Accessibility

Accessibility in the City

Accessibility.  It’s on everyone’s minds these days and it is at the forefront of Classic Displays product development.  Over the last year we have spent a lot of time focusing on accessibility. With the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) gaining traction and a number of compliancy deadlines lined up for the coming years we wanted to ensure we understood the act, how it would affect our customers and what we could do to help them become compliant.

A few years ago we began looking at the ergonomics of standard park benches and how they could be improved upon and in 2009 we introduced our first ergonomically correct bench, the Ergo.  Since then we have continue to add to what is now our line of accessible benches, this past year focusing on our standard line of benches and how we could modify them to make them accessible.

Ergo

One of the standards set in the AODA is for the design of public spaces, which as it currently stands, requires outdoor public eating areas to have a minimum of 20% of the tables be wheelchair accessible.  While we agree that wheelchair accessible tables should be mandatory we don’t think it should stop there. We also encourage our customer’s to consider adding accessible benches to their public spaces as well.

Fortunately, we are not the only ones that understand the importance of accessibility in public spaces and see the benefits. We have been working with the City of London for a number of years and manufacture the specified bench for their parks. In 2014 the city ordered 25 Accessible Riverside benches and will continue to order them on an as needed basis.

Another City that has begun to embrace our accessible line of benches is the City of Toronto. Our standard Riverside bench has been the specified bench for the City for a couple of years now and it was the standard Riverside that we made some modifications to in order to make it accessible. This accessible version of the Riverside has begun to pop up alongside standard Riversides in various parks within the city. Other benches from the accessible line can also be found throughout the city, a number of Heritage benches sit outside of Metro Hall and Contour benches can be found in Nathan Phillips Square. To date the city has ordered 40 Accessible Riverside benches and over 50 other Accessible models.

Contour - Nathan Phillips

The City of Hamilton is currently working on a multiyear revitalization project of Gore Park. Another city we often work with, Hamilton took an early interest in the Heritage bench when it was first introduced to our product line. That bench has since become specified in the revitalization project.  They have also begun to introduce our Accessible Riverside line as well and to date, 23 benches have been purchased with more orders to come as the projects continue.

As accessibility continues to be our main focus in 2015, we look forward to continuing to work with the cities of London, Toronto, and Hamilton and we encourage other cities and towns to look to them as examples of how to start incorporating Accessible site furniture in outdoor public spaces.

Heritage - Metro Hall

 

Accessibility

Helping you Become AODA Compliant

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was implemented in 2005 and since then each part of the act is gradually becoming mandatory for any company that employs over 20 people. The act includes standards for information and communication, employment, transportation and design of public spaces.

Regulations for outdoor public eating areas fall under design of public spaces within the act and apply to tables that are found in public areas such as parks, hospital grounds and on university campuses that are intended for use by the public as a place to eat. The general requirements include the following:

A minimum of 20% of tables that are provided must be accessible to persons using mobility aids by having knee and toe clearance underneath the table and in no case shall there be fewer than one table in an outdoor public use eating area that meets this requirement.

The ground surface leading to and under tables that are accessible to persons using mobility aids must be level, firm and stable.

Tables that are accessible to persons using mobility aids must have clear ground space around them that allows for a forward approach to the tables.

While we can’t assist you with becoming compliant with every requirement within the AODA, we can help you make your outdoor spaces accessible. Not only do we manufacture a variety of tables that meet the requirements of the AODA but we also have the installation crew that can assist with making the area around and under the tables also meet the requirements.

Accessible Tables

MODC Table

This table was designed and manufactured in partnership with the March of Dimes Canada using the standards set in the Accessible design for the built environment published by the Canadian Standards Association in 2004. With fixed seating on two sides of the table and an open area on two sides with proper knee and toe clearance for wheelchairs, this table is one of the most accessible on the market. Available in the same plastic lumber as our standard picnic tables, the MODC can easily be integrated into existing outdoor eating areas and compliment existing tables.

