Toronto Hydro Electric System

Toronto Hydro Electric System

It’s easy to miss this sign on an overcast day: the letters blend into their stone backdrop. But on a sunny day the sign comes alive, the cast shadows elongating and tilting with the time of day. It’s an unexpected sundial.

I love the way the oxidation stains on the wall interact with the shapes of the shadows, creating an almost phosphorescent effect. And also the way you can ignore the metal letters completely and just read the temporary design they’ve made. Beautiful.


2 Responses to “Toronto Hydro Electric System”

  1. Zac Kenny Says:

    Nice shot of a Toronto classic. I always appreciated the fact that this still exists despite, as you point out, its’ occasional failings as a sign.

  2. torontotype Says:

    Hi Zac,

    Yes, it’s great that this one is still around. It has a mid-century feeling… I wonder what the exact date of it is.

    Maybe this is over-interpreting, but I think the elegance and restraint of the lettering say something about the civic realm of that era. It would be interesting to take this and related signs of that period and compare them with ones on more recent city buildings. What would we learn about ourselves as Torontonians?

    Hmmm, maybe an intrepid grad student already has a study underway.


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