The Only Seafood
The Only opened in 1923 and was a beloved seafood lunch spot for decades. Plans are now afoot to re-open the Only as a social enterprise.
Save on Meats
Noted Gastown restaurateur Mark Brand re-opened Save on Meats in 2011. He restored a neon sign that has been a Hastings Street fixture since 1957.
The Woodward's "W" has been a downtown neon landmark for decades. The new "W," installed in 2010, is lit with energy-efficient LED lights.
Dunn's Tailors
The iconic art deco neon sign for Dunn's Tailors is a precious piece of tradition that owner Robert Smith vows never to change in his lifetime.
Movieland Arcade
Movieland Arcade
Movieland Arcade has been a youth magnet on Granville Street since the 1960s. Its distinctive, carnival-esque neon sign was installed in the 1970s.
Orpheum Theatre
Orpheum Theatre
The Orpheum Theatre opened in 1927. Today, the former vaudeville-turned-movie theatre is home to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
The Yale Hotel
The Yale Hotel
The Yale Hotel opened in 1889 to house CPR workers. In 1987, Waide Luciak established the downstairs pub as Vancouver's go-to spot for live blues.
Great White Way
The white light installation that lines 10 blocks of Granville was designed to complement existing ambient light on the street.

Neon Stories

The social rhythm of a city is felt most strongly on its sidewalks and streets. For decades in Vancouver, city life bustled beneath a colourful canopy of neon signs.

The streets glowed with neon for years, but the signs gradually disappeared as a result of changing public attitudes toward the bright lights. Today, neon is returning to the streets, a nod to our history as we map out our future.

The Visible City is a virtual exhibition and mobile tour that tracks the rise, fall, and revival of neon in Vancouver, shining a light on people whose lives played out under the neon signs. Their stories create a textured social history of Vancouver, illuminated by neon.The Museum and Gambling Life of Vancouverites


Preview image of The Visible City mobile application, displayed on three mobile devices
Mobile Tour
Explore Vancouver's neon
neighbourhoods with our
walking tour app.
Avaliable On The App Store
Avaliable On Google Play

Featured Neighbourhoods

Featured Signs