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Wheelchair Access 470/450 – One End or One Side

Part of the park series line of picnic tables the Wheelchair Access table comes in two different styles. The Wheelchair Access 470 is a six foot table that has a two foot table top extension on one end to allow for a wheelchair to wheel up to it with ease. The one side version of the Wheelchair Access table (450) is five feet long with seating on only one side of the table allowing a wheelchair to wheel up to the table on the other side.

Wheelchair Access Tables

Accessible Hex Table

From our standard line of picnic tables the Hex can be modified to meet the accessibility requirements. The standard table has three double seats surrounding the table; to make the table accessible to wheelchairs we replace one of the double seats with a single.  Perfect for eating areas where you want to maintain a consistent look.

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Accessible Benches

Although not a requirement within the AODA, with the push to increase accessibility and the possibility of amendments to the act, we have added a number of AODA compliant accessible benches to our existing site furniture line. Available in a variety of styles including heritage, modern and straight styles, these benches have varying accessible and ergonomic features to make them more user friendly to those wanting to transfer out of a wheelchair or someone who has back or knee problems. You can learn more about these benches in our previous blog Increase Accessibility with Accessible Seating.

Heritage and Contour

When we created this line of accessible benches we were looking to the future, and we recommend our customer’s do the same. Currently, 1 in 7 people in Ontario have a disability (that’s 1.85 million Ontarians) and it’s estimated that by 2036 that number will rise to 1 in 5. With this number set to increase it only makes sense to add accessible benches to your public space so it is accessible to everyone, not just a select population. The City of Toronto as well as the City of London are acknowledging this change in the demographic and beginning to add accessible benches alongside their standard benches in their parks and on their city streets.

We advise our clients to not wait for something to become mandatory but to begin gradually making these changes over time. When a bench gets beyond repair, replace it with an accessible model or when planning a new public space add a couple of accessible benches as well. Making these changes over time will not only benefit the users of your public space but will also be much more cost effective than having to make these changes all at once.

Becoming AODA compliant may be a requirement but it’s the benefits of doing so that you should be focusing on. Making your park, commercial or retail property more accessible opens it up to a larger number of consumers which is always a good thing.

For more information on the AODA visit: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/accessibility/understanding_accessibility/aoda.aspx

Accessibility

Increase Accessibility with Accessible Seating

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was introduced in 2005 and lays the framework for the development of province-wide mandatory standards on accessibility. The act includes standards that are meant to assist those living with disabilities in their daily life and covers everything from customer service to transportation and the design of public spaces.

Currently the Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces only applies to new construction and major changes to existing features and it covers recreational trails/beach access routes, outdoor public eating areas, outdoor play spaces, outdoor paths of travel, accessible parking and service-related elements like service counters and waiting areas.

As it stands, the only accessible type of site furniture you are required to have is a minimum number of accessible tables and that is only mandatory in outdoor public eating areas like rest stops and picnic areas. However, with a push to increase accessibility in all public spaces and the potential for amendments to the regulations, we have designed a line of AODA compliant accessible benches to meet the future needs of our customers.

Our line consists of a variety of different styles of benches, all of which have added accessibility benefits:

Heritage

The Heritage is the most ergonomically correct bench in our line of accessible benches. It has a raised seat height of 19” and the curvature of the seat allows users to enter and exit the bench with ease. The built in lumbar support curves to the natural shape of the users back allowing for more support. For more stability when entering and exiting the Heritage, it features raised, molded arm rests for better grip and a centre arm is also available and recommended. Not only is the Heritage accessible but it is environmentally friendly, manufactured with 100% recycled plastic lumber and cast aluminum ends. The Heritage is also available as a straight model which features the 19” raised seat height as well as the molded arm rests.

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Ergo

More modern compared to the Heritage bench, the Ergo is also ergonomically correct. It’s raised height of 20” at the centre and built in lumbar support make this bench easier on the knees and backs of the user. It’s raised, molded arm rests allow for better grip when entering and exiting the bench making it more accessible than the average bench in the park.

