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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Sunday, October 2, 2022
Ross’s Ramblings: Ubiquitous NOTL signs are dumbing down our lives
Editorial.
Editorial. Supplied

Is it just me, or has there been a recent proliferation of signs here in our pretty and horticulturally rich wee town, and in our beautiful Niagara region? Some are helpful, but others seem to assume that we lack common sense and basic intelligence.

Were we poorly raised by our parents? I am offended by some of the signs.

At the magnificent Memorial Park tennis courts, the long and explicit and detailed list of rules includes “No profanity.”

Must ladies and gentlemen be told not to cuss and yell expletives when on occasion they miss an impossible-to-miss volley? Perhaps we flub easy shots because of the hundreds of hours of practice we don’t do.

Some signs point out such obvious warnings that I sometimes suspect our Town sign bosses and sign makers must be getting paid by the letter.

Down by Ball’s Beach, walking or cycling from the direction of Queen’s Royal Park, the Town of NOTL staff have spent time and money to create and install an “in yer face” sign that blares “Fall hazard ahead. Stay on the path.”

Trust me, I pass that way regularly, and have never been aware of a dangerous change of elevation or tree root or other danger. Is this just another example of our paranoid world being overly concerned with liability and legal costs? Sheesh… Duty of care, and all that.

To avoid almost all risk, why not erect a few exculpatory clause signs at the entrances to town that read, “Warning. You must be overly cautious while in NOTL. Minimal dangers exist if you walk around with your eyes closed. Pay attention, dear folks. Be reasonably alert and aware of what is going on around you. In fact, to be really safe, park your car and stay in it. Or, at the least, sit down on the first bench you see”

Under the Fall Hazard Ahead sign, attached to the same post, is another verbose sign reading, “Dog excrement must be removed by dog owners and all dogs must be on a leash.” Perhaps, “Pick up yer leashed dog’s doggy do.”

In the midst of a municipal election campaign now, our pretty town is less pretty, with brightly coloured “Vote for” signs bringing forward candidate names. And sometimes, brief and clever slogans.

A few years back, Virgil Pizza and Sub mogul Martin Mazza had a slogan worthy of the Canadian Lawn Sign Hall of Fame slogan. It read: “Elect Martin Mazza. He Delivers.”

I personally would love yet another town bylaw that states, in a proper and wordy way, “No election signs until two weeks, or 14 days, or a fortnight, whichever date comes sooner, may be installed here in our town.”

Realtors don’t like election campaigns, because their for sale signs get lost in the pervasive, omnipresent jumble of candidate signs.

It is worth remembering that longtime public servant Harold Clement, who ran in numerous campaigns, had a “No Lawn Sign” policy. Not even on his lawn! My goodness, did he ever get elected? Every time he ran, and he was very effective.

Rambling to a merciful and welcome conclusion, I ask that the Town of NOTL give a thought to the first impression visitors get when arriving in NOTL. Even the first two letters of NOTL are “N” and “O.”

No Parking. No Through Traffic. No barbecues. No this. No that.

Let’s be kinder and more welcoming to each other, and to visitors. Not that long ago, COVID-19 masks were hiding our friendly smiles. Let’s double down now on smile frequency.

And, on a completely different subject, let’s all exhort, “Long live the King!”