Another sign for the Far North

By Dan Sawatzky

Posted on Monday, December 6th, 2021

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With the opening of a new all-season road in Canada’s Northwest Territories we again got the call for a suitable sign. The road reaches deep into the Arctic, so the sign had to be durable, low maintenance and easy to install. We opted for the same approach as last time [see “Creating a landmark sign bound for the Arctic Circle”] with a concrete ballasted base which would be buried in a shallow gravel bed. This allowed for installation quickly and in the dead of winter. The deadline was tight.

The road was named after the local First Nation peoples, the Tlicho. Their flag bears three teepees depicting the three main settlements of the region. This teepee design would be the perfect support structure for the sign. I then designed the lettering to reflect the word’s importance. We again opted for an unpainted weathered steel finish, save for the lettering which would be easy to touch up over the long term.

The steel poles were of 4-in. steel pipe that had been abraded to remove any paint or scale to allow an even rust patina over time. Because it was a government project we ended up doing more drawings than usual to show how it would go together, how it would be transported and various letter sizes, etc.

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Dan Sawatzky's shop, Sawatzky's Imagination Corporation, is in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. Dan shares his experience in his Sign Magic Workshops on 3-D sign making, and his Sculpting Workshop.

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