The combination BowMac and Toys "R" Us sign on West Broadway is both treasured and reviled by Vancouver residents. The sign’s current incarnation is a result of many compromises.
Owners of the Bowell McLean (BowMac) car dealership erected the 10-storey sign above their business in 1958. The orange sign was covered with hundreds of bulbs and neon lights. It was recognized as North America's largest freestanding sign, and was visible from 18 miles away.
When Toys "R" Us purchased the BowMac property in the 1990s, they planned to demolish the sign. Heritage advocates protested that the Bow Mac sign was Vancouver’s largest, most visible, and most central neon sign.
The sign was designated a heritage landmark in 1997. It was retained, gently lit, and partially covered by a perforated metal sign with Toys "R" Us spelled in rainbow-coloured back-lit plastic letters.