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Accessible Riverside

Our standard Riverside is one of our most popular benches (and is also the specified bench for the City of Toronto) and can be found in a number of parks not only in Toronto but throughout the GTA. To make adding accessible benches that match existing benches in parks easy, we have modified the Standard Riverside to create the Accessible Riverside. We’ve raised the seat height to 19” and recommend taking advantage of the optional centre arm for increased accessibility. Much like the arm rests on the Heritage and the Ergo, they are molded to allow for better grip when entering and exiting the bench.  A straight model of the Accessible Riverside is also available.

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Contour

The Contour is the only bench in our accessibility line that can not only be surface mounted but in-ground mounted as well. It features a raised seat height of 19” and raised arm rests to allow for easier entering and exiting of the bench. As with the majority of our accessibility models, the Contour has an optional centre arm that we recommend using. The Contour is available in a straight model that also features raised arm rests and both the straight and standard model are available in 6’ or 8’ lengths.

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Although the AODA doesn’t currently require you to have a certain number of accessible benches in public spaces, when we were designing this line of benches we were looking to the future and we encourage our customers to do so as well. The Silver Tsunami is on its way, coupled with a large percentage of the population of people that have disabilities. Both demographics require modifications to public spaces so they can enjoy them as well, and if those modifications aren’t there that’s less people that will enjoy your park or commercial or retail property. Don’t wait for something to become mandatory;  begin making these changes now by replacing an old, worn out bench with an accessible bench or include a couple accessible models when planning a new public space. Making the changes gradually over a longer period of time will be a lot easier and more cost effective than making the changes all at once.

 

For more information on the AODA visit: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/accessibility/understanding_accessibility/aoda.aspx

Tips

The Benefits of Investing in Site Furniture

The term “site furniture” is most often associated with benches. Although they make a great addition to properties and public spaces, and are the most popular piece of site furniture, there are so many other products that get overlooked. Various waste and recycling receptacles (including receptacles dedicated to ash and dog waste), bike racks, picnic tables and floral planters all fall into the site furniture category and all come with a variety of benefits.

We service a variety of different clientele including municipalities and BIAs as well as commercial and residential property managers and although their types of businesses may differ the use of site furniture benefits them in similar ways.

Keeping a property or street clean and esthetically pleasing is extremely important. If we look at the example of a residential property like a condo, the exterior of the building and the property it sits on is what potential tenants and visitors base their first impressions on.  If they arrive to a property with litter scattered all over it, their first impression is not going to be great. It is also very much the same for municipalities, BIAs and retail properties.  You want to maintain a certain level of cleanliness to make those areas or shopping centres more attractive and appealing to consumers. Having proper waste and recycling receptacles located throughout the property or public space makes waste disposal the easy choice for users, helping to maintain that level of cleanliness without too much effort.

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But it’s not just about having your basic garbage can here or there. Cigarette butts are often times the worst culprit for littering a property or public space, they are a pain to clean up and having them disposed in a regular garbage receptacle creates a fire hazard. To combat this problem, there are a variety of specially designed ash receptacles available to promote proper ash and cigarette butt disposal. There are smaller, more inconspicuous models that can be mounted to walls and larger free standing models that can be used in shared open spaces. Having a few ash receptacles located on a property, will not only encourage people to smoke in these specific areas but will also make clean up less of a hassle.

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Increasing curb appeal is a huge benefit to site furniture however it also makes a space more user friendly. Having picnic tables in parks and benches on city streets is common sense but often times they tend to get overlooked on residential properties. If a property has a large shared space, whether it is a court yard, a BBQ area or a rooftop patio, having the proper site furniture for the area makes it much more usable. With more sustainable models manufactured with recycled materials becoming available due to their increasing popularity, they are maintenance free and last much longer than their traditional wooden counterparts.

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Another increasingly popular amenity, that makes a property more tenant friendly and BIAs and commercial properties more accessible are bike racks. With cycling becoming an increasingly popular mode of transportation, especially in large metropolitan areas, having the proper bike storage is imperative. On residential properties bike parking for tenants is often available in the parking garage or within the storage facilities; however bike parking for visitors is often overlooked. Having a smaller space for a bike rack located near the entrance of a condo not only allows secure parking for visitors that don’t have access to the parking garage, but for tenants who may be making a quick stop at home.  It’s equally as important to have secure bike parking located on commercial properties and within municipalities and BIAs because it makes those places more accessible to those that cycle. If there is not somewhere visible to lock a bike to, people may just cycle through your BIA as oppose to stopping and enjoying the amenities you have to offer.

