Bill (1962)

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In the 1950s, Bill Hefler owned Lawrence Park Hardware in North Toronto. When a neighbour of his asked if Bill could find his growing sons some ski boots, Bill said, “Of course!” He found the boys their boots and he realized he was onto something. Ski clubs were opening north of the city and lots of families would need reliable ski equipment.  Bill began to book appointments after hours at his hardware store. He’d schedule two families a night, fitting parents and their children with skis, boots, and eventually ski clothing.  As a Level 3 ski instructor and father of three little girls, Bill knew what his customers needed and he loved to make them happy. Eventually, he followed his heart, bought another property on the corner, sold the hardware store, and opened The Sign of the Skier in 1971.

Now in his eighties, Bill no longer works at the store (“Would you buy a snowboard from an old guy like me?”), but he’s pleased to see that the next generation is still paying close attention to detail and keeping the customers happy.

Our Original Logo

Our Original Logo

Paul de M. (1980)

What does the ‘d’ stand for? Dedication. He is intense. Creative. And he also happens to be Bill Hefler’s son-in-law. Paul was the boy-next-door, growing up around the corner from the Heflers in Don Mills. He left a career in the packaged goods industry and started working at The Sign of the Skier in 1980, the year he married Bonnie, one of Bill’s three daughters. As the owner and manager of THE SIGN, Paul is actively involved in every detail, from skis and boots in the winter season to the summer season’s main offering, outdoor furniture. He’s an equipment expert, boot fitter, furniture specialist, and mentor. There is seldom a time when you will not find Paul at the store, knee-deep in new products, working with a tough boot fit, or helping the many young racers who come into the store for high performance equipment. He’s committed to every single aspect of the smooth running of the store. And he loves it.

Bonnie (1984)

Clothing specialist, primary clothing buyer, and key point person at the store since 1984. After graduating from university, Bonnie worked at one of Canada’s major banks until she decided being a part of her family’s business was her true passion.

She and Paul had just started their family and she felt working part time at The Sign of the Skier would allow her to work in an industry she loves while raising two fine children. This proved to be true and both kids are fabulous skiers today; a grandson is already eyeing the equipment for future runs. Bonnie has a keen eye for the right fit, gorgeous colours, fine fabrics, and simply superb clothing and accessories. She tries on every jacket and ski pant prior to making final selections for the store, and she’ll have you looking and feeling great on the slopes. 

Anne (1985)

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Behind every great woman stands… another woman! As a clothing specialist, assistant clothing buyer, and furniture expert, Anne is central to the success of the operation. After working at Simpsons early in her career, Bill’s wife, Shirley, called and said, “If you have a little time on your hands, why don’t you come and work at The Sign of The Skier?” 

Anne reported for duty in 1985 and has never looked back. Her three decades at the store bring a wealth of practical knowledge to the buying expeditions that she and Bonnie go on each year, and together they ensure you will have a wonderful selection of clothes and accessories for everyone in the family. 

Kevin (1993)

Kevin is one of our most multi-faceted employees at THE SIGN. Equally knowledgeable in our ski department, service department, and outdoor furniture, he is perhaps best known for his insights and savvy about snowboarding. At the peak of the snowboarding rage, Kevin was there to ensure that our “Ski Boutique” quickly caught up with the times and offered the best snowboard equipment in the city. His passion and enthusiasm for the snowboard culture has kept THE SIGN current. Thanks to Kevin’s ongoing efforts, you can be sure The Sign of the Skier has the right stuff for seasoned and new riders alike. 

Stephanie (1999)

Stephanie

Stephanie has been a member of the team since the turn of the century!  As a clothing specialist and our shipper/receiver, she is our resident problem solver. Not a single garment hits our sales floor without the ‘Stephanie stamp of approval’. Her behind-the-scenes efforts ensure your shopping experience goes without a hitch. We are doubly blessed, for Stephanie also works on the floor in sales. A CSIA instructor and mother of two skiers makes her an exceptionally knowledgeable sales associate in our skiwear department. And one of her sons, Dave, works in our service department – it really is a family affair.

Scott (1999)

Scott is another one of our equipment specialists and boot fitters. As a qualified CSIA instructor and coach, Scott truly knows his stuff. With his instructional background, he has a keen ability to pinpoint the proper gear for a skier’s individual performance level and ensure your experience on the slopes is as enjoyable as it can possibly be! Scott is also a key member of our Demo team, helping select the best cross section of new skis each and every year. In the off-season, he helps many of our customers find their strengths swinging a club. Par for the course, for our Scott. 

