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Author Topic: Blue Canadian school signs  (Read 595 times)

Andrew T.

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Blue Canadian school signs
« on: November 03, 2019, 12:20:26 PM »

Canada's history is peppered with interesting road-sign standards that deviate from their stateside counterparts.  Some of the best examples are the blue signs that were formerly used to denote school crossings and school zones.

After two years of living in Ontario, I've come across exactly two of these:



This one is north of Sault Ste. Marie, not far off the 17.  Strangely the sign has the notation "Town of Oakville/Owl-Lite 2001" in the margin, which means it's posted 700 kilometres away from the place that made it!



Meanwhile, a specimen of the rectangular "school crossing" variation turned up at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.



Blue signs have been around for quite a while: These scans hail from a copy of the Ontario Motor League Road Book I tracked down from 1956.  (This also means that Canada had schoolhouse-shaped pentagonal signs and graphical school crossing signs 15 years before the US!)

But how rare are blue signs on the roads today?  I've seen none in southern Ontario.

Moreover, when did the standard change from blue to blah yellow-green?
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Stephane Dumas

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Re: Blue Canadian school signs
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2019, 06:29:53 PM »

Briefly before the blah yellow-green, they was simply yellow they beginned to use in the mid-1990s. 

Btw, I spotted this website who collected some old photos of school sign zones. http://www.elve.net/rkidcnd.htm

Edit: An oddity about Quebec traffic signals from an Esso Imperial road map of 1957 (which my sister dumped it during a Spring cleaning :-( ). The pedestrian, school zone and railroad crossing are set with an European design!!  Sorry if I scanned it vertically. ^^;
« Last Edit: November 03, 2019, 06:34:40 PM by Stephane Dumas »
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jakeroot

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Re: Blue Canadian school signs
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2019, 02:53:34 AM »

I have never seen a blue school pentagon in British Columbia. In fact, I've never seen one with my own two eyes in any part of Canada (only street-view). If they were ever common, they certainly aren't now.

There's quite a few regular yellow school pentagons in BC, which are now being superseded by the fluorescent yellow-green pentagons. If blue were ever common over here, it hasn't been for a while.
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cbeach40

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Re: Blue Canadian school signs
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2019, 10:09:59 AM »

TAC approved the fluorescent yellow-green in 2000, the provinces began to adopt them as standard in the following years.
In terms of rarity, the old ones are pretty well gone now in Ontario, road authorities rather aggressively replaced them in the 2000s.
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Andrew T.

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Re: Blue Canadian school signs
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2019, 11:23:05 AM »

Thanks for the replies!

I'm still a bit confused by the chronology of colours, though. Was there a period in the 1990s where non-fluorescent yellow and blue were both considered "current," and the choice of which colour to use was left to local or provincial prerogative until fluorescent yellow-green displaced both?  If so, that might explain the dearth of blue in BC.

The "Traffic Signs" panel on the official 1986 Ontario road map shows the blue sign only.

Btw, I spotted this website who collected some old photos of school sign zones. http://www.elve.net/rkidcnd.htm
That site was around in the late 1990s!!  I had forgotten all about it!  It makes my day to know that it's still online after all these years.

Edit: An oddity about Quebec traffic signals from an Esso Imperial road map of 1957 (which my sister dumped it during a Spring cleaning :-( ). The pedestrian, school zone and railroad crossing are set with an European design!!
Wow, I wonder what the story behind this was?  Did Quebec actually adopt European warning sign designs in the 1950s, or was this the artifact of a limited test like this one?
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 11:37:37 AM by Andrew T. »
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jakeroot

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Re: Blue Canadian school signs
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2019, 03:16:44 PM »

Btw, I spotted this website who collected some old photos of school sign zones. http://www.elve.net/rkidcnd.htm
That site was around in the late 1990s!!  I had forgotten all about it!  It makes my day to know that it's still online after all these years.

I'm glad you quoted that link, because I missed it the first time around. I had no idea that there was so much variation in school-related signage across the country.

I'm still a bit confused by the chronology of colours, though. Was there a period in the 1990s where non-fluorescent yellow and blue were both considered "current," and the choice of which colour to use was left to local or provincial prerogative until fluorescent yellow-green displaced both?  If so, that might explain the dearth of blue in BC.

Great question. There are quite a few older signs dating from the 1990s or earlier in and around the Vancouver area, so my suspicion is that blue had been out of fashion by then (even if it was accepted). But with the aggressive replacement of the blue signs (mentioned above), any that might have "slipped through" have probably been long replaced.

