Cheerful sign returns to solicit smiles with health message

·2 min read

Barry Gelfand put up a sign in his yard on Jan. 18 for passersby to see, a cheerful reminder to wear masks and maintain physical distancing to help prevent COVID transmission.

It’s the third sign he has put up since April 3. From that first time to today, Gelfand said the feedback from those who have read the message has been positive.

The reason for a third sign is that the second one went missing. A couple of months after he put up the first sign, painted blue to signify spring, Gelfand decided a change was needed and he put up a bright green sign on June 18 with the same message. The sign was made by Matt Quiring at Tekarra Color Lab Ltd., who made the first and third signs too.

Throughout the summer and into the fall, both Jasperites and visitors viewed the second sign and photographed it numerous times. But on the morning of Sept. 27, when Gelfand looked out the window around 8 a.m., the sign was nowhere to be seen.

Gelfand drove around the neighbourhood to see if it had been deposited somewhere but found nothing. A phone call to the RCMP had the same result and he hasn’t heard anything since.

“It was one of those post-marauders, who a guy like me will never understand,” Gelfand said. “I just don’t get it.”

What he did get is a desire to “Spread the word - Not the Virus,” as written on the sign, and after his good friend “Aldo Al” made a new base for the sign, Gelfand put up a similar uplifting, humorous message - winter style - on Jan. 18.

“There’s a message for one and all - it’s your choice to read it or not,” Gelfand said. “A lot of people have stopped in their footsteps when they’re walking by or driving, local folks and folks from elsewhere. I watched a (few) people go by and they stopped and read the sign and a smile came across their faces. That was great.”

Gelfand gets comments from folks about the sign when he’s out and about around town.

“It’s almost like, ‘Way to go’,” he said.

Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh