By Kathryn Schwartz
Tucked in the heart of the prairies is the small town of Kyle, Sask., with a population of approximately 450 residents. Home to some of Western Canada’s most bountiful farmland and vast grasslands, this small community is able to grow a big variety of agricultural products and commodities. In April 2011, the town council decided to invest in new signage, which would be installed at the entranceway to the community. Kyle’s councillors wanted this project to communicate the town’s deep sense of pride, encompass its rich history and provide an esthetically pleasing connection between visitors and locals.
Signal Industries, a Regina-based sign manufacturer that has served clients throughout Western Canada for more than 40 years, was commissioned for the job. Although the company is primarily known for specializing in producing traffic control signs, it can also handle architectural signs, electronic message centres (EMCs), banners, dimensional letters, decals and, most pertinently in this case, monument signs. As such, Signal was able to answer the town’s needs with the right materials and methods.
“Our clients knew they wanted an EMC, but they weren’t sure how they were going to achieve the other goals,” explains Merv Mantyak, Signal’s technical specialist. “As designing a variety of signage is our area of expertise, we knew immediately a custom-designed foam monument sign would be the perfect answer.”
With this basic concept in mind, Mantyak and his design team went to work. In the context of Kyle’s history, they took inspiration from the 12,000-year-old woolly mammoth that was discovered in 1964 during road construction, the bones of which are still displayed today in Regina at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. As Kyle’s mascot, the mammoth served as one of the main sources of inspiration for the town’s new entranceway sign.
“The woolly mammoth communicated the town’s past, while the EMC allowed our clients to change their message when needed,” says Mantyak. “The foam monument enclosure enabled us to bring all of these elements together.”
Signal ordered the enclosure from a wholesale manufacturer.
“We were able to receive the product in a few short weeks,” says Mantyak. “Compared to a traditional ‘build-on-site,’ bricks-and-mortar style sign unit, it had a much more attractive price point. The foam monument was the closest we’ve found to being perfect.”
Indeed, foam monument signs are gaining popularity across Canada these days, due to several benefits. Manufactured with an expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam core, they are light, durable and versatile. They have been specified for many of the largest retailers, property managers and complexes.