With its fantastical and symbolic 3-D design, a specially made sign has been welcoming children and their caregivers through the entrance of the NONA Child Development Centre’s Foord Clubhouse for the past year.
Designed and built by Wayside’s Nancy Wilde and the sign department, the sign, which shows a wood thatched clubhouse perched atop a tree, has now been recognized with a national award.
Wayside has just claimed the top prize in the building sign category from the Best of Canada’s Sign Industry Awards.
“This is an iconic win for Wayside and Nancy,” says Wayside co-owner Neil Perry. “It is always nice when people are recognized for all of their hard work. Nancy and the team at Wayside worked tirelessly to make this happen.”
Managed by Sign Media Canada and the Sign Association of Canada, the awards honour the top work of sign companies and related organizations across the country. The winners are selected by an expert panel of independent judges.
“We were quite shocked to win this. It means a lot that we have been recognized for this work,” says Wilde.
Wilde worked closely with the North Okanagan Neurological Association (NONA) and its executive director, Helen Armstrong, in coming up with ideas for the sign. They not only wanted to recognize the welcoming atmosphere that NONA provides to its young clients and their caregivers as well as therapists, but also to the Foord family, whose late patriarch Tom Foord, founder of Kal Tire, and his wife, Norah, were long-time contributors to NONA.
“Norah was the first volunteer at NONA when it began more than 40 years ago,” says Armstrong. “The building is called the Foord Clubhouse not only because of the support we received from Tom and Norah over the years, but the whole family. We wouldn’t be successful without them.”
Many of the sign’s whimsical symbols can be attributed to the Foords, including the Kal Tire jet, an old tobacco tin, in which Tom is said to have kept his receipts, as well as a sheep, representing Norah, who was born to a sheep farming family, explains Wilde.
“We actually came up with the design after I drew up the preliminary sketches on a napkin. We wanted something that would be kid-friendly and welcoming. The clubhouse came from an actual house we built for the NONA float in the Vernon Winter Carnival Parade a few years ago,” says Wilde.
After building a mock-up model, Wilde and the sign department went to work on the actual sign. They used high-density urethane foam for all the bits and pieces and anchored the sign with steel, which acts as the porch and protrudes one metre. The pieces were hand drawn, scanned and cut out on Wayside’s computer numerical control machine (CNC). They were then glued and hand chiselled for textural detail and painted.
“It took months of hand carving and painting and involved members of the community. We even had kids from NONA help paint the sign. We then had to put it together piece by piece,” says Wilde, adding the sign was made in sections, two pieces for the clubhouse, the porch and tree, and other pieces for the limbs, cross-cut sign face, and ladder.
The result can be seen on the faces of all who walk into the building.
“It’s thrilling to look at all the work that was poured into the sign and building,” says Armstrong. “We are so proud of this and grateful to Nancy and Wayside, who without their patience and flexibility, we would have never been able to get this done.”
In business since 1921, Wayside offers print, web design, marketing, signs and display services throughout B.C. and Canada.