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Admittedly, well manufactured site furniture can be an investment, however with that investment you receive products that help maintain a clean appearance, decreasing time spent on ground maintenance and increasing your curb appeal as well as making your property, BIA or municipality more accessible. It’s an investment worth making.

Accessibility

Classic Displays’ Accessible Customer Service Plan

At Classic Displays we are committed to excellence in serving all customers including those with disabilities.

It is for this reason, we have an accessibility policy in place and available upon request.

As we strive to continue to improve accessibility for our customers we welcome any comments, questions or suggestions you have about the provision of our goods or services to people with disabilities. Please contact Customer Service in person, or at 905-282-8888 to share your comments.

Thank you.

Installations

Since the beginning, our focus has always been on our customers and meeting their needs. It’s for that reason that although we started out in the Christmas décor business, as we grew, we expanded into different markets first introducing the flags & banners division and then the site furniture division. In doing so we were able to further meet the needs of our already loyal customers and create new relationships as well, essentially becoming a one stop shop for enhancement products.

As we continue to enhance our three divisions through the introduction of new products, we also want to further increase our offerings to our customers through a variety of services. You’ve read about our maintenance and refurbishing services as well as our storage facility, however our most utilized service would be our installations which we offer throughout the GTA in all three of our divisions.

Holiday Displays

Installations are just one aspect of the turn key service we provide for our Holiday Displays, and it is the most popular. We manufacture a variety of holiday displays ranging from indoor, large scale Christmas trees to large LED roof mount and pole mount displays and we have the tools and capability to install all of it. Christmas installs begin in early October with general tree lighting taking place first with the large Christmas Display installations beginning after Halloween.

Our crew of well trained installers work through the night installing displays on light poles on town and city streets, in parking lots and on office buildings to bring a touch of the Holiday spirit to well travelled areas. The work takes place at night to ensure we aren’t impeding any major traffic with our trucks and workers. Interior Christmas installations also take place during off hours to avoid interrupting business and foot traffic in malls and office buildings. Our crew takes the utmost care when installing these large and often heavy displays and uses a variety of different techniques to ensure they are properly secured and will remain in place in whatever weather Mother Nature throws at us.

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Site Furniture

We understand that sometimes our customers don’t have the staff or time to install large pieces of site furniture that they order from us. That’s why we offer an installation service for our customers located within the GTA. We recommend that all site furniture be affixed to the ground to ensure your investment doesn’t disappear overnight and we use stainless steel hardware to avoid rusting and maintain an esthetically pleasing look.

If you are replacing existing pieces we are happy to remove the existing site furniture and take it off of your hands or deliver it to where it needs to be. All we require for installation is a detailed map of the area to show us where all of the pieces are going and we will do the rest for you!

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Flags & Banners

The installation of banners is also a very common request we receive and something we do regularily. We will not only install banners that we have manufactured for you but we will also install any existing banners you already have. We can do this on existing hardware or start from scratch and install new hardware that can be purchased with us.  Much like with the installation of site furniture all that is required is a map outlining the location of all the poles that will be receiving banners and which banner if you have multiple designs. Again we can do these installations later in the evening or early morning to ensure we are not affecting traffic.

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For all of our installations, regardless of what division of products you are ordering from, we will do a site meeting with you where we can determine the location for all of the pieces. During the visit we will inspect the area to note what type of fixtures and materials we are affixing the enhancement products to so we have the proper hardware to do so. Let us do the heavy lifting so you don’t have to!

Accessibility

When furnishing a public space such as a park, a city street or a shopping centre, it’s important to remember who uses these areas; Everyone. And not everyone has the same capabilities. You may think you are doing everybody a service by providing them with a bench to take a break on or a picnic table to enjoy a nice meal outside and you are, however the majority of site furniture is not designed for people with disabilites or those that just need a bit more support.

