Toronto could be getting brighter with plan to open a neon museum
The Honest Ed's neon sign shined at night at the corner of Bathurst and Bloor streets before its doors closed for the final time in Dec. 2016.
Courtney Greenberg and Kayla Goodfield , CTV News Toronto
Published Monday, February 20, 2017 4:32PM EST
The neon lights along Yonge Street in downtown Toronto are slowly dimming. But an outdoor museum has been proposed that would preserve the popular signs that the city knows and loves.
The Honest Ed’s and Sam the Record Man signs -- Toronto favourites -- could be displayed at the museum according to Mark Garner, chief operating officer and executive director at the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area.
The city could preserve the lights that used to flash along Yonge Street by opening this space for residents and tourists, Garner told CP24 Monday.
“When you think back to the early days of Toronto, Yonge Street was just a mass of neon signage and there have been great signs that we’ve all seen,” he said.
“That’s what made our street, not only a tourist destination, but obviously it was a main economic draw for the City of Toronto and we want to see that heritage preserved.”
Garner said he looked to Edmonton’s neon museum as an example of how it could be done.
“That’s the best example of sort of an urban experience where you can go out and walk and see. Neon signs make this little crackly noise. They’re more than just a visual archive but they also have a cultural contribution and we want to make sure that it’s accessible to everyone,” he said.
People have been reaching out to be part of the potential new project, Garner told CP24.
“We hope to keep that dialogue going so we can find these signs,” he said.
“I think everybody’s got a favourite sign that they have, that they’ve known or seen. Growing up in Scarborough, (it would be) Duckworth's Fish and Chips or whether it’s the Steak Pit. There’s all these places that have had iconic signs and we want to see them preserved.”
O’Keefe Lane near Yonge and Gerrard Streets would be an ideal spot for the museum, according to Garner.
Mirvish Productions has said a part of the Honest Ed’s sign will be moved to the exterior of the Ed Mirvish Theatre.
"It is fitting that a sign from the original store that made it possible for my father to become involved in theatre will now grace the venue that is named for him,” Ed Mirvish’s son David said in a written statement on Feb. 8.
The installation of the Honest Ed’s sign at the Ed Mirvish Theatre still has to be approved by Toronto City Hall, the statement read.