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Vancouver shop helps revitalize ‘iconic’ vintage neon signs for new downtown display

Click to play video: 'This Is BC: Vancouver’s historic neon signs being refurbished for new exhibit' This Is BC: Vancouver’s historic neon signs being refurbished for new exhibit
A Vancouver man is refurbishing the signs that made our city famous. And soon they will be at the Amazon building in downtown on display. Jay Durant has more on This Is BC – Jun 28, 2022

Vancouver’s Concept Neon has been swamped with orders from the TV and film industry, but it’s still chipping away at a pleasure project — the restoration of vintage neon signs.

The neon service provider has revived close to a dozen heritage pieces from the height of Vancouver’s neon sign glory. Many of the relics were collecting dust in the Museum of Vancouver’s storage rooms.

“It’s kind of our favourite thing to work on simply because we’re kind of saving neon signs that otherwise wind up in the landfill,” Concept Neon manager Cameron Clow told Global News.

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The revitalized signs will be installed later this year at the old Canada Post location in downtown Vancouver, rebranded as ‘The Post.’ They will form part of a new public display on the ground floor of the QuadReal Development, which will soon house Amazon and others in its office spaces.

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“I can’t wait to see a lot of the light shine into the streets because there will be huge windows that you can see the signs through,” said Lorenzo Schober, manager of marketing and communications at the Museum of Vancouver, in an interview.

Some of the signs haven’t been seen for decades, he said, like the dragon’s head from the Dragon Inn on Kingsway in Burnaby, and the sign for the bygone Aristocratic Restaurant once in South Granville.

“People growing up in Vancouver know what that restaurant meant in that area,” he said. “It’s just iconic.”

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The partnership project means that after 10 years, the neon exhibit at the Museum of Vancouver will close for good June 29. Some of the signs will go up in the new display, along with several others that Concept Neon has brought back to life.

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“The heritage signs tend to be exciting, creative and fun, and it feels great to keep them alive,” said Clow.

“It’s so exciting, I can’t wait to see it,” added Concept Neon apprentice Holiday Easterbrook.

“I’m going to take my mom, my grandma — we’ll all go down there and it will be so wonderful to say I worked on that piece.”

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