First a word about English on street signs in Montreal. As late as 1867, the population of Montreal was majority English-speaking. This explains why there were English mayors and why a lot of commercial and cultural life in Montreal was English.
By the time the first in the series of signs pictured below was posted (probably in the 1930s or 1940s), Montreal had a French-speaking majority. But there weren't yet any laws to hide English from the public sphere. It would have been inconceivable to cover up with white tape the English on commercial signs or street signs.
If you drive through the City of Montreal today, you'll notice that on the old street signs, French-sounding placenames (like Marcil) have a French street designation (Ave. Marcil). English-sounding placenames (like Old Orchard) have an English street designation (Old Orchard Ave.). A clever way to make bilingual the city's sign.
I mention this history so you understand why the sign below (Fielding Avenue) is in English and not bilingual.
Here are the five distinct signs:
- All caps, full street designation below street name
- All caps, abbreviated street designation on side of street name
- All caps, full street designation above street name, corners more rounded, optional bubble below containing the direction if required, French-only sign introduced for 1976 Olympics
- Mixed case, full street designation above street name, city logo introduced circa 1985
- Mixed case, full street designation above street name, city logo modified and introduced in 1987 for new René Levesque sign
By the way, these are the correct relative sizes of the signs.
I didn't include in this the white-on-red signs in Old Montreal or the signs of the various Montreal boroughs. I was only looking at City of Montreal signs.
>> More about Montreal signs here