Iconic billboard signs are becoming a rarer and rarer sight in this city.
On Monday, the Toronto Star reported that the Inglis Home Appliances sign, which had been perched above Strachan Avenue since 1975, was taken down over the long weekend. The sign is probably well known to anyone that has had to commute from the city’s west end to its downtown core using the Gardiner. It wasn’t the most comely of signs, but it was memorable nonetheless for the inspirational words it provided drivers on their daily trip to and from work.
In classic city form, the Inglis sign was removed because of, you guessed it, condos. According to the Star, Whirlpool, the owner of the Inglis brand, decided not to keep the sign after years of construction left it partly obscured by Liberty Village’s new high rises. The sign is currently in storage for the time being, and unlike the Sam the Record Man sign, which saw ongoing attempts to save it, it’s unclear whether the Inglis sign will be preserved somewhere else in the city.
It might be tempting to see this sign as just another piece of advertising cluttering up our sight lines, but the reality is that it represents a part of Ontario’s history. Although Inglis was bought by the Whirlpool Corporation in 1987, Inglis was something of a Canadian institution before then.
In 1859, John Inglis was a partner in a company called Mair, Inglis and Evatt. At the time, the company mostly produced machinery for flour mills. In 1881, however, he relocated the company from Dundas, Ontario to a plot of land west of Strachan Avenue; in the process, he renamed it John Inglis and Sons. During both WW1 and WW2, the company produced munitions and armaments for the Canada and Great Britain.
After the Second World War, Inglis began producing the appliances that would make it a household name in this country. In 1987, however, Whirlpool acquired a majority interest in Inglis. 14 years later, Whirlpool company decided to rebrand Inglis as Whirlpool Canada. The Inglis name, however, lives on in the company’s Inglis brand of appliances, which are sold throughout North America. [via Toronto Star]