Updating 401 Signs about Cobourg

Many people travelling  on the 401 pass by Cobourg but do not exit – not even to get gas.  There are several signs indicating services and attractions but the boundary signs are provided by the MTO and are free to the Town (the other signs are expensive – more below). Currently the MTO signs say: “Cobourg,  Population 17 500, 2 Interchanges” and are clearly out of date.  MTO allows the addition of a logo and a slogan or welcome message but these were not added at the last update.  All that is required to get the MTO sign changed is a resolution by Council so they are being asked to do that at their meeting on Monday.  CAO Stephen Peacock is recommending the addition of the Town’s Logo and a slogan: “Honouring our Past, Embracing our Future”.  I’m not sure where that came from but it sounds OK.

401 Boundary Sign
401 Boundary Sign

Recently the Fire Department convinced MTO to add improve mileage markers to assist with emergency response (see link below) – it seems to me that better signs indicating which Town you are in would also help. This was probably the reason Debra McCarthy recommended updating the signs at a recent Protection Services meeting.

In his report to Council, CAO Stephen Peacock provided a mockup photo of the proposed sign at right.

Note that the other signs that direct you to Tims or a gas station (or attractions) etc are managed by Canadian TODS limited. The cost for “participation” on signs on both “Mainline and Ramp” is $1,250 per year.  For finding a Tims or a gas station, these are getting to be a waste of money – I find both of these anywhere in North America with my cell-phone apps (although not while driving). If I know the town has a good population (e.g. 19,500) then it will surely have Tims and gas stations – as well as accommodation and restaurants. So the “boundary” signs are useful.

Update – April 2

At the Council’s Committee of the Whole Meeting there was debate on what the slogan should be.  Some felt that given the 2 week window for a decision to get the sign at no charge that the current “Feel Good Town” slogan should be kept.  Others felt that the imminent arrival of a large Marijuana facility in Town made it no longer appropriate,  Another option is to omit the slogan.  To give a week for review, a decision was deferred to the Council meeting on April 9.


Print Article: 


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 April 2018 4:13 pm

In light of marijuana production becoming a major industry here, I think we should stick with “The Feel Good Town”. At least we could brighten everybody’s day with a good belly laugh as they drove by. As for “Honouring our past Embracing our future”, not only is it teeth-grindingly dull but it’s not exactly true either. You honour the past by preserving your heritage – public buildings and small frame houses alike – and you embrace the future by constructing the best buildings, which are sympathetic with the townscape but distinctly modern, and by making decisions about public spaces that will enhance the pleasure of everybody. Victoria Hall is the pride of this town and initially only one councillor – Lenah Fisher – fought to save it. We don’t have any Lenah Fishers on the present council. She found an ally in John Taylor and they worked tirelessly to save Victoria Hall with former skeptics cheering them on as they crossed the finish line, which is so often the case. If it had been up to the other councillors, we’d be parking on the site today. Unfortunately a healthy interest in heritage quickly devolved into an obsession with ersatz quaintness leaving the downtown area looking more and more like Heritage U.S.A. or a town a modern commuter might find himself strolling through when he gets off at the wrong stop in the Twilight Zone. Many historical buildings have fallen since the preservation of Victoria Hall and the desecration of some of our best remaining historical buildings at the hands of developers is nothing short of a heritage crime. You used to be able to see the Town Hall clock from the beach and you had a view of the lake when you walked down Division Street. Now, the lakefront is… Read more »

Walter L. Luedtke
5 April 2018 10:49 am

Sing along with ye CTA Dwarfs and special guest BT:
A one-ah, a two-ah, a three-ah
“We don’t need no culture here in Cobourg,
A town where only squares should have a ball.
And tourists never spend a buck on King Street
So we don’t want no tourists here at all!”
What do you think Wally? Creative, no?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
9 April 2018 4:59 am

Better than the bland gland debris of the pseudos.

Bill Thompson
4 April 2018 10:44 pm

How about changing nothing except adding the Fire Department suggestion ?
For anyone visiting in summertime it is quite obvious by the overly crowded (beach and park) that a large number of people already are aware of Cobourg.
What effect is it actually having in bringing in the much sought after tourist dollars to the downtown is the unanswered question.
We’re all well aware of the continual Outflow of town finances to attract more visitors but how about a report on the actual Inflow of “tourist” dollars to the town…..other than parking tickets.
I don’t mean filling their cars up with gas as that’s a necessary if need be, but real shopping etc. in downtown.
Surely there must be a method to determine from local shop owners what effect the visitors have during the summer months to their business.
Possibly a written survey /questionnaire for business owners to provide their realistic inputs so that local people know if town efforts are successful or not ?

