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Canadian Signs & Roadside Attractions

Updated on October 16, 2011

Quebec, Canada

Roadside of the St. Lawrence in the Charlevoix region of Quebec
Roadside of the St. Lawrence in the Charlevoix region of Quebec

View from the Highway

Scenic highways can be a real joy to travel and this route through the picturesque hills that make up the Charlevoix region of Quebec on the north shore of the St. Lawrence is no exception. This particular viewpoint occurs along Highway 362, as it winds through the hills that tower above the town of St. Irene. Named for the 18th century Jesuit priest, traveler and historian, Pierre Francois Xavier de Charlevoix, this part of Quebec has long attracted numerous artists. Today, their works can be seen in great numbers in the town of Baie St. Paul, a place where tourists flock in droves. Scenic panoramas make great images, but that is not what these pictures and discussion is about. Instead of looking at the long view, this article will explore the close-up vernacular that sits right at the edge of the road.

Tennis Balls

Tennis Balls In Quebec
Tennis Balls In Quebec

Courtside Tennis Balls

It's one thing to install a tennis court, but this Eastern Quebec sports center went all out with this outdoor court and added a mural to grace the edge of the playing surface.

Gaspe Warning Sign

Warning sign in the Gaspe region of Quebec
Warning sign in the Gaspe region of Quebec

Beware of Rogue Waves

This sign warns unsuspecting motorists of the possibility that a large wave could wash a vehicle right off the road. Taken on a warm August summer day, this threat seems almost unreal. However, changing weather patterns can bring about stormy weather in a big hurry - or so it may seem.

A Closer Look at the Unusual Warning Sign

Close-up of the sign
Close-up of the sign

Bump In the Road!!!!

Warning sign in Quebec
Warning sign in Quebec

Signs Without Words

Throughout the province of Quebec travelers may come across visual signs like this that communicate without words. Canada is officially bilingual, but English is definitely more widely understood than French. On a similar note Native French speakers are much more likely to understand English than the other away. Perhaps this explains why strange signs like this appear across Quebec. This particular comes from one of the small towns located in the hills south of Levis.

Farm Country Warning

Warning sign for motorists
Warning sign for motorists

Le Petite Nation is farm country

Northeast of Ottawa travelers will be struck by the gently rolling hills and beautiful plowed fields. In this part of Quebec that borders Ontario, motorists are warned to watch out for farm machinery.

Bilingual Plumbing

In Canada bilingual signs are everywhere
In Canada bilingual signs are everywhere

Bilingualism Is Everywhere

This cleanout drain on a Riviere du Loup fire hydrant has instructions in both English and French, though it is very likely that the person, who loosens the metal cover knows what to do.

Bread & Apples

Roadside stand in Quebec
Roadside stand in Quebec

Subtle Meanings

In French, 'pain' refers to bread. It's my guess the painted word below the image is meant to be a loaf of bread. Not surprisingly, the apple or 'pome' needs no introduction.

Resto

In French-speaking Canada a resto is a nightclub or bar
In French-speaking Canada a resto is a nightclub or bar

The Resto

The resto is not so much place to sit down and relax, but rather a place to have a drink and socialize. Of course, this might also be a relaxing experience, depending on your company.

Urban Angels

Large signs like this add to the urban landscape
Large signs like this add to the urban landscape

White Dinosaur

This fabricated dinosaur can be found along the northern edge of the St. Lawrence
This fabricated dinosaur can be found along the northern edge of the St. Lawrence

Indian Head

The eyes of this oversized head watch over the St. Lawrence at Riviere du Loup
The eyes of this oversized head watch over the St. Lawrence at Riviere du Loup

Native Languages

Another type of bilingual sign in Thunder Bay, Ontario
Another type of bilingual sign in Thunder Bay, Ontario

What are Syllabics

This sign located on the Lakehead University campus in Thunder Bay, Ontario has its message printed in English and Ojibiwa syllabics. Based on phonetic sounds, these symbols are used by several First Nations as a written record of a complex language. In many parts of Canada visitors will encounter these symbols, which are understood by much of the native population.

The Buffalo In Manitoba

The Canadian province of Manitoba uses the buffalo as its official symbol on many road signs
The Canadian province of Manitoba uses the buffalo as its official symbol on many road signs

The Buffalo In Manitoba

The prairie province of Manitoba is proud to display images of the bison on their road signs, for this part of Canada was instrumental in saving the large land mammal. This land of vast grassland plains not only provided refuge to some of these grazing, herd animals, when they were close to extinction, but also was home to a few far-sighted ranchers who kept a small herd alive during these hard times.

Mileposts In Thunder Bay

Homemade signs
Homemade signs

Signs At a Hostel

The Thunder Bay International Youth Hostel attracts visitors from all over the world. To celebrate the international community that stops by, this stack of signposts sits in front of the hostel at the main entrance.

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