Road signs in Canada
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Road signs in Canada may conform to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada (MUTCDC) by the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) for use by Canadian jurisdictions. Although it serves a similar role to the MUTCD from the US Federal Highway Administration, it has been independently developed and has a number of key differences with its American counterpart, most notably the inclusion of bilingual (English/French) signage for jurisdictions such as New Brunswick with significant anglophone and francophone population, and a heavier reliance on symbols rather than text legends.
In Quebec, modern signs read either Arrêt or Stop; however, it is not uncommon to see older signs containing both words in smaller lettering, with arrêt on top. Both stop and arrêt are considered valid French words and the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) notes that the use of "stop" on stop signs is attested in French since 1927. In practice, however, it can be empirically observed (for instance, with Google Street View) that arrêt predominates in French-speaking areas (i.e., most of the geographic extent of Quebec), while stop can be found in majority English-speaking areas such as Montreal's West Island suburbs. At the time of the debates surrounding the adoption of the Charter of the French Language ("Bill 101") in 1977, the usage of stop on the older dual-word signs was considered to be English and therefore controversial; some signs were occasionally vandalized with red spray paint to turn the word stop into "101". However, it was later officially determined by the OQLF that stop is a valid French word in this context, and the older dual arrêt + stop usage is therefore not considered bilingual but merely redundant and therefore deprecated (à éviter). All newly installed signs thus use either one word or the other, but not both.
The province of New Brunswick has bilingual stop arrêt in English-speaking areas. Acadian regions of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island also have bilingual signs. Some areas in Manitoba and Ontario also have bilingual signs. Entry points to the country through Canada Customs and other federally-regulated sites (including airports) also have bilingual stop signs. On First Nations or Inuit territories, stop signs sometimes use the local aboriginal language in addition to or instead of English and/or French. Other parts of Canada use stop.
Canadian road signs
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The following are samples of Canadian road signs.
Gallery of stop signs
Gallery of other signs
Alphanumeric reference IDs from the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada are included.
British Columbia road signs
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This sign is posted after the Canada–US border to remind US drivers that Canada uses the metric system.
The imperial speed limit (left) is a Canadian-style sign, rather than an MUTCD-standard one as would be used in the US.
This sign is posted when there is a history of vehicles taking a curve too quickly and losing control. The sunburst emphasizes that drivers need to take extra caution when going through the curve.
Ontario road signs
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The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) also has historically used its own MUTCD which bore many similarities to the TAC MUTCDC. However, as of approximately 2000, MTO has been developing the Ontario Traffic Manual (OTM), a series of smaller volumes each covering different aspects of traffic control (e.g., regulatory signs, warning signs, sign design principles, traffic signals, etc.).
The Ontario Traffic Manual Committee categorizes all road signs into two main categories: freeway and non-freeway sign types. Signs are then subcategorized into two additional groups: urban and rural.
Examples of Ontario regulatory and warning road signs
Some Ontario maximum speed signs have an additional tab at the bottom of the speed limit, reminding motorists that the unit of speed is kilometres per hour. The "km/h" tab sign (Rb-7t) is mandatory on all King's Highways because of the likelihood of unfamiliar interprovincial and international travellers.
Where there is a change in the legal speed limit, the first maximum speed sign in the new zone must be accompanied by a "BEGINS" tab sign (Rb-84t).
The purpose of the VEHICLES OVER 5 TONNES MUST HAVE VALID TRANSPONDER sign is to indicate to heavy vehicles that they are required to have valid toll devices known as transponders when travelling on toll roads. Specifically, the sign above is located before entrance ramps to the 407 ETR (Express Toll Route).
The purpose of the FASTEN SEAT BELT sign is to remind passengers in vehicles to ensure that their seat belts are fastened while the vehicle is travelling. The sign is placed at exits from locations which generate a large percentage of foreign or tourist traffic, where drivers may be unfamiliar with Ontario seat belt laws.
Quebec road signs
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The following are samples of Quebec road signs. A notable difference between Quebec road signs and those of the rest of Canada is Quebec's use of a white chevron on a red background to mark road alignment around a curve, whereas the remainder of the country employs a black chevron on a yellow background.
The logo for Le ministère des Transports du Québec (English: Ministry of Transportation of Quebec).
Example of autoroute shield
Example of provincial highway shield
This sign is used at all entry points to the island of Montreal to remind drivers that turning right on red is prohibited within the entire island.
Turning right on red is prohibited within Quebec at specific intersections. Otherwise it is permitted.
- Comparison of traffic signs in English-speaking countries
- Glossary of road transport terms
- Road signs in the United States
- Traffic sign
- Warning sign
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- Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada (Fifth ed.). Ottawa: Transportation Association of Canada. 2014. PTM-MUTCD14-E (English ed.).
- "Répertoire des dispositifs de signalisation routière du Québec". Transports Québec. Archived from the original on 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
- "Canada, Quebec, Montreal, bilingual Stop sign Stock Photos". Masterfile.com. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
- Office québécois de la langue française, granddictionnaire.com. No direct link: look up panneau STOP under Recherche and then click on either route or transport under the resulting Index listing
- Photo by Flickr.com user "imagesdistributioncanada"
- https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/driving-and-transportation/transportation-infrastructure/engineering-standards-and-guidelines/traffic-engineering-and-safety/traffic-engineering/traffic-signs-and-pavement-markings/manual_signs_pavement_marking.pdf, page 3.9
- Ontario Traffic Manual - Book 2 - Sign Design, Fabrication and Patterns. March 2005.
- Tous les dispositifs de signalisation
- Government of Quebec traffic control devices library - Extensive list of all road signs and signals from the Quebec Transport Ministry (in English and French)
- Road Signs in Ontario, from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
- Traffic Signs & Pavement Marking, from the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure