Welland Snaps – Sign language


CAPTION: The sign language here tries to put a positive spin on the demolition at a Welland industrial site where over the years thousands of Welland blue-collar workers earned their bread and butter for themselves and their families. At its peak it was Page-Hersey. (All photos by Joe Barkovich)

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler at large

Signs are everywhere these days. And sign language – well, it speaks for itself.

Or does it?


CAPTION: This signboard outside Cheers, a bar at the corner of East Main and Ross streets in Welland is well known for its witticisms. The language on this one highlights two of the bar’s best practices but also adds innuendo about the provincial election campaign now going on.

Sign language is a vocabulary of mixed messages. Some sign language is straightforward, but other messages can be mixed, vague, confusing or classic cases of double entendre.

I drove around Welland on the weekend checking out signs and the sign language they contain.

I stayed away from signs scarred with graffiti for the purposes of this essay on the basis that including them might be misconstrued as promoting graffiti art.

In retrospect, the experience unfolded as being more interesting as the day went on – which was a good sign in itself, I’d say.


CAPTION: This sign provides a cautionary warning but the sign language is also a double entendre. Have you seen a “flasher” stop in this area, Prince Charles Drive near the top of First Avenue, and do his or her thing?

Some signs go ignored by passersby, some get double takes and deservedly so. They are worth a second look.

This short story is meant to accompany this photo essay about signs and sign language, with some annotations provided where I deemed it necessary. That said, this is where I “sign off “.


CAPTION: This sign’s language is about signs.


CAPTION: The language here, on a storefront on King Street, can be seen as a mixed message.


CAPTION: There’s a lesson in local history in the language on this sign, at the Niagara College campus at the back of  the Simcoe building.


CAPTION: A  sign with a message that rocks.


CAPTION: This sign’s language speaks for itself. The message to drivers: be vigilant!


CAPTION: Finally, this sign defies explanation. There are several around town, this one was photographed on Northcote Drive near Edgar Street. What is the message?

(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose CityWELLAND SNAPS  is a photo feature appearing Mondays on the blog.)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.