Archive for the ‘Numbers’ Category


August 8, 2012


Looks like there’s been a price adjustment here. I love how the yellow type calls so much attention to itself.

Over on the window to the right it says shishkabobs are $2.25. The restaurant is temporarily closed right now. Maybe they’ll revise that sign when they reopen.

I find the peculiar price endearing for some reason. And check out the eight: with its bigger loop at the top, it seems to be upside down. It’s a little twist in an already idiosyncratic sign.

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June 9, 2012


Usually I don’t find signage announcing new condos noteworthy, but this string of letters and numbers caught my eye.

Read the sign downwards and you see the word “NO”, which might be what neighbours opposed to gentrification are saying. Read it upwards and you get the name of the development.

I’ve written before about the way neon has a way of promising enjoyment. Here it’s combined with colour-saturated numbers and the word “Oz”, which could very well set off powerful cinematic associations.

Let’s hope the building lives up to the pizzazz.


May 24, 2012


I spotted this number on a gate post in front of a house. A brassy six is layered on top of a handmade predecessor.

I wonder why they didn’t paint the post before adding the new number. Maybe they didn’t want to be bothered.

Or who knows, maybe they discovered they liked the doubled up effect. Why settle for a solo number when you can create friction between two?

Then again, maybe it’s the home of a couple that argues a lot and it’s even reflected in the look of the front gate.

What do you think?

Ten to one…

January 5, 2012

Ten to one

Were you counting down to midnight as 2011 ended and 2012 began? And now that we’re a few days into the new year, are you thinking about how you’d like to live your life in the days and months ahead?

This clock on the side of a Toronto pub is permanently halted at a moment of enjoyment—Guinness Time. Do you think when we are most fully alive in the present, we are transcending the relentless ticking of clocks? At least temporarily?

I don’t have a definitive answer, but I can offer this: whatever transports you and enlivens you and makes you an all-round better human being, may you enjoy those things wholeheartedly in the year to come. Happy New Year!


November 16, 2011


This number two is well-situated in the window above the double doors. Here’s a perfect marriage of type and architecture.

The number looks a bit like a swan, swimming in a pond that she usually has all to herself. But every so often she has to share her territory with a pigeon.

I’m featuring this number now because Toronto Type recently passed the two year mark. If you’ve been following along for a while, thanks for your interest. And if you’ve recently discovered this blog, welcome aboard!

Slip-Form Constr. Ltd.

October 28, 2011

Slip-Form Constr. Ltd.

I discovered this embossing on the sidewalk while walking on Yonge Street one day. I often notice markings with dates underfoot, but I don’t recall seeing a fish before.

If you look carefully, you’ll see some faint characters inscribed in the concrete: “5-9-99” above the fish, and “9M” below. So the exact date is recorded here. I’m surprised they didn’t go as far as recording the hour.

This makes me think of the fossilized remains of animals that paleontologists study eons later. Perhaps someone in the distant future will be puzzling over these marks, trying to imagine our present world.

Syd Silver

January 30, 2011

Syd Silver

I used to walk past this sign and hope that it would be restored someday. All the rust and burnt out bulbs couldn’t detract from its aura of glamour and aspiration.

I took this picture back in the fall. If I recall correctly, the shop was already vacant at that point. Since then the sign has been removed and 500 Yonge is now behind scaffolding.

Perhaps Toronto needs a sign museum to commemorate influential businesses that disappear. Think of all the weddings and proms and parties that could be conjured up by the sight of this sign. Here’s to you, Syd Silver, for presiding over Yonge Street for decades and for all the moments you made more magical.

Judge Me

December 6, 2010

Judge Me

Here I like the contrast between the swirling, drippy lines and the small, severe capitals of “JUDGE ME.” I’m also curious: Why are those words on a doorway?

Perhaps a Tim Burton-style misfit lives here, someone helplessly different and puzzled by conformity. This sign could be a statement of fury and resistance, a middle finger raised to an endlessly judging world.

CITY 1960

November 20, 2010

CITY 1960

Have you ever noticed the dates embossed in squares of the sidewalk? They’re time stamps indicating when various sections were made. I like the fact that while striding into the future you’re also stepping on slabs of the past.

You’ll find this particular date on the first step leading to someone’s house. Anonymous workers crafted this stairway five decades ago. It must be satisfying to stomp on a chunk of history every time you’re coming home.


November 13, 2010


Sometimes not understanding is more pleasurable than understanding.

This string of letters and numbers is meaningless to a person walking by on the street; it’s the sort of visual noise we’re used to filtering out. But its lack of significance is exactly what makes it interesting to look at. It doesn’t offer any information we can act on, it just passively waits to be appreciated. Or not.