Toronto in May is wonderful. It has much to recommend it, and curious signage is only the beginning: there are beautiful gardens, nice beaches (though Lake Ontario is still slightly chilly), great food, decent public transportation, and quite possibly the best coffee in the world.
Of course, I’m going to start with the signs.
In case you were wondering how to tell someone to fasten their seatbelt in French…here you go!
I wish bilingualism was more common in the U.S. So many other countries seem to manage it, why can’t we? Then again, they also manage to teach reading, writing, math, and science such that more than 60% of fourth- and eighth-graders can pass standardized tests at an acceptable level – another goal we can’t seem to reach. Pretty soon they’re going to have to rename it the Leev No Childe Beehynde act. Wait, that looks like Old English by way of The Pretenders. Ugh. Moving on…
Welcome to Canada!
This was an instant favorite, of course: TRAFFIC CALMING ZONE. This message brought to you by a friendly green and orange turtle.
Strictly speaking this is neither a sign nor graffiti, but I wish we had mint lemonade in bottles here. Then again, it’s easy enough to make lemonade and stick a few fresh mint leaves in, if you happen to have a mint plant. (A word to the wise: plant mint in a pot unless you want it to take over your garden like Alexander the Great sweeping across the Persian Empire. It’s that invasive.)
I put this question to you in all seriousness: WHAT? Of COURSE bikes are on wheels! They aren’t much use if they don’t have wheels, are they? (“Why the f— do I want a caravan that’s got no f—in’ wheels?” –Snatch) You wouldn’t have a auto dealership called “Cars on Wheels,” would you? IT MAKES NO SENSE.
Can’t be really upset at them for long though, as they have this chalkboard out front:
Fine, I’ll smile…but I still think your name is silly.
Aww, no love for the birds.
Brooklyn needs about 800 of these.
A nice Alice Walker quote on their sign: “If a book doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?”
I love this. Only in Canada: “This is a natural ice rink area.”
On the streetcar, just like they used to say on the school bus, but a bit more lenient (we weren’t allowed to stick our heads or legs out, either).
Some wonderful graffiti: “think that you might be wrong.” Has the writer just left off the “I”? Or is he (or she) gently nudging the reader to consider alternate viewpoints?
Again, not a sign or graffiti, but pretty cool, and I couldn’t think what other category to file it under…it certainly isn’t a flower. This lives in the aforementioned coffee shop.
Why have a boring old concrete underpass when you can have this?
The “eh” list…with a maple leaf. (Saw this in a branch of the Toronto public library.)
Down near the harbor there were these wavy sidewalks (hard to tell in this picture). Very cool-looking but make walking more dangerous apparently.
For the record, I did not do this, but I totally approve. (You can tell it wasn’t me, because I never write in black if I can avoid it, and that’s not my handwriting. Also I wouldn’t have capitalized the D without capitalizing the rest of the word as well.)
The best for last, my favorite…I just cannot get enough of this sign.
Canada Part II coming soon.
What I’m reading: Slammerkin, Emma Donoghue; Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane; This Book is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson
What I’m listening to: Let It Be and Tim, The Replacements