Winnipeg’s rich collection of hand-painted wall ads date back to the early 1880s. After incorporating as a city in 1873, industrialists and entrepreneurs from around the world moved here to be part of the city’s boom. The population ballooned from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands within a generation. And, over a century and a half later, the businesses and brands advertised on the sides of buildings still remain.Explore the Ghost Signs of the Exchange District in Winnipeg with this illustrated guide.
Matt Cohen is a creative director, marketing strategist and urban archeologist. Since 2013, he's been researching and documenting Winnipeg's collection of fading promotional signage. What started as a one-off project has blossomed into a multi-year initiative celebrating the intersection of paint and persuasion. He currently maintains the website ghostsigns.ca and @fadingads social accounts, leads regular ghost sign walking tours and produces experiential events that use new media to showcase old ads.