A permit is required before installing a permanent building sign, and free-standing (pylon) sign, portable sign (A-frame), or mobile sign. Guelph’s Sign Bylaw does not permit flashing/revolving signs, inflatable signs, signs for home-based businesses, signs which obstruct the vision of drivers.

Building signs or a free-standing (pylon) signs

Building signs and free-standing signs (not excluded by Section 11 of the Sign Bylaw) require a permit.

Building signs are signs attached to a building and include signs on a canopy or awning, and the like.

Freestanding signs, commonly referred to as pylon signs, are signs which are typically supported by a support structure which is embedded into the ground.

When applying for a permanent building or freestanding sign, please follow the steps below. Until further notice, applications can only be submitted as separate PDFs by email to [email protected].

Step 1: Permit application

The application review process will not begin until all forms, drawings and fees have been received. The following information is required to be submitted in separate PDF files:

Where a permit is to be issued to a party other than the owner of the property, a letter of permission signed by the owner of the property is required.

Permits for freestanding signs 1.8 metres and over above ground level are required to be designed and reviewed by a professional engineer and the submission of a Commitment to General Review form is required.

Permits for projecting building signs (including addresses) weighing 25 kilograms and over are required to be designed and reviewed by a professional engineer and the submission of a Commitment to General Review form is required.

Any sign that backs onto Highway 6 (Hanlon Expressway) or backs onto any hydro-electric power corridor immediately adjacent to the Hanlon Expressway requires approval from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. A copy of the approval permit is required. It is the applicant’s responsibility to check with all other agencies to ensure all required approvals and permissions have been given.

Step 2: Drawings to be submitted

All drawings listed below must be included and include size specifications in metric ratios (1:100, 1:200, 1:250, 1:300, 1:400, 1:500 only).

Freestanding sign (ground/pylon) drawings

  1. Survey or site plan indicating:
    1. lot lines
    2. existing building locations
    3. location of easements
    4. sightline triangles
    5. setbacks for sign location
    6. distance from other freestanding signs on the property
    7. distance from other freestanding signs on adjacent properties.
  2. Sign drawings which indicate:
    1. dimensions of the sign
      sign face area (area on which copy, text or the like can be placed, including any backer, frame, or painted area relating to the sign)
    2. height above grade
    3. height above adjacent roadway
    4. area of changeable copy (if applicable)
    5. type of lighting.

Building sign (wall/fascia) drawings

  1. Survey or site plan indicating the location of the proposed signage on the building.
  2. Elevation detail of the building face (of the tenanted space) or unit on which the proposed sign is to be located, indicating:
    1. the dimensions of both the building or unit
    2. existing signage (identify if it is to remain or is being replaced)
    3. the proposed sign and location of the roof line to identify if there is a parapet.
  3. Sign drawings which indicate:
    1. the projection of the sign from the building
    2. height above the ground surface
    3. weight of the sign
    4. type of lighting
    5. design data including but not limited to the wind load in conformance with SB-1 of the Ontario Building Code.

Step 3: Fees

Once a complete application is received, the fee will be added to your account and can be paid for using the Guelph Permit and Application System. The fee (per sign) is calculated based on the size of each sign in the application.

Sign permit fees (effective January 1, 2024)

Sign bylaw variances

When a sign does not comply to the regulations of the Sign Bylaw, a Sign Variance may be applied for. It is recommended that staff be consulted prior to applying for a Sign Variance (fee is non-refundable). Once the application is received, staff will prepare a Sign Variance Report for consideration of the sign variance request by Council. The application for a sign variance can be found below. Please submit your application to the attention of Building Services.

Sign bylaw variance application

Temporary signs

Mobile signs

Mobile signs are temporary signs that are permitted on private properties to advertise one of the businesses located on the property in question. Applications are submitted using the Guelph Permit and Application System. As a registered user you can also check the status of your permit and pay fees.

  • Each mobile sign permit is good for 30 consecutive days.
  • Signs displayed for fewer than 30 days are considered one 30-day permit.
  • A business is allowed to display a mobile sign a maximum of four times per calendar year (four separate 30-day permits).
  • Applications for third-party non-profit advertising or events occurring at a specific location require a permission form signed by the owner of the business. The permit will count towards one of the business’ total four allowed per calendar year.

The application review process will not begin until all applicable forms and fees have been received.

Portable signs

Portable signs (such as an A-frame/sandwich board) require a permit when located downtown.  Please contact Licensing at 519-822-1260 extension 2551 for further information. Portable signs are permitted on commercial and industrial properties outside the downtown without a permit, however, they are subject to the regulations of the Sign By-law.

Portable sign permit application

Norfolk Street Bridge banners

The City is no longer accepting or processing requests for banners on the Norfolk Street footbridge.


Posters are only permitted on the Downtown Community Board.

Posters are not permitted to be located on any sidewalk, vehicular entrance/exit, traffic island, light standard, road allowance, or along the frontage of a school.

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For more information

Zoning Services
[email protected]

For information regarding street signs and traffic directional signs, please contact Operations at 519-837-5628.

The above information is provided as a guide only and does not supersede the City of Guelph Sign Bylaw. The City of Guelph Sign Bylaw contains exact definitions and regulations relating to signs in the City of Guelph.