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Vancouver's Trump sign should be dropped amid political controversy: city planners

Last Updated Jan 12, 2021 at 1:58 pm PDT

Summary

Some city planning experts argue it's time for the Trump sign to come down in Vancouver

The Trump Hotel in Vancouver has been closed since August, but the outgoing president’s last name is still on the tower

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — There are calls from some city planners in Vancouver to have Donald Trump’s name removed from a now-defunct hotel in the heart of the city.

The Trump Hotel in Vancouver has been closed since August, but the outgoing U.S. president’s last name is still up on the front of the tower on West Georgia Street. With Trump getting barred from social media and possibly facing a second impeachment, some people are asking why these big letters are still on display.

“I think his name represented intolerance and I think that’s the exact opposite to what we are in Vancouver,” says Michael Geller, planner and real estate consultant. “Most people will be delighted after the events of last week to see Mr. Trump’s name removed from our city.”

Trump, who does not own the hotel in Vancouver, was in the city to launch the project four years ago. The event was met by a protest in front of the tower.

“Many opposed his name being associated with this development dating back to 2013 when it was first announced. [In] 2015 many people asked for his name to come down, but it wasn’t possible then because it was being used to sell the condominiums,” Geller says.

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Andy Yan, director of SFU’s City Program, says Vancouverites haven’t had a positive relationship with Trump tower name.

“As much as one could say it’s a love-hate relationship, when you look at the social media history of that sign – mostly hate,” he says. “I’ve seen a couple of times when I was in the neighbourhood, a typical photograph is really of the Trump sign, and a finger selfie, and in that finger selfie is typically the middle digit extended in front of that sign.”

Brent Toderian, former chief planner for the City of Vancouver, says he doesn’t know how quickly city hall requires having an unused sign taken down in normal, non-pandemic circumstances.

But with the hotel officially closed, he says the Trump sign has become third-party advertising.

“You’re not allowed to advertise something, under the city’s sign bylaws, that doesn’t actually exist there,” Toderian says. “Now with things reaching heights that I never dreamed of, depravity related to the Trump brand and the Trump sign, I would think that all parties and particularly the building owner, would want to get rid of that sign as quickly as possible because it’s a reminder of who they got in bed with.”

It’s been reported the Four Seasons is one hotel brand that has been looking to get back into the market, and maybe then, the sign would come down.

“Notwithstanding the fact that those five letters will soon come down and I suspect there will always be some people in Vancouver for whom this will forever be the Trump tower. But it certainly won’t be for many of us,” Geller says.