Ghostsigns

Thanks to Uppercase magazine, I learned about ghostsigns.ca, a site dedicated to sharing photos of and stories about the painted signs that adorn many old buildings in my hometown, Winnipeg.

Going through the gallery brings me back to my childhood. I am sitting beside my mother on a big orange and yellow bus, and we are heading downtown from our home on the north side of the city. We are likely going to a doctor appointment in the Medical Arts Building or to the Hudson’s Bay or Eaton’s, then found only downtown. We are zooming over the Disraeli Bridge, and below us on either side of the bridge I can see these old brick buildings, the faded signs on their facades hinting at what was or what used to be inside.

We are zooming over the Disraeli Bridge, and below us on either side of the bridge I can see these old brick buildings, the faded signs on their facades hinting at what was or what used to be inside.

I love that someone has bothered to put this website together. These faded old signs look hauntingly beautiful to me. They make me feel comfort and curiosity all at once. It’s the same way I feel when I work on any archival or history project.

A few years ago my husband and I took some of our own photos of the signs on the Nutty Club building while having a wander through downtown Winnipeg. We were walking from a restaurant in the French quarter of St. Boniface to a theatre on Portage Avenue. It was a beautiful summer evening, and we had some extra time on our hands. We allowed ourselves to really look at the things we passed, some of which are shown below in the photos we took.

All of this makes me wonder what I am missing around me right now. What I am not seeing. What I will one day in the future feel nostalgic about.