Norm (1999)

Norm, AKA the Silver Fox, is a superb equipment specialist and boot fitter, who has worked at THE SIGN for more than 15 years. He has a cult-like following, dating back to his days at Oscar’s – a famous ski shop in High Park, where he worked as a teenager. He’s been fitting boots ever since, amounting to four decades of invaluable experience. In the summer, you will find him equally well versed in the finer points of outdoor furniture and BBQ intel. 

Donna (2001)

Donna arrived at The Sign of the Skier via Tru-Sport and Collegiate Sports very well versed in outdoor apparel. She is our walking encyclopedia when it comes to any technical questions regarding fabrics, fit, and style. Donna also makes a seamless transition each year from winter to summer (as does the store!) and she is Paul’s right hand woman when it comes to buying and managing the summer garden furniture. 

Paul P. (2003)

Equipment specialist and storyteller extraordinaire. Another world-class boot fitter, Paul P joined THE SIGN in 2003. Paul’s roots with Surefoot helped make him one of the industry’s leading experts in customized boot fits. His unbridled enthusiasm and professional experience make Paul an invaluable member of our Demo team and source of comparable knowledge.  His unique stories of world ski travel will keep you entertained and amused.  

What does the P stand for? 

Personable! (He might say Perfect…)

Gilda (2003)

Our accountant for more than a decade. Although seldom seen on the sales floor, Gilda’s presence is key to the smooth running of the operation and her thoroughness and efficiency resonate through all the departments in the store. Despite the barrage of paperwork that inevitably comes with the job, Gilda always makes herself available and she is quick to turn her attention to any matter at hand. 

Christine (2004)

Operations specialist and goggle buyer/specialist. Often the first one you will see as you enter the store, and the last one as you leave, Christine is frequently behind the cash. She is the backbone of operations, for she ensures our systems run smoothly and our friendly cashiers are expertly trained to make the final step in your shopping experience as swift and pleasant as possible. In addition to her operations expertise, Christine is our best-in-class goggle expert, making sure The Sign of the Skier always has the most extensive goggle selection in the city. 

Peter (2004)

Although employed at The Sign of the Skier as an equipment specialist and boot fitter since 2004, Peter has been part of THE SIGN for as long as we can remember!

He hails from a dedicated race family, all of whom have geared up at THE SIGN since their early Nancy Greene racing days. Peter’s years of experience on the slopes is a valuable asset to our great team of sales associates and specialists. He’s a fabulous skier who (still) loves to ski fast and he has a ready smile and an engaging personality that appeals to everyone who comes in for advice about equipment, racing, and great instruction. (His Dad is Executive Director of the Canadian Ski Patrol - Central Zone)

Aaron (2006)

Both a clothing and furniture specialist, Aaron has a lovely, calming nature. That’s a great asset in a busy retail store where there are ‘kids’ of all ages.  He has a deep sense of individualism, with an artistic side that includes tattoos and his beloved Harley-Davidson. We have heard such wonderful feedback from customers, young and old. “My elderly mum came in with me last week,” said a customer, “and she fell in love with Aaron’s gentle nature and engaging personality.” He knows his stuff, and sincerely enjoys sharing his knowledge with all of his clients.

Sean (2010)

Sean

Snowboard specialist, equipment specialist, and boot fitter since 2010. Our resident freeski/snowboarder, Sean took to this aggressive sport style at a young age and when he joined our team, he made the place feel a lot younger in spirit and style. When not working at THE SIGN, Sean can often be found pushing the limits in the park. And so, he occasionally sports a cast as part of uniform. His extensive riding experience makes him a favourite among the younger crowd and he is the quintessential consultant when we put together our Freeski/Snowboard program each season.

Henry (2011)

Head of Service Department and Ski Tuning Specialist. Henry has been honing his skills for 17 years in the industry and we were thrilled when he came to join us in 2011. His dedication to our shop ensures our machinery is running at top performance levels and offers the best tune available. In 2002, Henry pioneered the most comprehensive race tune offered in the industry, one which has garnered an incredibly enthusiastic response from our race athletes. Henry is also a talented musician, who performs in Toronto with his band, Henry Taylor and the Long Horse Rangers.