neon museum toronto

Toronto could get a neon sign museum

Back in the 1970s, neon signs lit up Yonge Street and a slew of businesses announced themselves with colourful marquees. But as these signs slowly go dark and get dismantled, the Downtown Yonge BIA is now thinking about how to preserve them.

This business improvement association wants to create an outdoor neon sign museum in O'Keefe Lane, which runs adjacent to Ryerson between Gerrard and Gould, reports Metro today.

neon toronto

As Metro notes, the Downtown Yonge BIA has already started collecting signs. It's also talking to the Markle Brothers, who designed many of Yonge Street's old signs, to rebuild some of the ones we've lost over the years. The BIA is also looking for partners on this project.

Toronto's neon signs aren't just fun to look at. They can also help teach us about our city. And we're not the only place serious about neon. Las Vegas, unsurprisingly, already has a neon museum and it's, according to its website, "dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment."

It's one of the city's most intriguing tourist attractions, and a sign (ahem) that there's real appetite for this type of preservation.

Local photographer Tanja-Tiziana is arguably one of the most accomplished documenters of neon signs in Canada and the United States. Her just released Buzzing Lights book showcases some of the best examples of the genre from Toronto to Los Angeles and cities in between.

Do you think Toronto needs a neon museum? Let us know in the comments.

Photos by @ThetaState and via the Toronto Archives.


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