Portable Sign Permits

Portable signs – sometimes known as sandwich boards – can add vitality to downtown streets and be a valuable tool for businesses. Although they are a frequent sight around the city, portable signs on public space have not been previously permitted.

New regulations have been adopted to regulate sign size, where the signs can be placed, and the criteria that determine if a sidewalk outside of a business can support a portable sign. These regulations will balance the value to businesses with the need to maintain safe and clear passage for all sidewalk users. 

The new portable sign regulations will be in place as of January 16, 2014 and portable signs on public property after that date will require a permit.

Criteria and Eligibility

A few criteria apply to determine if your business is eligible to apply for a portable sign permit:

  • Portable Sign permit holders must also have a valid business licence
  • Sidewalks outside of the business must be a minimum of 2.6 m wide (Check sidewalk width through VicMap)
  • Signs must be placed at the curb or against the building in a manner that leaves a minimum of 2.0 m of clear sidewalk space
  • Each business with a valid portable sign permit may have one portable sign
  • Portable sign permit holders must maintain valid liability insurance of at least $2,000,000.
  • Only ground floor businesses can have portable signs, with a few exceptions:
    • Businesses that have a dedicated and direct access to an upper or lower level business and street frontage of at least 1.5 m may be eligible to obtain a portable sign permit (For example, if your business is on the second floor but you have a door and staircase off of the sidewalk that leads to your business only, and you have 1.8 m of street frontage, then you can apply for a portable sign. All other criteria must also be met.)
    • Businesses in an arcade: the owner or property manager of an arcade can apply on behalf of their businesses to have one sign at the entrance to the arcade. All other criteria must also be met.

For more details, including regulations relating to sign size and placement, please click here to read the info sheet or read the bylaw amendments [PDF - 34 KB].

Click here for information and permit applications for other types of signage.


Click here to download the permit application form. Permits are valid from January 16 until January 15 of the following year, to coincide with business licence dates. Permits will be available starting December 2, 2013.

Application forms can be submitted a variety of ways:

  • In person at the Public Service Center, Main Floor City Hall
  • Emailed to businesslicence@victoria.ca
  • By mail to City Hall at 1 Centennial Square, Victoria BC. V8W 1P6 c/o Public Service Centre

Note that attachments including a proof of insurance will be required to accompany applications. Please be sure to include these with your completed application form no matter how you choose to submit.


  • Every year upon renewal: $35.25 [$30 Permit Fee + $5 Annual Use of Public Space Charge + GST]

Additional Resources