Sign Variance Committee rejects application for massive advertisement on Yonge Street

March 20, 2018

By Arianne Robinson

An application for a massive wall sign that would hang on the south-facing wall of a building on Yonge, north of Gerrard, was turned down at the Sign Variance Committee on Tuesday morning.

James Kahara, the founder and CEO of Kahara Media, presented on behalf of the applicant, showing a rendition of the proposed wall sign and arguing it would look more like art than a third-party advertisement.

“This is an example of what our banner would look like. As you can see, the architectural statement is still quite apparent,” Kahara said. “It doesn’t look like an ad. It’s just basically a portrait. It’s kind of like hanging a picture in your house. You know, it adds character to the area and brings more vibrancy to it.”

Robert Bader, supervisor in the sign by-law unit, does not agree.

“The building was designed and constructed under the auspices of a professional architect,” Bader told Signal Toronto after the committee meeting. “There is a balance that’s being expressed in that southerly facade. There’s positive and negative voids, that the glazing and the cast-in-place in the pre-cast concrete establish, and to just plop up a gigantic sign there, willy nilly, really has an impact on that architectural statement.”

Kahara also argued the proposed sign would fit with the large murals on the buildings nearby.

“Our goal is to complement them because these murals set an artistic tone to the area. Our goal is match that energy by only erecting creative and beautiful banners. Even though there’ll be ads, we still plan on making them extremely creative.”

This is the 25-year-old’s first project with Kahara Media, a new venture.

Creativity aside, and despite the proximity of the wall mural to the Dundas Square special sign district, the committee supported staff recommendations.

“I like the look of the sign,” sign committee member Brian Huskins said during the consideration of the variance application. “It adds something to that particular area of town… I’m sort of in between, but it [would be] a significant change and there’s a lot of buildings in that area that this could set a precedent for as well. We have a sign district for a reason.”

There is currently a development application proposal for the site. If approved, the building owner will have another opportunity to present a proposal for variance to the sign bylaw.