In Fall 2011, Peter Tsatoumas, the owner of the Navarino Café, very kindly donated his amazing, iconic sign to the Montréal Signs Project. As is often the case with businesses in Montréal, he took the sign down a few years ago while renovating his busy café — and then the city stopped him putting it back up because it didn’t conform to the current bylaws.
We were only too happy to accept the sign: it’s a remarkable example of mid-century sign kitsch, not to mention a well-loved Mile End landmark. It’s actually two-sided: one fascia is very much more faded than the other; both sides had been hit with thick, purple graffiti while in situ. We offered to clean the whole thing, and then return the less-faded side for display inside the café. After a lot of experimentation with cloths, scrapers, and chemicals, we were able to completely remove the graffiti (see below).