Signage in Markham's heritage conservation districts is regulated by the City's Sign By-law. See section 10.0- Special Sign Districts (Thornhill, Unionville, Markham Village, and Buttonville District).

The Sign By-law limits the size of signs, placement, materials and illumination methods in heritage areas. This helps ensures that signs are compatible with the heritage character of these areas.

Old signs that pre-date the Sign By-law and in some cases, the Heritage Conservation District designations, are 'grandfathered' and in a number of instances, do not comply with the Sign By-law. This explains why there are still some large signs and some back-lit signs in our heritage areas. To encourage the installation of new appropriate signage, the City provides grant assistance for commercial signage replacement.

Hints for Appropriate Heritage Signage

  • Signs should not block architectural features
  • Place signage in traditional locations such as above the storefront or a stand-alone ground sign
  • Use traditional materials such as wood and canvas awning signs as opposed to modern plastics and vinyl which are not permitted
  • Use letter styles and fonts appropriate to the heritage character of the area such as Roman, Clarendon, Egyptian and sans serif styles.
  • Capital letter are generally more legible than lower case
  • Use heritage colours- no fluorescent or very bright colours
  • Use symbols were feasible to enhance product recognition
  • Light the sign with external forms of illumination (i.e. goose-neck lighting)
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