Revolving 'W' and Railyard Boys
Terminal City, Saltwater City...end of the line. And there in the sky... revolving 'W' the neon letter, Vancouver's outspoken rebel clown, dancing above it all. Sky Scribe. It's a sure sign you've made it to the Westcoast, for boxcar tramps. For the hungry it's Welfare West. For the logger's coming in from the boonies on the Union steamships from one of the hundreds of rivermouth logging shows up coast, it is the signal to uncork and live it up, for a while. It is, of course, the famous pantomime trademark 'W,' first appearing in 1944 to faithfully serve bright and beautiful, 300 feet above street, turning six times a minute, day and night, for almost 50 years doing its pesky standing ovation pirouette atop its daring roost. Perched upon the 1927-constructed, 80-foot Eiffel Tower replica that sits above a four-storey extension from the roof of Woodward's Hastings and Abbot flagship store. It houses the one-person peanut butter plant. The cast-iron & neon 'W' at sixteen-foot high is set in place by hand, using a system of planks, wooden poles and pulleys. Becomes world famous. A salute to the boom years, when all the dreams of progress seem possible. A star performer. Red neon runs up the tower sides like showtime legs at night. A symbol of freedom for a standard of life. A pivotal ecological footprint. A handwritten epigraph to a city. A true Vancouver original wonder. Toppled 2005.