Ontario Sortie

You don’t usually think of Ontario as being particularly bilingual (at least I don’t) but the highway signs are posted in both French and English.
onatario construction signonatario signonatario sortieontario bridge sign

Particularly annoying are a series of highway signs nagging about dangers of the highway. In Ontario, these three scourges are drinking, tailgating, and fatigue. The sign appears first in English, then in French. Here are the French signs warning about death from drinking and tailgating:
ontario drinking kills sign
ontario tailgating kills sign

Even the population signs are bilingual–but what has happened to the comma in the population number?
ontario winsor population sign

BTW, if you’re American don’t forget to bring proof of citizenship: birth certificate or passport. The days of driving through Ontario with nothing but your driver’s license are over.

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14 Responses to “Ontario Sortie”

  1. marie-lucie Says:

    There are plenty of French speakers in Ontario, although not as many as English speakers. And the 401 is a national highway, so signs are in both languages.

    BTW, if you’re a Canadian going to the US don’t forget to bring proof of citizenship, if possible a passport. The days of driving through the US with nothing but your Canadian driver’s license are over.

    • Nijma Says:

      They don’t seem to care if Americans enter Canada with only a driver’s license. They asked an awful lot of questions about “merchandise” though, like what merchandise I was bringing in and what I was going to buy, and whether I had any alcohol with me (it’s winery country), and where I was going to stay.

      The idea that I might want to just hang out a little bit in a fast food joint and listen to Canadians speak is a subject I did not dare broach.

  2. Siganus Sutor Says:

    What about la sobriété au volant? What does it do? Does it kill as well, sometimes?

    • Nijma Says:

      Only if you are fatigued. I think they would prefer you did not drive at all, just take breaks and drink without driving. I wonder what they would make of our Chicago “tailgating parties” in the sports arena parking lots with the open coolers in the back of the cars.

    • marie-lucie Says:

      It doesn’t “do” anything except looking awkward. It seems to be just the title of a campaign against drinking and driving, although it looks like the beginning of a sentence which could not continue because of lack of space.

    • Nijma Says:

      la sobriété au volant–sober driving?

      The sign in English said something like “drunk driving kills.”

  3. A.J.P. Crown Says:

    what has happened to the comma in the population number?

    I don’t know if this is the reason, but in Europe they switch dots and commas; so they’d write 217.000 and they’d write your fahrenheit temperature as 98,6.

  4. Siganus Sutor Says:

    in Europe they switch dots and commas

    Could you be more specific about which countries in Europe? I believe in Britain they use commas to separate thousands, don’t they? And 4600 mm would be 4.6 metres, no? (Except, obviously, for those who still measure in feet and in eighths of an inch.)

    However, as far as I know in South Africa they use commas, even if they are partly British. It was kind of weird to hear this Mr Achard mentioned here say “four comma six” in English.

    • A. J. P. Crown Says:

      Britain doesn’t do it the European way. I still don’t really think of Britain as being European in most respects, but I am very, very old.

      • Nijma Says:

        If you had had some single malt scotch for your birthday instead of tea, you would not even be ‘thinking about how old you feel.

  5. Siganus Sutor Says:

    I still don’t really think of Britain as being European in most respects

    I believe it’s an island, isn’t it? Look at Corsica for instance. It has always set itself apart. It has never been neither Italian nor French. Even Rodrigues isn’t fully Martian, in a sense.

    Actually it could be worth moving Britain a few thousand miles towards the west, so that it would lie closer to the shores of Newfoundland. G.d should seriously consider this.

    • A. J. P. Crown Says:

      It would probably be a lot warmer if they moved westwards, and it would be very nice for them to be closer to Marie-Lucie, but I’d always thought of England as being further South than that, am I wrong? i do remember that New York is on the same latitude as Madrid (and Peking — oops Beijing). Sorry, I’m rambling; it’s my age.

  6. Saif Says:

    Driving from Ontario to Quebec I failed to see any signs welcoming you to Quebec. The only way to tell was that in obliging Ontario the signs were obligingly bilingual – and once into Quebec they were resolutely monolingual.


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