Early commercial growth in Vancouver happened in step with the BC Electric Company’s development of streetcar lines across the city.
Initially, streetcar stops were far apart in a sparsely populated Vancouver. As more people moved into new homes along the streetcar lines, so did local businesses and their accompanying neon signs.
When you look at the City of Vancouver, Fraser, Main, Dunbar—all of those commercial strips—are old streetcar routes. As commercial activity picks up, they’re trying to advertise. And as soon as new technology picks up, first for light bulb signs and then neon, that’s what’s going to attract people and that’s what they’re investing in."
— John Atkin, civic historian
Vancouver neighbourhoods including Cambie Village, Kerrisdale, and East Vancouver were soon adorned with neon signs. So, too, were the surrounding municipalities and transit hubs of New Westminster, Burnaby, and North Vancouver.