Signs, Signs, Everywhere A Sign

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

Five Man Electrical Band – 1971

I’ve been working sporadically on my photo library over the past few months and noticed I have several hundred photos with the tag “signs”.  Apparently I really like signs and have a propensity to take photos of them.

Signs often amuse me – like finding a pipe smoking fish.

Or the unusual juxtaposition of an ink shop located beside an accounting office.


I enjoy and appreciate the creativity in using pictorial business signs, like the scissors and comb for the hair salon, or the pen for the accounting firm.

I’m attracted to the unusual, the clever, and the unexpected.

With so many signs competing for my attention at this busy downtown corner, the world sitting on a giant chair still has me puzzled every time I see it.


I value signs to provide me with direction and serve as landmarks.  If you’ve ever gone anywhere with me, you know I have a deep-seated fear of getting lost.  My hiking partner, Helen, would argue it borders on the irrational.

However, signs can keep us safe.


… remind me I’m getting close to home.

arctic watershed

… or that I’ve reached my destination.


Even a familiar sign can suddenly become interesting.


I’m always looking for a sign to tell me whether I’m headed in the right direction.

London air raid shelter

… because being on the right path is something I really like.


  1. A great collection of signs here – I seem to have accumulated some over the years too but without some signs to get me there I’ll not easily find them! Hope they never need to use that bomb shelter one again!


  2. You have such attractive signs in your city. I love the globe on the chair (especially now knowing its meaning). Our signs seem overwhelmingly utilitarian now I come to think of it.

    I didn’t know that about you (fear of getting lost). Ah, there is a point on which we differ. When we were kids, my brother and I would take off on our bikes and try and deliberately get lost and then try and find our way home. I still have a tendency to be attracted to wandering down unfamiliar streets. 🙂


    • I think I remember us having this conversation once. The idea of trying to deliberately get lost is a strange one to me.
      I have no problem wandering down unfamiliar streets … but I’ve constantly got an eye out for landmarks etc so I can find my way back to familiar territory.
      I feel a little burble of panic whenever I get disoriented. Maybe I have control issues 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great collection! I really need to spend time organizing my photos too. I have a bunch of files named things like “view,” “houses,” “trees,” etc. (I may even have one named “etc.”). I’m sure the names made sense at one time, but now it’s just confusing.


    • My problems began about a year ago when I got a new computer. Then a few months later I had to replace my external storage drive. As a result, I ended up having photos all over the place.
      I still haven’t got everything organized under one umbrella and properly backed up!


    • After asking another blogger one day about how she organized her photos, I bought Lightroom. I use it for both photo management and editing.
      I don’t find it the easiest thing in the world to use and I’m glad I took a couple of intro one-day courses.
      I really like the ability to tag photos with words/names that makes it so much easier to retrieve photos of a particular *theme*.
      My problems started when I changed computers last year, and then had to change my external storage device. I have stuff all over the place and I’m still trying to get it all organized.
      … then of course I’ve made mistakes and I’ve accidentally lost stuff too. I’m still learning :/

      Liked by 1 person

    • Torrie at A.Promptreply looked up the meaning. I should have thought of doing that!
      Apparently the globe represents immigrants and the kitchen chair represents home. It’s intended to symbolize that this is a place where immigrants can find home.
      Isn’t that the best?! 🙂


  4. No wonder you like signs, Joanne! You have seen amazing ones around the world. I like that you got a chance to see Mr. Martin’s Shoe Repair shop sign. That is an old-fashioned one. I liked the chair and the fish coming out of the building. The humor in your signs that are about necessary notices, including which direction the waters go in one. You are going to have me noticing signs like Norm has me noticing doors! 🙂


  5. Great collection Joanne. Indeed I’m impressed at your photo cataloging skills! I do love the globe in the chair, and am pleased Torrie has discovered its meaning. I also love the four-way stop sign; that would drive Kiwis crazy.


  6. A wonderful collection of signs. Hmmm, I wonder what would pop up if I search my archives.
    The northern watershed one really is a big deal for us ‘southerner’s’ – I would stop at that one too, and for smoking fish of course 🙂


    • I’m guessing you would have a really interesting post with your signs from your own archive! I hope you’ll consider doing it 🙂

      I’ve seen the Arctic Watershed at a couple of different points, but I’ve always wondered … what exactly does a river look like at that / or near that dividing point?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t thought much about signs but after this post I’m sure I’ll be on the lookout.
    Interesting and varied signs. This are magnificent. Yeah. The world in the chair is a bit of a head scratcher (is this a word?). Might it mean, ‘stop the world, I need to rest’ 😀 😀 I’m sure its not, ‘Stop, I want to get off’…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Torrie at A.Promptreply actually did a google search on it and discovered that it symbolizes the world (ie immigrants) – finding home here (ie the kitchen chair symbolizing home). I’m paraphrasing of course, but now that I know what it means, I like it even more 🙂


  8. Wonderful collection! I like old neon signs. I have photographed a few but I recently discovered an area of town with a lot of them within a few blocks. I didn’t have my camera. I’ll have to go back in good weather, with a camera.


    • I never really gave the sign for the Arctic Watershed much thought when I was growing up. It just – was.
      Until one day, I brought my new boyfriend – and future husband – north to meet my family.
      He screeched suddenly off the highway when he saw the sign. First, as a ‘Southerner’ he hadn’t really considered that at some point water flows north.
      Secondly, he had no idea my home town was that far 🙂
      Now, everytime I head home and reach that sign, I think of that moment with Gilles!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂
      That stop sign made me laugh out loud. I know the intention was to identify a 4-way stop, but I was amused at the thought of STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! … just in case you didn’t get the message the first time 😀
      Torontonians have a tendency to ignore stop signs completely – like they are a suggestion, rather than a requirement :/


  9. See there? Another fine collection and you didn’t even realize you were doing it! I love your signs!

    I did a little hunting because I too find that chair and globe intriguing…here’s what I found….

    “Piggity Big” combines the globe (the immigrant experience) and the kitchen chair (home) to symbolize that for years immigrants found a home away from home in the market.”
    (web address in case you want to see too

    Liked by 1 person

    • WOW! That is really cool!
      1) it never occurred to me to search for its meaning
      2) the symbolism is amazing. I love the idea of a kitchen chair to symbolize home.
      Thanks! I’m going to look at this with entirely different eyes now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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