McDonald's seeks sign bylaw exemptions

A Toronto city committee is considering a request by McDonald's for an exemption to municipal signage rules as it rebrands.

A Toronto city committee on Thursday is considering a request by McDonald’s for an exemption to municipal signage rules as the company rebrands.

The fast-food giant has applied to the city for an amendment to the municipal signage bylaw that would permit its 89 Toronto restaurants to erect the company’s familiar golden arches logo in normally prohibited ways.

The signage for rebranded McDonald's outlets would violate current Toronto bylaws in several ways. (City of Toronto)

McDonald’s wants to install two-metre-tall versions of the red-and-yellow logo on the overhanging roofs at some of its locations; the current city bylaw only permits one-metre-tall signs in such cases.

The company also wants to display signs above the roofline at its restaurants, a practice that is normally banned, and to have more than the regulated number of signs in its drive-thrus.

In a report, city staff recommend that the amendments be granted, but that the McDonald’s outlets not be allowed to put up window signs because of the other exemptions.

The city’s planning committee is considering the issue at its meeting Thursday morning. Council could vote on the matter later in the year.  

McDonald's is spending $1 billion to renovate its 1,400 Canadian locations in an effort to look cozier as it tries to grab more customers. The company is tearing out the old plastic interiors and replacing them with leather furniture, plasma televisions and fireplaces. Construction is already complete in some restaurants in Toronto and Montreal.