Neon Vancouver Ugly Vancouverby
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!
48 Comments — Comments Are Closed
My fav in Vancouver is the Save on Meats!
My favourite was always Helen’s.
It almost feels over-used but I’d have to say the Save-On-Meats sign takes it if only for shear originality (I mean, come on, pigs with giant dollars? How cuuuuuute).
I don’t really know how else to judge a neon sign… I suppose subtlety could be a metric 😛
My favorite is the W sign
I really like the neon “GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS” at the Cobalt, for obvious reasons.
I liked the Smilin’ Buddha , Ho Ho Inn and Bamboo Terrace signs.
Save on meats!
I enjoy the save-on-meats sign and enjoy the look of neon signage. Interesting use of the LED signage and eye catching displays going up around the city. i would enjoy seeing this exhibition at VAG.
For me, it’s definitely a tie between the Save-on-Meats sign and the W! Save-on-Meats just because it’s a cute pig, and the W because you can see it from far away! It makes me smile 🙂
i love the old ‘helen’s’ now the ‘heights’ sign! 🙂
I don’t remember the name of the business, but on Seymour St. between Georgia and Davie, one of the auto-repair shops had a wonderful sign: Two neon cars would crash together head-on, then spring apart again, perpetually! The sign was in use into the 1970’s at least.
Love the East Van sign
I like the swinging girl on east hastings !
I like the Smilin Buddha sign
Save on Meats!
Helen’s of course… cmon it has a swing!
I loved Helen – they updated it and I am glad we still have her, but wish she was still called Helen!
I think Helen’s was great, but for sheet majesty, you can’t beat the Orpheum sign.
I like Helen’s!
Helen’s sign before, now the heights, ugh. Long live Helen’s!
Gotta be the Orpheum!
Def the W!
Love the East Van Sign.
I live in the wrong decade. Most of them are all gone nowadays.
SAVE ON MEATS!!!!
I’ll always remember the old BowMac sign on West Broadway.
Drake Hotel and Save On Meas\ts
Drake Hotel and Save On Meats
East Van one.
East Van cross. Without a doubt. Thank you, Ken Lum.
I love the Only Seafoods one with the seahorse on it.
Ho Ho Chinese Food in Chinatown!
Ho Ho in Chinatown.
Im going to have to go with the majority with Helens
the Stanley Theatre on south Granville
Smiling Buddha – my parents used to hang out there when they first met.
The Woodwards “W”. It is my shining beacon to find my way home.
It’s currently stopped moving right now – fix the W!
I like the East Van sign! 🙂
I tweeted about the contest here: http://twitter.com/#!/awesome_tacos/status/121861453220298752
Woo hoo! Thanks for doing contests like this! 🙂
BOW MAC …. on BROAD-WAY!
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