Future uncertain for iconic Fredericton sign
The future for an iconic neon sign in downtown Fredericton has dimmed somewhat as renovations to the building where it called home get underway.
In 1954, Louis George purchased a neon sign that became the trademark of his Queen Street family business, George’s Clothing and Footwear.
“I’m not bragging, but it was a beautiful sign and there was nothing like it,” says George.
The sign originally belonged to Frame Appliances, a business in Saint John.
George admired it for years, but didn’t think it was within his means.
“I said I can’t afford a neon, and they said we’ll give a good deal on a used one, and they told me which one it is, made a deal and I grabbed it as quick as I could.”
He paid $500 for the sign and the purchase paid off. It was displayed at George’s for over 60 years, surviving everything from fires to changing shopping habits.
“Friday night people would come down and look at it, take pictures of it, tourists would take pictures of it, I was quite proud of it,” says George.
In 2010, George retired and the store closed, but the sign remained until this fall, as it was taken down as part of the building’s renovations.
“That’s the first question when they hear about the building and the project as a whole, what’s going to happen to the sign, where is it going to go?” says developer Barry Morrison.
Morrison says they are working with the city to come up with a solution, but there are complications, thanks to bylaws that weren’t in place back in 1955.
“Some of the restrictions are things like, we’re not able to change the fronting of the sign, that sort of thing, but right now it’s down and we can do some routine maintenance on it,” says Morrison.
George says he has fielded many offers to sell the sign, but he’d like to see it return to what he believes to be its rightful place.
“It’s a name in neon that brings to mind colourful memories in downtown Fredericton,” says George.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore