Relight The Neon


Mark Scheuer working restoring the Flashback neon sign in the workshop of City Neon PHOTO BY Peter Hays/Tangerine Productions

Historic Edmonton Gay Bar Sign Joins Neon Sign Museum

Edmonton – June 15, 2023

“Never in the history of the 2SLGBTQ+ community in Edmonton have we ever had such a visible, prominent and permanent display of our community” says Ron Byers, Director of the Rainbow Story Hub Foundation.

“Come out and listen to some great disco supplied by Flashback’s own DJ Mikee (Michael Brennan), hear from the man behind it all – John Reid and cheer with us as we witness the neon Flashback sign get turned on once again…. permanently… as it takes its place at the historic Neon Sign Museum” Byers says.

This Saturday, June 17, 2023 starting at 2:00 PM join co-hosts Rainbow Story Hub Foundation and the Edmonton Queer History Project as they present “Relight The Neon” which will celebrate this historic moment on 104 Street downtown outside the Neon Sign Museum.

They called it Canada’s Studio 54. The infamous Flashback nightclub was established by owner John Reid as a celebratory haven for ‘gay people and their friends’ in the tumultuous 1980s. After it closed in 1991 the club’s iconic neon sign was lost from the public view – until now.

The Alberta Sign Association and its member City Neon has finished restoring the sign, and it will be raised on the South wall of the Mercer Warehouse as part of the Neon Sign Museum at 104th Street and 104th Avenue on June 17, 2023.

Speaking at the event will be David Johnston – Senior Heritage Planner with the City of Edmonton, Erik Houde – President of the Alberta Sign Association, Darrin Hagen – renowned Edmonton Playwright and Queer Historian with the Edmonton Queer History Project who will introduce the man behind Flashback – owner John Reid.

Also we will be joined by Hon. Randy Boissonnault (MP – Edmonton Centre, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance), David Shepherd (MLA, Edmonton-City Centre), Janis Irwin (MLA, Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood) & Brooks Arcand-Paul (MLA-Elect, Edmonton-West Henday)

The event goes rain or shine!

About Rainbow Story Hub Foundation
An online resource sharing the oral histories of the 2SLGBTQ+ community in the Greater Edmonton region. Through written articles, podcast, photos and videos we bring the stories of our communities history to life from the views of those who lived it.

About Edmonton Queer History Project
An initiative aimed at documenting and preserving the history and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It seeks to highlight the struggles, triumphs, and contributions of queer individuals and communities throughout the city’s history.


Ron Byers – Director
Rainbow Story Hub Foundation
780-488-3313 (not for publication)

Dr. Kristopher Wells
Associate Professor & Canada Research Chair
MacEwan University
Edmonton Queer History Project Founder
587-987-1068 (not for publication)

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Photo can be used with Photo Credit. Link to file:
Stock photos of the Neon Sign Museum can be used (preferably the South wall of the Mercer Warehouse)

Additional Resources

Facebook Event Listing: Event Listing:

Explore Edmonton Event Listing:

Downtown Business Association Event Listing:

Background reference sources:

Edmonton City As Museum Project – Flashback and The Gay Drag Races – Michael Phair

Edmonton City As Museum Project – Flashback to Flashback – Rob Browatzke and Ron Byers

Edmonton Queer History Project – Flashback

Edmonton Journal – Screenshots: Edmonton’s famous Flashback club gets documentary treatment – Savannah Parker

CBC News Interactive – ‘The town halls, the town squares, for all of us’ – Patrick Connolly

Taproot Edmonton – Flashback, baby! It’s the Summer of Pride – Shayne Giles

The Edmonton Queen: The Final Voyage – Book by Darrin Hagen

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Author: Ron Byers and Kristopher Wells


My name is David but my online nick almost everywhere is Altabear. I'm a web developer, graphic artist and outspoken human rights (and by extension, mens rights) advocate. Married to my gorgeous husband for 12 years, together for 25 and living with our partner of 4 years, in beautiful Edmonton, Canada.

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