Posted by: Kate Follington on October 17, 2012 at 10:29 am

Within the history galleries at the Museum of Vancouver hangs one of the city's most beloved reminders of the local alt-rock and punk music scenes, a giant flashing neon sign of a bald red buddha. Originally taken from the neon strip along Hastings Street the sign belonged to the Smilin' Buddha Cabaret. Originally a reputable Chinese restaurant, the cabaret reinvented itself over 4 decades culminating as the home of the 80's punk scene. The sign was eventually donated to the Museum in 2008 by the band 5440. In 1995 they ended up with the sign and decided to take it on tour. 

At the height of their popularity the alt-rock band 5440 released their 3rd album and named it after the sign and music venue. 

Early in 2012 Vocalist Neil Osborne and bassist Brad Merritt visited the MOV history galleries and shared with staff the wild story of the Buddha tour of '95 and that giant neon sign.

Posted by: Kate Follington on October 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm

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!

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