The switch was thrown on Vancouver’s first neon signs on Granville in 1924 and the craze erupted in the 1950s when 19,000 neon signs illuminated the city. Some though it was a sign of being a booming, bustling, progressive metropolis. Others thought they were the biggest eyesores and took away from Vancouver’s stunning natural surroundings.
A new exhibit at the Museum of Vancouver, Neon Vancouver | Ugly Vancouver, will look at both sides of the neon argument.
Did Vancouver’s flashing neon signs signal glamour, excitement and big city living? Or was neon part of a tawdry display that disfigured Vancouver’s natural beauty?
People were of two minds in Vancouver in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Neon signs that we now love were at that time, objects of deep civic controversy.
Neon was one highly visible sign of Vancouver’s transition from a sleepy west coast port into a striving, happening city. Neon became a lightening rod for critics of change, and at the same time, became the focus of a civic conversation about values in Vancouver.
Neon Vancouver begins October 13, 2011 and it will run until late summer next year with curator talks this November and December. If you haven’t been to the Museum of Vancouver recently, this would be a great way to explore their urban archives, displays, exhibits, and artifacts.
The 10-month exhibition will kick off with an opening party Wednesday, October 12, 2011. If you’d like to attend, here’s how you can win a pair of tickets:
- Leave a comment on this post about your favourite neon sign in Vancouver (past or present) (1 entry)
- Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Thursday, October 6, 2011.
Update The winner is Alice!