New Brunswick

How confusing are New Brunswick road signs?

New Brunswick's road signs include graphics of fiddleheads, a man in a cowboy hat waving his arm and seemingly flying fish. But what do they actually depict? Not everyone knows.

Some signs are easy to understand, others have flying fish

RAW: Confusing N.B road signs

7 years ago
Duration 1:30
How well do New Brunswickers know their road signs? CBC's Philip Drost hit the streets of Fredericton to find out.

Some road signs, such as universal stop signs, are straightforward and easy to understand. But not all signs are that easy, as Boston Globe writer Ty Burr discovered during a recent vacation in New Brunswick.

The sign confusion prompted him to write a light-hearted column, explaining what he thought some of the signs stood for.

While it looks like a cowboy is complaining about the structural integrity of his barn, it is actually a sign for agritourism. (GNB)
As it turns out, some New Brunswickers struggle with the signs too.

One sign depicting a man wearing a cowboy hat, another adult and a child inside a barn garnered several different interpretations from people on the streets of Fredericton on Friday.

Some said it was a cowboy complaining to his friends that all his cows had escaped. Others concluded it was a barn party. Others thought it was a cop, hanging out with an adult and their child on a farm.

In reality, it's a sign signifying agri-tourism.

You might think this means you're driving into a whirlpool, which would likely warrant a sign to keep people safe, but really it depicts a fiddlehead and just means you are about to go for a scenic drive. (GNB)
Another sign is so "New Brunswick," it's no surprise it stumped the American writer.

All the sign shows is graphic of a fiddlehead, (the furled young shoot of an ostrich fern, which is harvested for use as a vegetable, for any non-New Brunswickers out there), which is used to signify the River Valley Scenic Drive along the western part of the province.

Most of the people approached by CBC News in downtown Fredericton got that one right, or least made reference to a fiddlehead. One pedestrian called it Fiddlehead Drive, which is actually just as good a name for it.

But the sign that caused the most confusion was the seemingly flying fish, with people taking shelter in a hut.

One person called it a fish observation point, while another thought it could be a fish farm. It turned out to be a sign for aqua-tourism.

The good sign was, everybody walked away knowing how to find the best place for a fish tour. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Drost is a journalist with the CBC. You can reach him on Twitter @phildrost or by email at philip.drost@cbc.ca.

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