Share your neon sign story

Neon photography by Walter Griba Neon Vancouver | Ugly Vancouver opens at the MOV on Thursday, October 13. The  exhibition explores Vancouver's gritty, urban past in a fascinating look at the explosion of neon signs in the 1950s through 1970s and the visual purity crusade that virtually eradicated them from Vancouver streets.

Memories already starting to flow this way, and we're wondering what neon stories you have.

Did you use to have a neon sign at your store? Were you a frequenter of a club or shop with a great neon sign? Do you remember a hotel sign now long gone or foster fond memories of one still there today?

Tell us your neon story, or share with us what your favourite piece of neon signage in the city is – or was!

Comment below, engage on our Facebook, or add pictures to our Flickr Pool of neon signs that you’ve photographed.

Can't wait to hear your tales!


We made a family trip in 1962 from Ontario to visit my grandparents in Vancouver. My dad (sometimes my mum) drove our 1950 something Chevy with fins across the country, camping all the way. There were six of us - three in the front, three in the back. The negotiable window seats were the two in the back. In the interest of fairness, my parents saw that we four kids got equal time with them.

By the time we got to Vancouver I hated the car. So what does my city aunt, (the one with the glamorous downtown career job) do a few days after we arrive? She suggests a neon sign drive through Vancouver - Bow Mac, The Only, The Balmoral, The Aristocrat, Scott's (I think), The Niagara, The Marco Polo and more. The best part about it in my five year old mind is that I got to stay up late to wait for the dark.

What I learn driving around the city lit streets is that Vancouver has a lot of neon and that some people think it's 'a real shame'. But that's not how it was presented to me. It was a modern sight to see, something special.

Just two and a half years later our family moved here (in a Ford Galaxy 500). Since then I've watched the tubes burn out and the signs comes down. Clearly, I need to drive over to my 93 year old aunt's and thank her for that 1962 night drive.

Just a quick note...

My Grandfather started Millers Jewelers in 1921 and the business continued well into the '80s

The store in your Blog pic is the original store at 47 west Hastings.

At the time the sign was put up it was the largest neon sign in the city(not sure of the year).

If by some chance you have a picture of the full sign I would appreciate a copy if at all possible.

Thanks in advance.

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