Yesterday I was walking along Commercial Drive, something I need to do far more often, and I spotted a vintage neon Star Weekly sign. It’s been there for over 100 years and I had noticed it before in passing, usually in a vehicle, so I was excited to finally snap a photo of it from the sidewalk.
Star Weekly Sign in Vancouver
These signs appear in several Vancouver Archives photos, which I came across when I put together my Vintage Vancouver Coffee Shops post in 2016.
From Broadway and Commercial to Richards at Dunsmuir, the Star Weekly had several Bus Stop/Coffee Shop signs but the one I captured recently says “Grandview Smoke Shop” within the star then “Tobaccos” under it, where “Coffee Shop” is on the archives versions.
According to Vancouver Neon, the shop sign has been there since 1921. “The Star Weekly was a national magazine inserted into local newspapers. The first edition of The Star Weekly was published on April 9, 1910. There were neon signs like these all across Canada.”
Until 1968, the publication shared many of the staff from the daily Toronto Daily Star. Notable contributors to the Star Weekly included Robert W. Service, Ernest Hemingway, Fred Varley, Nellie McClung, Pierre Berton, Robert Thomas Allen and Jimmy Frise, whose cartoon Bridseye Centre appeared in the magazine for several decades [source]. It was published until 1973.
What made me so excited to capture this on my walk was just seeing something I knew from the archives, in person – and in colour.
More Vintage Neon
In the 1950s Vancouver had approximately 19,000 neon signs – more than Las Vegas! The Museum of Vancouver had an exhibit about the city’s neon history (until 2022) with some resources still available online.