More Exceptional Street Signs


Even now, 40 years after Bill 101 mandated that Montreal conduct its official business in French only, it is not uncommon to find old English or bilingual public signs. While some ideologues might consider this a bad thing, I’m inclined to view it as a window into Montreal’s past, and a fascinating one at that.

I’ve written about Montreal’s street signs before — you can find my photos and articles listed under the Signage category — but I’m still finding plenty of nice examples of old or unusual street signs.

The Ste. Catherine St. sign pictured above is particularly interesting because it does not seem to conform to any street sign standard, linguistic or otherwise. Found in Westmount, it is written “St-Catherine St.,” using the English abbreviation of “saint,” but with a French hyphen instead of an English period. It is also unusual in that it contain an English generic (“street”) whereas most Westmount signs omit the generic altogether.

Below is the corner of “Rue Rose-de-Lima” and “Workman St.” in St. Henri. It’s a nice example of the old tradition of using a French generic for French street names and an English generic for English names.


This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Tuesday September 18 2007at 11:09 pm , filed under Art and Design, Canada, Heritage and Preservation, Society and Culture and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Response to “More Exceptional Street Signs”

  • Desmond Bliek says:

    Chris- that St-Catherine St. sign also looks like it has the ‘West’ taped over below… there’s a lot of signs where the English ‘East’ or ‘West’ is taped over, and on many of them, it shows through in a nifty way.