Street Walking: Ghost Signs

I feel truly fortunate to work in the part of town that I do. It’s old, really old, and since I have always had a soft spot for historical things, I love walking the streets on my lunch breaks.

One thing I’ve always been fascinated with, are the huge faded signs that are barely visible on the sides of old buildings that were built between 1900-1920ish. I’ve come to learn that they are called Ghost Signs.

I really feel like they help tell part of the story of these historical neighbourhoods. I sometimes imagine walking the streets in a time when they were dotted with Model-T cars, ladies and gentlemen in their finery scurrying along to catch a live show at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, and the factory workers, standing in the alleyways smoking, clothes covered in soot.

Well, I guess I just gave you a little peak into my brain when I let it wander.

tip top tailor - ghost sign gelber bros - ghost sign



    1. Thanks, ya I love seeing these old signs. I did a Google search and found some Flickr pages dedicated to these signs in Toronto and Montreal. I may try to compile a few more shots for future use.

  1. Those ghost signs are cool. There’s not a lot of them around here, but there was one really famous one for a cigarette brand. One night some advertising students went and re-painted the whole thing so it looked like new again, but the local government painted over it because it’s not legal to advertise tobacco or alcohol.
    The cigarette brand hadn’t even existed for the past two decades and the ad just showed their logo (which was the head of a horse). For the inhabitants of Oslo it was more of a cultural, historical, painting than it was an ad, but for the social-democratic bureaucrats that rides this country like pestilence, the most important thing in life is to follow the rules and obey orders – the good, old “ordnung muss sein”.

    Ads were much cooler back in the old days, when there was still jobs to get as ad-painters.

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