Left for the Laundromat – BC’s Unusual Highway Signs

Wherever you travel in BC, you’ll find signs to help you get from point A to B, to direct you along roadways and to warn you. We’ve got all kinds of signs for posting along roadways – some to fit unique circumstances – others that you’ll rarely see beyond BC’s borders. You can see them all in our 244-page Manual of Standard Traffic Signs & Pavement Markings and Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or Sign Catalogue

Rarely Sighted/Sited

Chances are high you haven’t seen a highway sign for laundry services or a dollmaker. But in the case of the laundromat and welder signs pictured here, we have them for businesses located along highways, where those services are rare and far between. The sign for dollmaker is among our Tourist Services, Facilities and Attractions signs collection, the more typical of which would be potter or artist.

Especially Suited to BC

BC’s coastline, mountainous terrain and wide variety of wildlife mean we have signs here, you won’t find in some other parts of Canada. (Don’t look for a whale watching sign in Alberta!) Chances are you won’t see signs that warn of mountain goats, advise of a runaway lane for trucks that have failing brakes while travelling down steep hills, or tell motorists not to stop in avalanche areas, in flat Saskatchewan.

Mountain GoatRunawaywhale watching


Signs of the Times

Our signs have changed over the time, to reflect the thinking behind them. For example the ministry’s 1955 Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, purposely misaligns the letters for “bump” to express the jostled feeling of riding over uneven terrain. The sign on the right is the current way to warn of rough road or a bump.

BUMP 1955Bump


Symbols have become the preferred way to communicate a message, rather than words. The sign on the right is far more likely to be understood by travellers who communicate in a language other than English. Which do you think more effectively warns of areas frequently visited by leaping four-legged creatures?

Watch for Deer on Road 1955




What’s the most unusual sign you’ve seen on a B.C. highway?  Let us know below.

If signs intrigue you, check out our other blogs on the topic:

Emergency Signs on BC Highways and What they Mean

Chaos vs. Consistency: Reasons Behind BC’s Sign Rules

7 Types of Traffic Signs on BC Highways

A Look Back at the BC Provincial Sign Shop


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Page 1 of 29 comments on “Left for the Laundromat – BC’s Unusual Highway Signs”

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  1. Would it be possible to also get a copy of the 1955 Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices? I too find it interesting too see what signs used to read before symbols were introduced.

  2. Very fascinating to see the old signs. Would it be possible to send me a copy of the 1955 Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices? I would love to take a look at it! Thank you.

  3. It’s always interesting to see how the signage system has changed through the years. I was wondering if you could possibly send me a copy of the 1955 manual to my email address. That would be awesome.

  4. Hi. I’m a long time fan of mountain goats. I’ve searched the internet high and low for the mountain goat sign like the one on this page after seeing it at a construction zone in Yoho National Park. Do you know where I can purchase one (to be shipped to, ironically enough, flat-as-a-board Delaware) or where I can find a high resolution version of the silhouette so I can have one custom made? Thanks!

  5. “Don’t look for a whale watching sign in Manitoba!”

    Perhaps they don’t have signs, but it’s worth mentioning that Manitoba does have whales and whale watching tours out of Churchill.

  6. Hi Folks — Just finished a run on 97 + 16 and glimpsed a sign I’d never seen before — black box inside a green circle. At first, I thought it meant some serious ski runs ahead, but later figured it might sign an approved route for moving dangerous materials. Correct?

    • Hi Kate –

      You are correct. The black diamond within a green circle means dangerous hazardous goods are permitted to be transported on that particular route and roadway. The same diamond surrounded by a red circle and bar across it means just the opposite. Thanks for the comment and if you have any other questions about signs on BC highways, or anything else transportation in BC – let us know.