Picnic tables are a great addition to any park or shared outdoor area and although they seem accessible to everyone, including those with wheelchairs, that is not the case. The open ends of picnic tables may seem like an easy enough solution for those in wheelchairs to wheel up to, however the design of most picnic tables has the legs too close to the end of the table.

There are picnic tables on the market that have been designed to better accommodate those with wheelchairs. Some of those designs include regular style picnic tables that only have seating on one side or have an extended table top to allow room for those with wheelchairs. Our own MODC table was designed for the March of Dimes Canada and is a square table with built in seating on two sides and open seating on the other two sides to allow for wheelchair access.

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There are a variety of bench styles available on the market and the majority are fairly accessible, however there is always room for improvement. Benches tend to be low to the ground and fairly deep, making it difficult for some users to enter and exit the bench, especially if the bench doesn’t have arms. Another issue with the average park bench is that the material to make benches is hard, there is no give and unfortunately does not conform to the shape of a person’s body in any way. We took all of this into account when we began designing a line of ergonomically correct benches.

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Our line of ergonomic benches, that includes the Ergo, Heritage and Contour bench, address all the flaws of the common park bench that are listed above. The seat height of the benches range from 18.5” to 20” and features curved seating to allow the user to roll on and off the bench with ease. Raised arm rests further aid the entry and exiting process. The Ergo and Heritage bench feature further ergonomics through built in lumbar support with a curved back which giving the user more comfort and support.

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The ergonomically correct line of benches are the ideal solution for those with disabilities and seniors, as they are more accessible and user friendly and make a great addition to any public space. Not every piece of site furniture on a property is going to be accessible to everyone, however having a few wheelchair accessible tables to go along with your regular picnic tables, and some ergonomically correct benches along side your existing benches will ensure that anyone can find a suitable place to sit and enjoy the public space.

 

Eliminate Waste

We are excited to announce that just before the Christmas break we became a founding member of the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council! The mission of the USZWBC is to educate, inform and document the performance of Zero Waste Businesses using scientific methods to help businesses and communities become more healthy and sustainable. With a shared interest in helping others reduce waste and us as a company working hard to reduce waste it was the perfect fit.

USZWBC Final Logo

Wanting to assist our customers get closer to becoming a Zero Waste Business, our line of recycling units is constantly growing and evolving to meet their needs. At Classic Displays, we want to ensure that regardless of what kind of business our customer runs, or what type of materials they recycle, we have a unit that suits the environment. From sleek smaller desk side units that can be used to recycle anything from batteries to confidential paper, to larger units for shared spaces, even units designed specifically for the recycling of coffee cups, we have everything to make recycling within an office environment the easy choice. And it’s not just businesses that work from an office that we have recycling solutions for. With a large number of exterior and interior recycling bins we have containers that would benefit large commercial properties, municipalities, warehouses, anything really.

Recycling Containers

For us it’s not only important to help our customers reduce waste in the work place, but it’s essential for us to practice what we preach. It’s easy enough for us to reduce waste as we manufacture the proper tools to do so, but we don’t stop there. With a strong commitment to sustainability we focus on manufacturing environmentally friendly products through the use of recycled materials. The majority of our site furniture is manufactured from recycled plastic and aluminum, even our holiday displays are manufactured with low power consumption LED lighting and we participate in a banner recycling program which keeps a number of old banners from ending up in landfills. That means all of our divisions are participating in some form of recycling and we are continually looking for ways to further our recycling initiatives.

Working towards becoming a Zero Waste Business is not only important for the environment in helping to reduce litter and pollution and cutting greenhouse gases, but it’s also beneficial to the business itself. Zero waste businesses save money, are more efficient and create jobs and more value for their business and the community. With those kinds of benefits and the tools and resources available to assist you, why not take your first step to becoming a Zero Waste Business today!

For more information on the USZWBC and how to become a Zero Waste Business visit http://www.uszwbc.org/

Customization

Housing three divisions of products at Classic Displays (Site Furniture, Holiday Displays, Flags & Banners), you can imagine how expansive our product lines are. Regardless of the number of products we have to offer, our customers don’t necessarily want stock items; they want something more personalized. It is for that reason that we offer a number of customization options in each of our divisions.

