This is a traffic signal cabinet, according to the City of Burnaby website. It’s a utilitarian thing that must be placed at intervals if electricity is to be passed into the right appliances. In the UK these are mostly grey, unattractive and covered in graffiti. In 2008 Burnaby decided to try wrapping the boxes in attractive nature or historic scenes as a way to deter the graffiti monkeys. When we first saw them we didn’t know about the graffiti thing, and just thought “What a lovely way to make a boring thing more interesting.” Now I know about the real purpose, and it makes me notice the lack of graffiti generally. Perhaps it’s a bit like the litter – people still drop litter, but other people will pick it up because of pride in their neighbourhood, and thus less litter is dropped. Graffiti is dealt with quickly, the police will attend and fingerprint and the City publishes a guide to spotting if your child is indulging his or her creative spirit in a slightly too public manner (“Dob In Your Own Kid Scheme!” – no, not really). It’s all part of the Broken Windows Theory of policing – if you keep the place looking nice, the bad stuff won’t happen (this is a very simplistic explanation, obviously – this blogging is supposed to be fun).