Now that the Cecil is demolished, here are the best vintage signs in Calgary

Dec 19 2017, 2:51 am

Say what you will about the Cecil Hotel and its reputation, the century-old building itself was a piece of Calgary’s architectural heritage. After decades of disrepair, it needed to be demolished, especially after being ravaged by the 2013 flood. A piece of it, however, will live on – eventually.

Before the Cecil Hotel was torn down, its neon sign was carefully removed and sent for refurbishment, storage, and eventually part of the East Village redevelopment as an art piece.

Cecil Hotel in Calgary

Image: Cody James / Flickr

Classic neon signs are a wonderful part of history that needs to be cherished and saved. Las Vegas has a great boneyard of old signs. So does Vancouver, and Edmonton. What about Calgary? You’ll find some vintage signs in the Glenbow Museum and at Gasonline Alley in Heritage Park.

Despite the Cecil sign coming down, there are still about a dozen gorgeous, classic, and neon signs dotting the city’s skyline. Here are some of the best vintage signs in Calgary that are still up.

King Edward Hotel

While the hotel was removed to make way for the National Music Centre, the façade and sign were saved. Once the NMC was sufficiently built, the King Eddy sign was reinstalled in 2015.

King Eddy sign at the National Music Centre

Image via NMC


The best new restaurant in Canada took a vintage Calgary restaurant sign and slapped their own neon name on top of it.

Sweet Home Bakery

For more than 50 years this sign has stood above the Bowness bake shop known for homemade bread and other daily delights.

223/365 - Sweet Home Bake Shop

Tigerstedt Block

This commercial block on Centre St North used to be home to Tigerstedt Photo Studios. It’s been a rumoured target for redevelopment for years, but the 1930s art deco sign remains.

Tigerstedt Block - Calgary

Image via Malcolm / Flickr

Pop’s Dairy Bar

This Ramsey neighborhood ice cream shop dates back to the late 1930s. That awesome sign was installed in 1957 and still shines in the summer nights.

Pop's Dairy Bar
Image via Twitter

4 Seas Restaurant

The sign on 17th Avenue SE is still there, but the restaurant is not. Instead of 4 Seas, you’ll find Blue Diamond in the old spot.

via Google Street View

Image via Google Street View

Paradise Lanes

Old school five pin bowling alley on 17th Ave SE with the perfect sign to match.

Paradise Lanes

St. Louis Hotel

Built in 1914, this hotel originally shared the space with a bar, café, barbershop and cigar stand. Calgary City Council designated the building a Municipal Historic Resource in February 2008 and it is currently being prepared as a new venue for commercial and office tenants.

St Louis Hotel Calgary

Image via Ricky Leong / Flickr

My Favorite Ice Cream Shoppe

When shoppe is spelled with two Ps and an E, you know you’re dealing with vintage. This Marda Loop favourite still has the original weathered sign on the corner of 42nd Avenue and 20th Street SW.

My Favorite Ice Cream Shoppe

via Google Street View

Superior Autobody

Calgary’s oldest collision company opened in 1939. By 1946, they needed more space and moved to 17th Ave just west of Mcleod. Economy Glass is now in that original Superior spot and both businesses are still run by the Viner family 70+ years later.

Superior Autobody Sign

Peters’ Drive-In

The ownership may have changed, they may have gotten Interac to pay for your shakes and burgers, but that vintage blue and white lettering is as classic as it was when it went up in 1964.

Peters Drive In

Image via Buzz Bishop

Aboe Lockworks

This neon sign on Centre Street N first went up in 1983 and has been a glowing key to the city ever since.


Mcleod Trail Autobody

Didn’t matter that this shop is on Macleod Trail, they still went with the Mc.

via Jerry Bowley on Flickr

via Jerry Bowley on Flickr

Vagabond Trailer Court

The Cecil Hotel joins this classic sign in storage. In 2010, this 17th Avenue SE sign was taken down as the trailer court was developed into a mall. The sign has yet to reappear.

via UCalgary

Image via UCalgary

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