all the main streets, on one long sign.
February 1, 2008 2:14 PM   Subscribe

where can i find a rolling sign from the top of a toronto transit streetcar? i'm talking about the changeable, white-text-on-black-background signs that indicate the route. better description and photo inside.

i love signs like this. in a condo ad a while back, i saw a similar sign from a TTC streetcar- it had all the main routes (spadina, roncesvalles, king, queen, college, etc) on it. it was a lot bigger than the san francisco bus sign in the linked photo- like 8 feet long by 2 feet wide. anyone know where i can find one- or even what they're properly called?
(typography side-question- i don't know the word for the way the font is laid out on the TTC streetcar sign, but if i did, it might help me find one. what's it called when each font is scaled so all the words in a column are the same width but different heights, like in the top left corner of this book?)
posted by twistofrhyme to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know, but MeFi's own Joe Clark probably does. (Previously)
posted by maudlin at 2:25 PM on February 1, 2008

Looks like they're commonly referred to as "destination signs" or "roll signs." Googling either will give you info on various signage for different cities, but I'm not sure where you could get your hands on one.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:26 PM on February 1, 2008

Try calling the transit department and ask 'em if they could save one for your the next time they retire a streetcar.
posted by hobbes at 2:48 PM on February 1, 2008

You could ask the guys at the Halton County Radial Railway. They have tons of old TTC cars and various parts (and ads) from them. If they don't have some extra signs, they would surely know where to find them. I visited there in October and got to ride some of the old streetcars (back to the 1890s!), and some of the guys running the tours were retired TTC drivers.
posted by heatherann at 5:29 PM on February 1, 2008

Hobbes: Good thought, but let me assure you that the TTC isn't going to retire any streetcars any time soon! The new ones aren't supposed to be here for a very long time (and the current ones are from the 70s)?

But -- twistofrhyme -- if you do get your hands on any roll signs (especially from the Queen or King cars), please let me know as I would love to have one. If you could get your hands on just the design (or a good image), I'm sure that reproductions would sell very, very, very well.

I'll second heatherann's suggestion on the HCRR, whose streetcar museum is just wonderful. Perhaps they might be interested in marketing roll sign 'art' as a fundraiser of some kind?

Also, for expertise on all matters streetcar in Toronto, I'd offer up Steve Munro as an expert (to compliment Joe Clark's typographical & signage wisdom).
posted by onshi at 10:01 AM on February 2, 2008

Response by poster: thanks for the tips, all!

heatherann, great advice! i emailed them. thanks!

onshi, the sign i saw was about 8 feet long and had the name of every streetcar route on it. it was so great- like a strip map of toronto.

if i find anything, i'll post.
posted by twistofrhyme at 10:44 PM on February 3, 2008

Another term for them is linens. I apocalyptically blew a chance to secure one from a bus when they went electronic many years ago. I second the motions proposed by other members here. But I’m not sure there is a single linen for all streetcar lines, especially as they have changed over the years.
posted by joeclark at 2:38 PM on February 9, 2008

Good fuckin' luck. I've been looking for a cheap way to get one of these for 3 years. I know people who clean subways and streetcars for a living as well as numerous drivers. I've even spoken to the
Chair of the TTC about it.

The only place I've ever seen one for sale was at Commute Home on Queen West. However, they wanted $600, which was more than I wanted to pay. It was about 13ft long and was for the King line.
posted by dobbs at 9:08 AM on March 1, 2008
posted by dobbs at 9:09 AM on March 1, 2008

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