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Illuminated Toronto street signs

Yet Torontonians often don't notice these details. Do we even have a name for those distinctive street lights with the curved arms that shine white light? They're simple but elegant.

No kidding with all the Toronto street clutter, poles, transformers, wires, street news/mag boxes, billboards, etc. how can you.:confused:
 
The old illuminated signs were way better than the new Fisher Price ones.
 
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Actually, now I recall them being referred to as "acorn" lights, though they used look more like acorns back in the incandescent days before they were retrofitted with the rounder fixtures with metal halide bulbs. There are several versions of the cobra head, the most common of which in Toronto look somewhat cheap and inelegant with their extreme upward slope, bulky head, and grey arm. Among Modernist styles, I prefer the Gardiner's original cobra heads (though they'd probably look inappropriate in a non-expressway setting), the Financial District's black lights, and arc lights, though the latter are more common in Montreal and certain American cities where overhead wires are extensively buried.

Arc lights, as you describe them, refer to the light standard and not the light itself. I don't know the name of the type of standard used, though it's a curved one-piece or integral curved fixture, but I agree, I like the simplistic elegance of them. The "arc lights" on the Gardiner are similar to those on the Bloor/Humber Bridge, but holding up low-pressure sodium lighting tubes (give off a very orange glow, still common in Britain, but due to their orange glow problematic for city streets with overhanging traffic signals.

"Cobra heads" are the name given to modern, ubiquitous cobra-head shaped lights, usually high-pressure sodium lights (a beigy orange glow extremely common outside the old City of Toronto). They are more likely than not suspended from ubiquitous, boring two-piece standards, a curved arm affixed to a pole. Though in some 1990s areas, they are affixed to more elegant cantilever or arched fixures, such as on Queen's Quay and Bremner.

The Toronto style, once common in many Ontario towns and cities, has the "acorn" light head affixed to a two-piece curved bracket, and is my favourite. The light was originally a bright white "arc" bulb, but is now a metal-halide lamp which also burns white rahter than ugly off-orange from high pressure sodium.
 
The trouble with those illuminated street signs was that LED light bulbs were not available at the time. Incandescent bulbs were used. It also meant electrical connections had to be made and electricity used, the bulbs had to be replaced (if noticed), and were subject to weather (short circuits).

I wonder if any are still illuminated? I'll have to go tho Queen and Bay to check.
 
I wonder if any are still illuminated? I'll have to go tho Queen and Bay to check.

I'm pretty sure no. One of them, the "Bay Street 401" sign in the photos above, is actually a reflective panel which replaced the original translucaent sign.
 
I finally passed by and had my camera today. This illuminated sign is at Conservation Avenue and Highway 7. I always thought it was just a Toronto thing.

 
Yet Torontonians often don't notice these details. Do we even have a name for those distinctive street lights with the curved arms that shine white light? They're simple but elegant.

Some call them acorns, others call them gumballs. The white light given off by these metal halide lamps is quite nice compared to the halloween orange from HPS lamps.
 
I finally passed by and had my camera today. This illuminated sign is at Conservation Avenue and Highway 7. I always thought it was just a Toronto thing.


Wow where did that come from? Does it date back to the same time period as the signs in Toronto? The design and font look the same.
I've recently noticed several small towns in Ontario have the identical old white and black acorn street signs Toronto used. Perhaps other places just piggy backed off sign orders with Toronto to save money?
 
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The illuminated signs were installed on major thoroughfares as a Centennial project in the old City of Toronto, if I remember correctly. White on blue for east-west and white on yellow for north-south. I found them very visible from far off. Post-amalgamation, the new city decided not to support them. The lightbulbs were not replaced after around 2000, and the last bulbs I actually saw working were at Yonge & Aylmer around 2006. It became policy to remove them when the big white on blue signs were installed, I believe. The ones at Bay & Queen have obviously been kept as an historic throwback, on purpose. Another one that still exists is one that was specially printed for Honest Ed at Bloor and Bathurst. It says "Mirvish Village". Not sure if the twin to it still exists at Bloor and Markham. (He probably paid for them, hence their longevity.) Rotblott's, at Adelaide and Morrison, had quite a few on sale last time I was in there about five years ago.
 
If you want more information that you can probably cope with on lighting and MUCH more go to the Toronto Streertscape Manual. It has pictures of Cobras, Acorns etc etc. See: http://www.toronto.ca/planning/urbdesign/streetscape/index.htm

I am thankfull to all of senior members as you have share opinion about street signs. Because they plays vital role to right direction. I think it is important for every person especially who are stranger here. I have visit to this link, i am glad to read that there is vast info about toronto city. Thanks again DSC.
 
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I picked up one of these at the St. Lawrence antiques market this morning. I only wish I had come earlier, as the guy had already sold Yonge, Queen, and Church. He found them in a basement in Owen Sound.

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Wow where did that come from? Does it date back to the same time period as the signs in Toronto? The design and font look the same.
I've recently noticed several small towns in Ontario have the identical old white and black acorn street signs Toronto used. Perhaps other places just piggy backed off sign orders with Toronto to save money?

Can you remember any of the towns you have seen them in? I have been trying to track down someone that makes that type of street sign. I know Toronto made their own, but I've wondered where all of the other towns and cities got their from if they did not make them.
 
The illuminated signs were installed on major thoroughfares as a Centennial project in the old City of Toronto, if I remember correctly. White on blue for east-west and white on yellow for north-south. I found them very visible from far off. Post-amalgamation, the new city decided not to support them. The lightbulbs were not replaced after around 2000, and the last bulbs I actually saw working were at Yonge & Aylmer around 2006. It became policy to remove them when the big white on blue signs were installed, I believe. The ones at Bay & Queen have obviously been kept as an historic throwback, on purpose. Another one that still exists is one that was specially printed for Honest Ed at Bloor and Bathurst. It says "Mirvish Village". Not sure if the twin to it still exists at Bloor and Markham. (He probably paid for them, hence their longevity.) Rotblott's, at Adelaide and Morrison, had quite a few on sale last time I was in there about five years ago.

An electrical contractor for the city was to take them all down and dispose of them all. I wonder how Rotblott was able to get a hold of them to sell. Look at what is going on with the street signs now, whether to sell or not.
 
Ressurecting this to ask how many of these are still around? The one I spotted at Danforth and Logan 8 years ago is still there as of Google Street View dated September 2018. Are there any others, or is the last one, still hanging on for dear life.
 

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