Downtown Victoria street signs with bastion icon being replaced over time for legibility

Jasmine Bala/CHEK News

For nearly 40 years, the downtown Victoria street signs have looked the same: White, sentence-case letters on a black background with a picture of the bastion on the left side.

“They’re starting to fade and a little bit outdated, so we’re replacing a few of these street signs,” said Joaquin Karakas, senior urban designer at the city of Victoria.

The updated design on Johnson St. and Government St. has white, upper-case letters in a new font on a black background with sharp edges.

“That’s to maximize the functionality of the sign for people moving around downtown, so really to improve its legibility and make it easier to read,” he explained.

The most visible difference between the two signs is the removal of the bastion icon to make more space for the larger lettering.

“Some of the old signs had some icons on them which made the signs a little more difficult to see and the icons weren’t really that visible to motorists and pedestrians when viewing the signs,” Karakas said.

“The new signs don’t have these icons because we want those street signs to really focus on their role, to providing a real legible name so people know where they are in the city.”

It’s part of the city’s 2017 wayfinding strategy. The new signs are budgeted through Victoria’s yearly maintenance and replacement program that also takes care of other city furnishings like garbage bins and street light poles. This means the signs won’t all be changed at once, Karakas explained.

“They’ll be replaced based on need so when they’re really faded and really old,” he said.

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All of downtown Victoria’s different street signs will eventually be replaced — the signs featuring the bastion icon, the red Chinatown signs, and the blue street signs without icons.

The new signs in Chinatown, however, will remain red and keep their icons to preserve the area’s unique character, Karakas said, adding the icons on those signs are much clearer and legible than an image.

The rest of downtown Victoria’s street signs will be updated to the new upper case black and white signs.

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