Sunday, October 11, 2015

Historic neon signs in Edmonton recall past institutions

Neon signs for baths, and news stand with the Star Weekly. The iconic CNR sign speaks for itself.
In 1913, the Edmonton Turkish Baths opened in the flatiron building on Jasper Avenue. Later these morphed into the Georgia Baths. Open until 1991, they were the city's oldest steam baths.

Baths were beehives of social activity as well as grooming. The original Turkish baths had separate steam rooms for men and women, tubs showers, a snack counter, shoeshine facilities, a cigar stand and a barbershop. There were also 13 sleeping rooms.

In the heyday of steam baths, tubs and showers in homes were by no means a given. Public baths were popular with working men, and Edmonton's early immigrant groups also used them. Before cheap and plentiful air travel, many who emigrated never saw the old country again. Perhaps the baths, popular in Europe at the time, reminded lonely emigres of their original homes. 

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