On that website above, one of the images is from Victoria, so clearly blue pentagons were common over here at one point. Though I suspect that image is of a sign that was quite old by then, as it's directly next to what appears to be an FYG pentagon. As I mentioned before, the FYG pentagons (in BC) seem to have largely superseded yellow pentagons, although some apparently replaced blue pentagons!
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bcroadguy

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Re: Blue Canadian school signs
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2019, 02:07:42 AM »

Looks like blue was current in B.C. until 2000:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/driving-and-transportation/transportation-infrastructure/engineering-standards-and-guidelines/traffic-engineering-and-safety/traffic-engineering/traffic-signs-and-pavement-markings/manual_signs_pavement_marking.pdf (pg 142)

Page 142 shows a blue sign but says "this sign will be converted to black on fluorescent yellow-green
colours to conform to the M.U.T.C.D. for Canada"

I only know of one set of blue signs and they're on a native reserve that appears to maintain its own roads, so that's probably why they're still around: https://www.google.com/maps/@49.1523935,-123.9296075,3a,48.9y,193.95h,87.3t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s3wz0HRekbSyFk91_xepweA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Also I guess this sort of counts:
https://www.google.com/maps/@49.2116528,-122.9294949,3a,19.2y,163.09h,92.26t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1saBHfDv8fpJHkmzTWGxBiYQ!2e0!5s20090401T000000!7i13312!8i6656

Also I recently found one of the old playground zone signs that was in the link posted by Stephane Dumas in Osoyoos:
https://www.google.com/maps/@49.0634186,-119.5092658,3a,26.3y,175.85h,73.91t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sBLvMYRAznfMBYHBHjbqGvA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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Stephane Dumas

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Re: Blue Canadian school signs
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2019, 07:48:51 AM »


Wow, I wonder what the story behind this was?  Did Quebec actually adopt European warning sign designs in the 1950s, or was this the artifact of a limited test like this one?

I think if was only an artifact of a limited test.
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jakeroot

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Re: Blue Canadian school signs
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2019, 02:51:53 PM »

Looks like blue was current in B.C. until 2000:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/driving-and-transportation/transportation-infrastructure/engineering-standards-and-guidelines/traffic-engineering-and-safety/traffic-engineering/traffic-signs-and-pavement-markings/manual_signs_pavement_marking.pdf (pg 142)

Page 142 shows a blue sign but says "this sign will be converted to black on fluorescent yellow-green
colours to conform to the M.U.T.C.D. for Canada"

Don't ask me why it didn't occur to me, to check that document before now. I've only read through it half a million times. BC must have replaced their blue signs quite aggressively.

What confuses me, is why I seem to recall seeing yellow pentagons dotted around (far, far fewer than the current pentagons). If, according to that document, blue signs were directly replaced by fluorescent yellow-green (FYG) pentagons, where did those very few yellow pentagons come from? Almost certainly they were installed in the 90s, prior to the arrival of the FYG signs. Then again, I could be totally misremembering those yellow pentagons, and the blue pentagons were in fact directly replaced by FYG pentagons, and my memory is faulty (possibly could be confusing the other children-related signage which continues to be black-on-yellow).

Also I guess this sort of counts:
https://www.google.com/maps/@49.2116528,-122.9294949,3a,19.2y,163.09h,92.26t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1saBHfDv8fpJHkmzTWGxBiYQ!2e0!5s20090401T000000!7i13312!8i6656

Damn, that's in New West! I can't believe I've never noticed that sign. Great find.
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Andrew T.

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Re: Blue Canadian school signs
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2019, 11:30:52 PM »

Great, great links!  I wonder if any blue signs with the older, more-detailed graphic still exist?  One of the pair in Newfoundland and Labrador was still there in 2013, but gone by 2018.

Also I recently found one of the old playground zone signs that was in the link posted by Stephane Dumas in Osoyoos:
https://www.google.com/maps/@49.0634186,-119.5092658,3a,26.3y,175.85h,73.91t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sBLvMYRAznfMBYHBHjbqGvA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

That just might be the most unfortunately-placed electrical conduit in existence!  Was it installed after the sign went up on the pole?
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bcroadguy

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Re: Blue Canadian school signs
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2019, 06:04:09 PM »

Then again, I could be totally misremembering those yellow pentagons, and the blue pentagons were in fact directly replaced by FYG pentagons, and my memory is faulty (possibly could be confusing the other children-related signage which continues to be black-on-yellow).

"School crossing ahead" signs maybe? The same PDF shows that sign in yellow but mentions it will be converted to FYG later. I'm pretty sure I've seen a few of those signs in yellow before but I can't think of any examples.

Great, great links!  I wonder if any blue signs with the older, more-detailed graphic still exist?  One of the pair in Newfoundland and Labrador was still there in 2013, but gone by 2018.

I'm not sure about the rest of Canada, but after seeing this I spent way too much time on Streetview looking at small towns in BC and couldn't even find any normal blue ones :(. There's lots of school zone signs with really ancient looking "30 km/h" tabs but the pentagon is always shiny FYG (even if you look at 2007 or 2009 Streetview), so I guess blue signs were replaced really aggressively. I did find another old playground zone sign though and quite a few old "Pedestrian X", "School X", and "Playground X" signs. I had no idea "School X" and "Playground X" signs were even a thing, so those were kinda cool to find. I also found a cool old signal where the bottom part of the pedestrian signal still says "WALK" (the top was converted to LED), which is the closest thing to a worded pedestrian signal I've ever seen here. There's also a "School X" sign attached to it.
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