365 Canadian Sights | Day 253: Oddities Week — Watson Lake Sign Post Forest

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| Image from Flickr/Tom Fries via CC BY 2.0 |

Highway signs are not usually this out of place for a traveller…

Canada is full of roadside attractions in small towns meant to lure highway travellers out of their cars and into a shop to spend a few bucks.

The Watson Lake Sign Post Forest is arguably the most famous of these (and definitely the most famous in Northern Canada).

Started in 1942 when a guy working nearby put up a sign for his hometown Illinois, some 3,400 km away, it’s ballooned over the years to tens of thousands of signs. It’d be hard to estimate exactly how many, especially since more are stuck in all the time. The town of Watson Lake adds new posts when needed, growing the forest all the time.

It’s figured the 10,000 went up in 1990, and I’ve seen estimates upwards fo 77,000 now. With social media and global travel, I imagine it’s growing faster than ever before.

To try to capture it all is no doubt impossible, but it’s a fun game of Where’s Waldo picking out famous towns, or communities you’ve been to.

 

If you’re ever headed to the Yukon by car, this is an easy and popular road stop. Located near where both highways (37 and 97) that lead into the territory meet at the southern border, it’s a classic roadside attraction.

Unsurprisingly, this world famous stop in an area fairly sparsley populated is the top attraction in the region, according to TripAdvisor. Also not a surprise, there’s an AtlasObscura profile for it. Since it’s not a park the ‘officialness’ of any given site is up in the air, but the town of Watson Lake and Yukon tourism office both have their own pages about the ‘forest.’

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