Official music page and soapbox of Matt Snell

Saturday 5 May 2012

Signs and Symbols of Peterborough

The Internet is full of bizarre and hilarious signage from around the world, so I never much bothered to look for it when I actually went outside. Walking around in the warmer weather, though, has opened my eyes to some of the subtle eccentricities of Peterborough's signmakers. I present to you the things I found while I wasn't updating the blog last week:

You might have to squint a little, since that's as big as I can make it. The sign on the left says: "Coming Soon: The Scottish Shop." Now you know where to go when you need a tin flute and a meat pie. Unfortunately I assume this means that Lunch is gone, which had the best reuben in town. I guess there's a bigger market for sporrans than sandwiches.

I took this one near Jackson Park. I'm not sure a broken Mitsubishi is the ideal medium if you're trying to contact the earth, but I appreciate the sentiment. A few paces on, I found a much more horrifying message:

This threat is even more disturbing being so near a lean-to, a corner of which you can see in the "Speak 2 the Earth" photo. Though I hope it was made by a bored teenagers and not a woodland stalker, I doubt they will grow up to be model citizens. The paint has already faded, and I hope this will vanish mercifully in the next good rain.

The next bit of graffitti is more intriguing:

This one is a puzzle. What kind of person is acute enough to understand the concept of dishonour, but too sloppy to spell it right? The accusation was made directly in front of the minister's parking space, so I assume it was meant for him. Who did this minister dishoner? Does someone know he broke a vow to God, did he abuse his station? Or did some confused war vet or metalhead spraypaint this in error? There may be less to the real story than the one I've concocted in my head but I can't quite shake it.

This isn't really a sign, I just wanted you to know I'd seen some dilapidated teddy bears recently.

Peterburgers, the next couple of signs may be familiar since they're from the main drag, but if you haven't found 'em yet here's your homework:

The above is from the window of a rundown discount store on George St. There is also a For Lease sign posted beside it, and I believe the above may have had something to do with scaring away business. It couldn't be the merchandise: this is the place to go for movie tie-in party favours from decades past. I bought some shrinkies here last winter, and I noticed an aisle dedicated to Godzilla napkins and Incredible Hulk party hats, snack food that has quite possibly expired, cleaning products, several empty aisles, and unless I dreamed the last bit, a freestanding upright piano. It had a quality you don't find in most retail chains.

Photo by Peter Vance
I'm in this one for a bit of human interest, but the real attraction here is the mysterious eye someone has painted on the side of the culvert. I never noticed it until I passed by the day after a major rainstorm, and the culvert was transformed into a great barfing sea monster. The joke requires perfect timing to get the full effect, and afterward lies dormant for months on end, so kudos to the artist who figured it out.

That concludes the tour for this week, but I'll keep an eye out for more. Speaking of Peterborough tours, every time I promise my guide to greasy breakfast is almost finished someone tells me about one more diner in a hidden niche. I eat eggs doggedly every weekend, so I remain confident "A Comprehensive Guide to Greasy Breakfast in Peterborough" will be published in May.


  1. Thanks! Got a kick out of these.

    And as always, I'm rooting for the hobo.

    The dilapidated teddy bears remind me of the best thing I've ever seen ever--a battered cymbal-playing monkey with parts of his skin and costume worn away and exposing wires and one eye almost falling off. I saw it in an antique store and thought I'd found something to haunt my future children, but the place was selling it for over 40 bucks! Needless to say, that place went out of business.

    1. Wow! I think there's a Steven King story called "The Monkey" that features that very monkey you're describing. The guy tosses it down the well over and over again but it keeps coming back to haunt his children. Maybe those price gougers helped you dodge a bullet.

      I took that photo at a very similar place. They've got this amazing half-rotten taxidermy sculpture of a jackal tearing apart an antelope, but it's in a glass case and they seem to think it's worth real money.

  2. Hi Matt:

    I read the full guide to BG Breakfast and now I have a strong desire to make you a bucket of Hollandaise sauce to make up for the stingy place. I also listened to "Untitled" which I loved. I somehow couldn't face your grandmother's mandolin version of "Who's rustlin' in my woods". Too fraught. That's a word I've been using a lot lately. Hope all is going well in B.C.