You are currently viewing Temporary Signs in Calgary: What you need to know

Temporary Signs in Calgary: What you need to know

Many businesses in Calgary are searching for ways to find new customers and re-engage with those who have bought from you before.  Staying top of mind can be hard in our fast-paced digital world, so why not try renting a temporary sign to advertise your business?

You may have questions about how and where to place your sign. We specialise in helping our customers navigate bylaws and other regulations, so in this blog, we’ll give you a behind-the scenes look at how complicated those rules can be, and why having someone like Alberta Sign Rentals on your team is a good idea.

(This is meant to be an informative summary and is not intended as official bylaw guidance or advice. Full bylaws for signage in the City of Calgary can be found here. We do recommend consulting with a professional before placing a sign on any property.)

To place a sign on Calgary municipal property, you’ll need to follow these rules

  • Your sign may not be closer than 15 metres to any intersection
  • Your sign may not be closer than 30 metres to a bus shelter, transit bench, LRT station or platform, or bus zone
  • Your sign may not be placed in a Playground Zone or School Zone
  • Your sign may not be placed within 20 metres of another sign posted by the same owner OR a sign that depicts/advertises/promotes the same idea.
  • You may not place a sign within 2 metres of a Fire Hydrant. 
  • You may not place your sign closer than 2 metres to the edge of the road, or anywhere on a traffic island or centre median. 
  • Your sign may not obstruct a traffic control device, or create a traffic or pedestrian hazard.

Your sign must not be placed on a prohibited or restricted roadway. There is a helpful map on the City of Calgary website here.

A black and white image of the roadways in Calgary, with restricted roads highlighted in red.

Securing your portable temporary sign

There are specific rules around how you secure your rental sign – obviously you don’t want it to fall over, or blow away.  Not only does this reflect poorly on your business, but it could cause a safety hazard for vehicles or pedestrians.

If you don’t have a self supported sign, you’ll need to attach your sign to something. But beware! If your sign is affixed in any of the following ways, you could be in for a fine. 

  • Is attached to a street light pole, traffic signal pole, or a City sign pole (except for posters).
  • Is attached on or within a plus 15 pedestrian walkway, or bridge, or overpass.
  • Is attached to a sound wall.
  • Is permanently affixed.
  • Is supported by string, rope or metal guide-wire.
  • Causes or could cause damage to municipal property.

Other rules and regulations for temporary signs in Calgary

There are other requirements for signs on municipal property too, that have to do with size, shape, placement, and accessories.

  • Must not have a position, shape, colour, format or illumination which is similar to a Traffic Control Device.
  • Must not be placed on any decorative or painted lamp post. Including posters.
  • Must not be or possibly be a hazard to either the person erecting the sign, or any member of the public.
  • Has a sign face larger than 0.6 square metres (3 square metres for election signs and Mobile Community Signs).
  • Is higher than 0.92 metres when measured from grade to the highest part of the sign (2.5 metres for election signs and Mobile Community Signs)
  • Is lit, electrified, or inflatable.
  • Is unsightly, damaged, or in disrepair.

Fines for violations range between $75 and $1000.

Signage includes temporary signs, mobile community signs, election signs, and signs that advertise a service. All of these are regulated under our Temporary Signs Bylaw.

What are the rules around event-specific signage in Calgary?

If your sign relates to an event on a specific day, your sign can only be displayed 14 days before the event, and must be removed by 24 hours after the event (election signage has slightly different rules, which you can read here).

What about parks and schools?

According to the Parks and Pathways Bylaw, no person shall place a sign of any kind, commercial or otherwise, in a park unless otherwise authorized.

Their website goes on to say the following: 

The School Safe Zones Temporary Signs on Highways Bylaw (29M97) Amendment restricts advocacy messaging on public streets near schools, due to the harmful impact this messaging has on unwilling viewers. This bylaw amendment was created for the safety and protection of students, their caregivers, and school staff, who do not want to be exposed to this messaging while attending school.

Advocacy messaging is defined in the bylaw as messaging that publicly expresses an opinion on an issue or cause. An advocacy group is defined as any group that promotes this type of messaging whether it be an external group or student group.

Where can I put my sign in Calgary?

The rules above are for municipal property, parks, and schools. This means property owned and maintained by the City of Calgary, or a school. If your business or the property your business operates on is privately owned, then these rules won’t apply to the same extent. However, you may be subject to strata, mall, or other requirements, so it’s always a good idea to check first before putting up a sign.

The best course of action is to leave it to the professionals! At Alberta Sign Rentals we have years of experience working with municipalities, school boards, community associations and other stakeholders to make sure our client’s temporary signs are placed in locations that are highly visible while still following all existing rules and regulations. 

Contact us for more information!