Reply to  Bill Thompson
4 April 2018 10:51 pm

An excellent suggestion! The report should detail not just what was spent but how much actually stayed in Cobourg as salaries and profit for the local merchants.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  Dubious
5 April 2018 11:25 am

Yes! And special forensic accountants supplied by the CTA to check whether the ‘business owners’ are not cooking the books.

Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
5 April 2018 2:50 pm

I’m glad that you agree with the proposal.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
9 April 2018 5:03 am

Perhaps if the locals shopped downtown more often, there wouldn’t be the need to fill the downtown with tourists.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
9 April 2018 8:50 am

Perhaps if the locals shopped downtown more often, there wouldn’t be the need to fill the downtown with tourists.

There isn’t a grocery store. The liquor store is grossly inferior to the one at the mall. There is no home improvement store. There is no Walmart. My lawyer isn’t downtown. I can’t buy a car. I can’t buy tires. I can’t even get my car repaired. There is no gas station. The restaurants don’t appeal to me. I’m too old to canoe. I can bank online. I can order books online. I can buy shoes online or at the mall. I don’t like knickknacks. My kitchen is well equipped. I don’t need dog grooming. I don’t fancy a tattoo. I don’t wear a bra.

Please explain for what I should shop downtown.

Walter L. Luedtke
4 April 2018 10:44 am

“Feel Good Town” does not even begin to describe Cobourg.
Our own FV Pharma has just partnered with Cannabis Wheaton, a group of entrepreneurs who feel ‘passionate’ about Canada’s budding $5 billion weed industry.
Chuck Rifici, the CEO of Cannabis Wheaton, is the past Chief Financial Officer of the Liberal Party of Canada. So?
Seems to me that Cobourg should also feel excited and passionate about the cannabis industry.
How about “Feel High Town” then?

2 April 2018 11:35 am

Like the large sign, but would prefer “Feel Good Town” instead of ” Honouring Our Past”.

2 April 2018 11:19 am

Let’s stick with “Feel Good Town” simply because that’s what it is!

2 April 2018 11:09 am

I agree with most – perhaps CAO, S. Peacock was simply using the “honouring our past….” as an example only. I believe considerable energy and resources have gone into developing a marketing effort around “feel good” so why the town would deviate from that seems senseless, unless there is a change in direction.

Wally Keeler
2 April 2018 11:02 am



Reply to  Wally Keeler
4 April 2018 12:22 am
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
4 April 2018 11:59 am

Of course it was derived from that. I heard the commercial when I was a kid. But so what? What are YOUR fresh, original and creative ideas? I have no doubt that you have a great capacity for creativity and it would be tragic and incredibly selfish to refuse sharing that creativity for the benefit of the Town. C’mon Frenchy, show me up and post YOUR fresh ideas instead of same ole boring stale. If you really want to put me down, then show off your own ideas, fresh ones. C’mon, Frenchy, you can do it. Everyone is waiting for your fresh ideas.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
4 April 2018 2:14 pm

How about:
“It’s alright here” – old one from Dunedin
“Be Inspired” – Korea
“Best enjoyed slowly” – Latvia
As original and fresh as yours, right?

I merely stated yours wasn’t a very original idea.
You copy, borrow, steal, cut/paste everyone else’s ideas and present them as your own, all the while vigorously chastising everyone for not offering “fresh, original and creative”.

From the Urban Dictionary:
Someone who tells people to not do things they themselves do. Worse are those who insult people for doing the same things they do.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
4 April 2018 10:11 pm

