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Welcome to the personal website of Andrew Turnbull. This outpost features tons of stupefying and trivial things pertaining to various and diverse interests of mine. Chances are, if there's something I know about or like that doesn't much other representation on the 'net...there's a bit of it here.

The front page updates every Monday. And it is just a static page.

15 January 2018

[Pick a side road sign]

I feel as if I'm being pulled to multiple paths at once...

8 January 2018

[Ontario 1956 road signs] [Ontario 1956 road signs]

These road sign images appeared in the 1956-57 edition of the Ontario Motor League Road Book. Some interesting take-aways from this...

  • Both red stop signs and yield signs would have been new concepts in 1956. That may have been why they were emphasized here.
  • The pictured styles of "No Parking" and parking regulation signs have long been replaced in Canada, but still remain current in the U.S., where they're essentially living fossils.
  • The legend on speed-limit signs was changed from the American-style "Speed Limit" to the conveniently bilingual "Maximum" at some point post-1956, but pre-metricization.
  • I'm a little surprised that destination signs in Ontario had already adopted their current white-on-green colour scheme in 1956. In the U.S., most signs of this sort remained black-on-white until the 1970s.

Back in 2010, I did extensive research into historical U.S. road sign regulations and created the Field Guide to American Traffic Signs. Canadian traffic signs have long been broadly similar to their stateside equivalents, but they're more graphical, metricated, and contain a few unique designs. As we can see here, this streak of uniqueness extends into the past, too...

  • Blue school-zone and school-crossing signs were never used in the U.S., and the "home plate" shape that Ontario used in 1956 wasn't adopted in the American MUTCD until 1971. (Blue pentagonal school-crossing signs are also used in Japan, so I wonder who influenced who?)
  • Holy smoke, Canadian crossbuck signs were once yellow? (Or was this a printing error?)
  • The "Speed 20 Limit Over Tracks" sign is a truly unusual design that I've not seen anywhere before. Was this a variation on the circular Railroad Crossing advance warning sign (also long-gone in Canada, if it was ever used there at all), or something else entirely?

Going back in time even further, the Ontario Motor League Road Book offered these interesting pictures in its 1927 edition:

[Ontario 1927 road signs]

Note the early version of the Ontario provincial highway marker: Any crowns or royal references were still a few years away. This stark triangular sign is startlingly similar to the Wisconsin state route marker of the same era, so again...who influenced who?

License plate news from The Ontario Project:

[Ontario A] [Ontario V]
  • Ontario's recent license plate history may amount to 45 years of blue and white monotony, but the low numbers are always interesting! AAA-458 hails from the first letter series in the first batch of plates issued out of the head office in Toronto in 1973. 075-VYJ may look less spectacular, but it's even more significant: It's one of the first 100 numbers issued on the reflectorized base in 1994 (which began at plate number 001-VYJ). Both plates are from the Mike Franks collection.

1 January 2018

[All Gender Washroom]

Toronto, Ontario.

Sometimes Canada is so far ahead of the U.S. socially that it's not even funny.

25 December 2017

[Toronto city hall] [Toronto streetcar] [Toronto street corner] [Glenn Gould and I]

I'm back from a few days' respite in Rob Ford's reactionary crack-smoking the beautiful, progressive, culturally-diverse, world-class city of Toronto. Some thoughts...

  • Streetcars! Toronto has the best public transportation system I've seen in this hemisphere, with no fewer than four modes available: Streetcars, subways, buses, and commuter trains.
  • There's nowhere to park, but there's no need there to own a car. There's also no need to visit with a car: You can ride a train to Union Station from just about anywhere in the country.
  • Toronto is a very walkable city, and it feels like it's planned on a human scale. The transitions between neighbourhoods are seamless and scattered with so many parks that you scarcely realize, even downtown, that you're in the centre of the world.
  • Given how far ahead the city is in other transportation aspects, Toronto has a strange deficiency of bike lanes and paths. That said, it seemed to take more than a lack of dedicated routes to keep Toronto cyclists from the outdoors...
  • Toronto is a rail buff's paradise. Not only are there trains, subways, and streetcars galore, but there's also a railway museum in the heart of downtown.
  • Lake Ontario has a moderating effect on the climate of the city. The streets may be clear in Toronto on the same day a blizzard blows in London.
  • City Hall is supposedly connected to the rest of downtown by underground PATH, but security gets excited if you actually try to go this way.
  • Rush are from Toronto, and I'm enough of a geek that I sought out the steps of the Ontario Legislative Building for this very reason. (I gave up trying to find the fire hydrant from the Signals album cover.)
  • There is an enormous equestrian statue of King Edward VII in Queen's Park that someone had irreverently stuck a sticker to the forehead of.
  • I didn't go inside the CN Tower.
  • Did I mention that Toronto still has streetcars?
  • License plate sightings were pretty slim. I managed to see a couple of the sought-after red Consular Corps plates, but alas they were on moving no photos.
  • Toronto is a big, big place to take in. After four days, I felt I had barely scratched the surface.
  • The organizers of Pride Toronto banned police floats from the event. Good.
[A GeoCities page in Netscape 4 on Windows 3.1]
  • In other matters, The Andrew Turnbull Network went online fifteen years ago this week! Back in 2002, I was still in rural West Virginia and hadn't graduated from high school yet. Netscape now and forever!

License plate news from The Ontario Project:

[Ontario CD]
  • A third batch of Waldale-made plates has been observed in the late CD (and presumably, early CE) series. Like the second batch that surfaced earlier this year, the third batch uses a close facsimile of the Ontario die set and is identifiable chiefly by smaller boltslots and squarer corners.
  • I've collected photographs of all the major letter series in the seven-digit passenger format from 1997 to present! With that done, I'll be free to concentrate on older plates and commercial truck plates next.

18 December 2017

[Kohl's arch-roof store]

I no longer live in Wisconsin, nor do I have any desire to step foot there again so long as back-stabbing white Christian bigots make up the majority of the electorate in the state.

This week, however, I revisited those trodden grounds long enough to revise a page I once created to document one of the distinctive streetside architectural artifacts to be found there: Kohl's Arch-Roof Food Stores. New pictures, links, and information; from Madison, Janesville, and more.

By the way, the store pictured above actually isn't in Wisconsin. It's in an inner-ring suburb of Chicago, Illinois!

11 December 2017

[Andrew Turnbull]

Hello! I'm in an end-of-term crunch, so here's a picture to hold you over until I have time for more updates.

"So turn to the mirror there, and blow yourself a kiss. It goes just like this. You've done it a thousand times. It's as easy as drinking wine, only now it's blood..." -FNM, 1987.

4 December 2017

[Bell phone booth in London]

I haven't seen a public phone booth in the United States in over a dozen years. And for at least half of those dozen years, it's been excruciatingly difficult to find a pay phone of any kind.

Yet in Canada, both live on.

Just don't expect a door.

Feeling disoriented? Here's the site map that used to be on the front page.

As of January all older posts have been split off to an archive page.

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