A memorable neon image of a girl on a swing marked the location of Helen’s Children’s Wear on East Hastings Street near the Burnaby border for decades.
Considered too distracting for drivers, animated neon signs were severely restricted by the 1974 sign bylaw, but Helen’s was able to keep swinging as it was grandfathered in. When Helen’s closed in 2006, the sign was in danger of disappearing into a scrapheap.
The City of Burnaby considered the Helen’s sign a heritage landmark that contributed to the sense of place along the blur of East Hastings. The City purchased the sign from Sicon Signs, the successor of historic Wallace Neon. The City changed “Helen’s” to “Heights.”
Today, the swinging girl marks the transition to the Burnaby Heights Shopping District in the same idiosyncratic 1950s typeface as the original.