Historic neon sign donated to Galt

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Galt Museum & Archives to receive a neon sign installed on Lethbridge business since 1950s

Lethbridge—When local business owner Chris Sirias bought the old Alberta Meat Market building to open a retail cannabis store on 6 Avenue South, he began investigating what to do with the iconic neon sign from the previous business. “Because the new business in the building was not related to selling meat, we didn’t have a need for the sign.”

The Alberta Meat Market building on the corner of 5 Street and 6 Avenue South was built in 1922. Generations of the Crighton family ran a meat market there for 90 years until it closed permanently in 2012. The iconic neon sign was installed in the 1950s by James “Jimmy” Crighton, the grandfather of Ken Crighton, the final owner of the Alberta Meat Market. This neon sign is one of the very few left in Lethbridge from that period.

“This sign is a perfect example of the heyday of illuminated and neon signage in Lethbridge.” Says Kevin MacLean, Collections Technician at the Galt Museum & Archives, “It is representative of a certain style and feel that permeated the Downtown Lethbridge core for years.”

“The sign is a great example of storefront advertising,” says Aimee Benoit, Curator, “but it also serves as a visual reminder of the smaller local businesses that have played such an important role in our community’s development.”

When Sirias began looking for a new home for the sign, a member of the public brought it to the attention of the Galt. Sirias generously agreed to donate the sign to the Galt. Crighton has expressed his appreciation for the Galt preserving the sign: “I remember lots of long days and good times in that building. I’m thrilled to know that the museum will be getting the sign.”

“The Galt is honoured by the high level of trust the community places in us.” Says CEO/Executive Director Susan Burrows-Johnson, “Although the sign will be housed in a new context, it will be preserved and made available in our collection as part of the community’s material and commercial history.”

We are holding a press conference on November 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm at the site of the old Alberta Meat Market at 510 6 Avenue South which will coincide with the removal of the old sign by a contractor. We will have current business owner Chris Sirias, and members of the Crighton family, the previous owners, in attendance to speak to the significance of the sign. We will also have CEO Susan Burrows-Johnson, Curator Aimee Benoit, and Collections Technician Kevin MacLean in attendance to speak about and answer questions relating to the sign and the Galt’s role in preserving this piece of Lethbridge’s material history.