Saturday, January 8, 2011

Welcome To / Bienvenue à... (Canadian Provinces Version)

So this is just a short and simple one... I used Google Maps Street View (which I am addicted to) to look at the borders between each Canadian province. You know, if you're travelling from one province to another, somewhere along the way you see a sign that says "Welcome to..." So here's one for each of the ten Canadian provinces - none for the territories, primarily because Google Maps doesn't seem to have gone to Nunavut at all, and its borders with other provinces or territories are not exactly filled with roads. And as we'll see I still had to cheat once.

So here they are, from West to East. Please bear in mind they'll get bigger if you click on them.

BRITISH COLUMBIA: BC of course only borders one province, being stuck in the corner there... This is a pretty enough sign, simple and clean. There's an outhouse behind it, and it was such a still day when the Google Maps car went by that you can barely see the flag.

ALBERTA: This one is hilarious. Looking like the entrance to any provincial or federal park in the country, this simplest-of-the-simple of signs screams out 'border crossing signs require tax money, and whos going to pay for that?'

SASKATCHEWAN: Wheat. Yep, a huge fake sheaf of wheat, and a silly slogan too (that at least beats Manitoba's ludicrous licence plates that read 'Friendly'. This sign doesn't welcome you to Saskatchewan, it merely points out that you've arrived. Naturally.

MANITOBA: A strange one, this. I looked at a few border crossings, and this was the clearest one, but still I can't read everything on it. It's shaped like the province, and for some reason is names the province three times in welcoming you to it. It looks like they just stuck up the blue map-outline and invited different people to 'pretty it up' however they saw fit.

ONTARIO: Ontario gets a bland one. All it seems is big. Big and bland... Hmm, maybe they did put a lot of thought into this sign. This is on the border with Québec. The one I could find bordering Manitoba was way tinier and not clear enough in the picture, otherwise I'd have included it for the awesomeness of the fact that it reads: "Welcome to Ontario". "Construction zone ahead". Which, as any Ontarian can tell you, is true.

QUÉBEC: This pretty thing, which is absolutely identical in each border crossing (the province must have gotten a volume discount) features a stylised fleur-de-lys cut out of the sign, exposing an actualy lily behind it (I guess), and of course four fleurs-de-lys on the fluttering flag as well. Quadrilingual, too. Nice.

NEW BRUNSWICK: This embarrassment is the best I could find. Seriously, 'service station ahead 5km' signs take more effort. This looks very much like an advertising billboard, and I can't make out what the English-language teabag tag reads. is it 'Big small wonders' or 'no small wonders'?

NOVA SCOTIA: Nova Scotia, by comparison, goes all out, with some kind of faux lighthouse, some flowers-and-rocks landscaping, and two girls. Wonder if they're always there? The one in white seems to blend in naturally.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: Thank the Confederation Bridge, without which there would be no land crossing to PEI and no need for this, a billboard again like New Brunswick (its parner in bridginess) that looks like it's advertising a hotel resort in Curaçao or something.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR: And this is my cheat. Newfoundland of course has no land borders, but Labrador does, with a scant few roads crossing the border from Where-in-the-hell, Québec to Where-in-the-hell, NL. They exist, but Google Maps couldn't be bothered sending a car up there. So Google Maps cleverly uses its never-heard-of-it service Panoramio for people to upload pictures of places they've been. Someone took a picture of this sign and posted it there, and Google integrates it with Google Maps by putting a blue dot there. Yay, "gvbat1995". Yay, Google. Yay, "The Big Land".

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