I send out a personal thank you to all who
have taken the time to visit Rollsign Gallery
over the years, and to all who choose to visit
Rollsign Gallery for the first time.
I also thank everyone who has purchased
items from the Transit Store and look forward
to those considering Transit Store items for
their next purchase. Your help has allowed
Rollsign Gallery to become even more
diverse and informative as each year passes.
|Thank you for visiting Rollsign Gallery!
My interest in transportation started when I was young. I would watch the trains go
by on the rail line near my childhood home, exploring the lines and taking pictures.
My interest turned to public transit after my father started working for the Toronto
Transit Commission (Toronto, Ontario) in 1981. I would ride often, learn the city and
its routes, and it was then that I was first exposed to the rollsigns on the buses.
He would let me roll the side sign through to GARAGE from whatever route he did
In 1992, when the TTC began to retrofit their fleet with electronic signs, my father
managed to get me my first two rollsigns, a near complete front and a side linen
from Wilson Garage (seen on the Wilson Garage page of the Toronto, Ontario
section). My third rollsign was a gift to me from the late Ray Neilson, a fellow
transit enthusiast and close friend of mine. My fourth rollsign was the York
University rollsign (Intercity section) from a retired bus I passed many times near
my family's cottage near Midland, Ontario. The next four rollsigns I was given came
to me from my first direct dealing with a transit agency: Sarnia, Ontario in 1994.
While in my final year of high school, I decided to start designing my
print out drawings of the signs I had collected. Albeit black and white,
hand coloured with markers when needed, and low resolution, they
represented the start of what Rollsign Gallery is today.
My collection bloomed when I discovered Future Enterprises, a major
bus scrapper in Hamilton, Ontario. Over the years I was able to
secure dozens of rollsigns from there, and the owner family and I
became good associative friends. As well as rollsigns, I was able to
acquire my first electronic sign set. This was exciting for me because
in Toronto, it had only been a few years since they'd been introduced.
I learned a lot from them, and was able to discover how to maintain,
repair and program these signs from this.
Learning the history behind these rollsigns was sometimes a challenge
because information in the "pre-internet" age was hard to come by. It was then
that I decided that my collection would always be "public", in that I would have
the information I learned readily available for others who were interested.
Over the years I donated the use of my rollsigns from my collection in tours
and charters that transit fans and clubs would host. This would allow others to
share in their history and enhance the photographs taken during the events.
The process to start Rollsign Gallery began on December 18, 2004 when I
created the webpage on Geocities. It took about two months to complete the
original site. It was also around the same time that I began exploring the idea
of a more detailed, high resolution way to draw the images. The first five Fort
Wayne, Indiana rollsigns were the first to be drawn this way. This began the
process of converting all the older low resolution images to high resolution
After its creation, my network of contacts and supportive transit
agencies continued to grow. New locations and acquisitions allowed me
to add more content to the site. Throughout all this, the core belief that
the knowledge should be public never dissipated. Over time, Rollsign
Gallery became more enhanced with pictures of vehicles and system
When it was announced that Geocities would be discontinued on
October 26, 2009, I made the decision to convert Rollsign Gallery to a
paid "small business" site rather than letting all the information and
work disappear. Rollsign Gallery became a paid site on August 1, 2009.
It was also at this time that I began the introduction of the site's TRANSIT
STORE, where collectibles such as rollsigns could be offered for sale to
others, as well as original design shirts, mugs, and other items.
All the money made from Transit Store sales goes back into Rollsign Gallery, and is used to acquire new material, and the costs to travel
to these places to secure it. It also goes towards the costs of keeping Rollsign Gallery on the web, so that everyone can benefit from the
information and knowledge I've acquired about these signs over the years.
Rollsign Gallery continues to be the largest source on the web with the most diverse collection of destination sign information available
to the public. Over the years it has grown to the point that Rollsign Gallery is the NUMBER TWO listing on a Google search when "rollsign"
is typed in, next only to Wikipedia. It also has a presence on Wikipedia, Metro Wiki, and several other websites across the internet.