For 50 years, Cirone’s Fine Foods on Queen East was a Beach institution – its blue sign and striped awning a friendly, familiar beacon in an evolving community.
Joe Cirone, the gregarious owner of Cirone’s, retired in 2015, and the shop has been boarded up since.
Crews have recently been on site, readying the building for renovations, and earlier this month removed the iconic sign and placed it inside the storefront.
But before it was taken down, plans have been in the works to somehow preserve the sign that faced south onto Munro Park Avenue.
John Renwick, who lives in a condo near the Neville Park Loop, said Joe’s store helped him feel welcome in the community when he and his partner moved here in 2009.
“I would just walk down and start a conversation with him every once and awhile,” he said. “I liked him.”
The sign is a nice reminder of Joe’s welcoming nature, and Renwick is hoping people in the community can help him with ideas to preserve it.
Renwick has been in touch with Joe’s family about saving the sign, and they have given him permission to remove it from the building and store it at his condo until a suitable home for the sign presents itself. They like the idea of asking the public for input.
The sign is large – three pieces of wood that are about 10 feet by three feet each – so it is too big for a place like the Balmy Beach Club.
But Renwick is hopeful the Beach’s historical-minded community will have suggestions.
“I can imagine it being mounted inside at the upstairs of the Beaches Library,” said Renwick. “I don’t know where else is big enough to have it… It might be of interest to the Italian Canadian community, as well.”
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