Site Furniture

At Classic Displays we understand that well manufactured, long lasting site furniture can be a large investment, which is why we want to make these pieces multi functional for our customers. Why should a waste receptacle be used solely to collect garbage when it can also help further brand a company, city street or act as an advertisement for a local business?

Most of our waste receptacles can be customized simply through the addition of a logo, while others have more extensive options, like our Phoenix Unit. Our Phoenix has the space to do a logo on either side of the container but it also has an interchangeable community messaging centre as well as optional advertising panels. Great for communities, this unit helps keep the streets litter free while keeping local residents informed.

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With site furniture, the customization doesn’t stop at waste receptacles. We do a number of different types of bench customizations including embossed ends, which is very popular on our Riverside benches and can be seen in the City of Toronto and on Sparks Street in Ottawa. Our new Heritage bench also has customizable ends through the optional logo and name plate. Plaques are also available for the majority of our benches.

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Christmas Displays

We’ve been in the Christmas décor business since 1977 and we have done a number of custom jobs since then. The nice thing about the LED displays that we manufacture is that it’s easy for our customers to share their design concepts with us and we can turn around and make them a reality. And it doesn’t have to be just for Christmas.

We’ve manufactured a number of year round LED Displays based on Business Improvement Area’s (BIAs) logos. Examples of these can be seen on Sparks Street in Ottawa and in Danforth Village in Toronto. Another example of custom year round displays would be those manufactured for Gravenhurst. All of their displays had the same base but the tops were boats or loons.

Sparks Street Gravenhurst

Flags & Banners

Having customers request custom flags or banners, as opposed to purchasing the stock designs we carry, is fairly common. It’s an easy process. The customer provides artwork that we then resize according to the banner size and then we have them printed and sewn, the process for custom flags being very much the same. What a number of people don’t realize is that the customization options don’t end there; we can also customize the banner arms.

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Using laser cut steel, we can create custom banner and floral arms by cutting names and designs into them. It’s a great way to enhance a city street or BIA and examples of this can be found in the Islington BIA and Emery Village.

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Offering a wide variety of customization options to our customers is something we think separates us from the rest. To increase our capabilities in this area we have a graphic designer on staff that can turn our customers ideas into working designs in the event our customers don’t have the capacity to do so themselves. We also have an in house engineer that has worked on a number of custom site furniture products from designing new pieces that we have not previously manufactured to making alterations to our existing products to better suit the needs of the customer.

Regardless of the scope of work for a customization project we work closely with our customers every step of the way to ensure they end up with a product that satisfies their needs!

Spring Cleaning

Winters can be rough. With all the snow and ice comes a lot of salt and abuse on your site furniture, not to mention the amount of sidewalk plows that go by that may ding a bench or waste receptacle from time to time.

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Although our products are built to withstand the weather, the type of winters we have does start to take its toll. Much like we have to wash the salt stains off the bottoms of our pants and shoes, your site furniture requires the same type of care.

Once the snow melts, you may want to consider checking the condition of your site furniture and if it looks like it’s going to need a good spring cleaning consider letting Classic Displays do it for you! We offer a wide variety of maintenance services to keep our customers’ site furniture looking its best!

Salt can do a number on site furniture; while it won’t necessarily leave any long term damage it certainly leaves things looking dingy. To combat this problem we offer power washing services within the GTA. Just give us a map that shows where all of the pieces are located and we will come give everything a good wash.

In the event the salt has done enough damage to cause the paint to chip off of your bench legs, or a snow plow has dinged it, we can clean up and repaint those legs on or off site. Other minor onsite repairs we offer include replacing damaged boards on benches as well as hinges and locks on waste receptacles. If you have items that require major repairs we can come remove that particular bench or waste receptacle and reinstall it once the repairs have taken place at our warehouse.

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To find out more about our maintenance services give us a call at 905-282-8888, because as much as everyone enjoys the arrival of spring, no one really wants to do the spring cleaning that comes with it!