Oh Frenchy, I’ve never claimed every idea is original, unique and creative by me. I have offered some that were exactly those things, but not all. The nature of creativity is something that appears to have passed you by. That’s unfortunate. But calling for fresh new ideas, they can be found everywhere if one looks. The point is that they are not stale. Stale ideas are as bad as no ideas at all. “You copy, borrow, steal, cut/paste everyone else’s ideas and present them as your own, ” This displays your ignorance about creativity. I write original poems using the same language that billions use. All the words have been written by someone else. But you got one thing very wrong. I do not present them as MY OWN. Put that in your brain and keep it there. “vigorously chastising everyone” The only people I chastise is Frenchy and Dubious because both have never posited a fresh new idea, either from themselves or from any where or anyone else. Pathetic. The slogans you posit have not been altered. The three slogans contain no wit, no play on words. My slogan, “Cobourg Feels Good like a Small Town Should” is a mimicry of the Winston’s slogan: Winstons tastes good like a cigarette should. The rhythm of the slogan is familiar to everyone, except millennials perhaps. The slogan contains the same jingle meter. I reworked the slogan to make it fit Cobourg. You did nothing to the three slogans you offered, NOTHING. Compared to you I did SOMETHING to the original slogan. You nothing, me something. The something was creativity. The nothing is the absence of creativity. I still await one single sample of a fresh idea from you. Just a bit of wit. C’mon, really, everyone should be able to do… Read more »

John Draper
Reply to  Wally Keeler
4 April 2018 10:43 pm

Enough on this thread – please stay on topic.

2 April 2018 9:15 am

Haven’t used it recently but the exit ramp sign for Division was very confusing – as I recall it implied that Baltimore was the same exit as the southern route – if the signs are being updated, this shld be checked out… Like the Feel Good Town motto – good to have a consistent message and Cobourg’s record of Preserving its Past is not exactly stellar.

Reply to  Resident
4 April 2018 2:37 pm

Agreed here. Very confusing. Sign needs to be changed!

2 April 2018 9:04 am

I’d like to see a mileage sign for Cobourg just past Oshawa. Or add it to the one mentioning Port Hope. That would definitely help put Cobourg on the map for eastbound 401 travellers.

2 April 2018 9:01 am

Put Cobourg on Your Cell Ph app as a destination What For the Beach— its cold out here 6 Months of the Yr.
with a Pot leaf on 1 side and a Maple Leaf That will bring them in ,

People can find Cobourg if they want to or there’s a Reason just look at all those Hockey Tournament families that have been Hang town in Hotels — Bored out of their minds with their Kids looking for something to do all week end between games

2 April 2018 8:21 am

Never mind the flat road signs on the 401 why do we have a big landscape sign on the Ontario St bridge if we do not maintain it – it is a disgrace and brings down the reputation of the parks Dept.

2 April 2018 7:43 am

Why aren’t “Tourism Related” business required to pay a tax premium to cover the costs?

Reply to  Dice
2 April 2018 5:58 pm

Sure add another tax to small businesses. The tourist related businesses are getting hit hard enough by taxes…..

Reply to  Dave
3 April 2018 1:08 pm

I think not.. I would be quite happy (and my employer too) if Cobourg Never got another tourist..

So If tourism wants the income, should they not pay the costs?

1 April 2018 9:23 pm

Why do we Need French signs, we are not French town. In Quebec they don’t have signs in English.

Miriam Mutton
1 April 2018 8:09 pm

The staff memo suggests that public engagement is n/a. However, this may be a good opportunity to get ideas for a welcome or slogan.

My choice would be a welcome message. And since the sign is on one of Canada’s busiest highways, a welcome in both English and French.

Reply to  Miriam Mutton
1 April 2018 10:33 pm

If a bilingual sign attracts Francophone visitors they will be challenged to find services in French!

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
2 April 2018 11:07 am

A welcome sign with wit. I notice that no commentator on this issue has any fresh, new, original or imaginative ideas to suggest. Sad.

1 April 2018 7:52 pm

“Honouring our past, Embracing our Future”? Really? Now we can be like every single other small town in Ontario which uses that phrase in some form or another. Between that and the “Cobourg” sign that was recommended by the waterfront we can be perfectly like everyone else.

Why not use the “Feel Good” town phrase, it’s cheesy but atleast it’s unique.

Reply to  Durka
1 April 2018 9:03 pm

“Feel Good” town sounds great, but since the addition of the marijuana plant, it may be taken the wrong way and possibly invite sarcasm.

Rusty Brown
Reply to  Susie-Q
2 April 2018 3:21 am

The thought of sarcasm doesn’t bother me. As Oscar Wilde [1856-1900] once said: “There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

Reply to  Rusty Brown
2 April 2018 6:33 am

Let the marijuana plant add to the lore of the “feel good” town. Who cares? It’s being legalized for a reason. Susie-Q seems to be ashamed of the thought for some reason. I personally think we should run with it.