimum required unobstructed sidewalk area of 2.1 m, unobstructed access to bike racks and planters, and no disruption to traffic.

On public property, temporary signs are not permitted to be:

  • located on or attached to medians, islands, centre boulevards, utility poles, trees or official signs
  • within 3 metres of a driveway or side property line.

Temporary signs  are not permitted:

  • in a required parking space
  • within 3 m of a driveway or side property line
  • closer than 0.97 m to a public sidewalk
  • within 9 m of a traffic control device
  • within 9 m of an intersection

See sample locations of temporary signs.

Maintaining Temporary Signs

Temporary signs must be well maintained or they can be seized without written notice from both private or public property, at the expense of the owner.

In the case of an open house directional, real estate, or garage sale sign, the City may issue a notice to repair the sign or remove the sign.  Seized signs will be held for 30 days, then disposed of.  SeeChapter 441, Fees, for seizure, storage and retrieval fees.   If a sign is not retrieved, any seizure fees can be added to next permit cost or to taxes.