Metro Vancouver's intersections have been turned into minimalist art

Are they yoga poses? Blair Witch symbols? Spaghetti thrown against a wall?

Nope. They're just Metro Vancouver's weirdest intersections.

Illustrator Peter Gorman has drawn 20 of the most oddly shaped crossings in the region and compiled them on a poster, transforming a part of everyday urban life into minimalist art.

Removed from their surroundings, the intersections take on a newfound meaning.

Suddenly, the junction at Kingsway and Imperial looks like a person diving head-first. The on and off ramps at Knight, Marine and the Knight Street Bridge make the intersection look like a butterfly.

"There's a really bordered nature to the city," Gorman said by phone from his home in Hawaii.

"It's kind of interesting how cities that actually are on a grid still tend to have these really wacky intersections."

Peter Gorman

The poster is part of a book in progress featuring Gorman's maps of North American cities, based on a year-long bicycle trip that he took around the U.S. and Canada between 2014 and 2015.

Vancouver was one of his stopovers. For the poster, Gorman chose intersections that stuck out from memory, and researched notorious ones that mystify drivers (think Granville and Garden City in Richmond).

He also surveyed a map and picked crossings that looked plain weird.

Gorman then spent about four days last year drawing the shapes in Adobe Illustrator.

Unexpected success

Interest in the poster took off Monday after Gorman shared it online, drawing enthusiastic responses from Reddit users.

Some pointed out intersections they would have added, including Broadway, Main and Kingsway, and the Cassiar Connector.

Peter Gorman

"People don't really have any relationship with [intersections] besides sitting in traffic and being confused by stoplights," Gorman said. 

"Putting the spin on it and seeing people's reaction to something that they're usually annoyed by is really fun."

The response, in fact, has been consistently fervid since Gorman designed his first intersection map of Seattle in 2017.

Orders came in so fast that Gorman had to order 1,000 shipping tubes to his apartment.

He's hoping to self-publish his book — which will feature more peculiar intersections in cities such as Chicago, San Francisco and New York — by this Christmas.

"It's been an incredible surprise and I feel really grateful every day for that," he said.