How Can We Help?
< All Topics

Why is there an Upside-Down Traffic Light?

Tipperary Hill has the world’s only upside-down traffic light at the intersection of Tompkins Ave and Milton Ave (which turns into Burnet Park Drive after the intersection). Unless you happen to be red-green color-blind, you’ll notice the green signal is actually on top, and the red signal is on the bottom, and the yellow is still in the middle. You may also notice a statue and park on the north-east corner of the intersection.

Tipp Hill is a historically Irish neighborhood, which was popular with Irish immigrants from Ireland’s county Tipperary, hence where it get’s it name. In the 1920’s, a group of local Irish youth, known now as “stonethrowers”, did not want the “British red” above their “Irish green” so they threw stones at the red light to break it. The city replaced the signal several times due to the damage before finally replacing it with a custom traffic light with the green signal on top.

Today stands a monument to the stonethrowers in a tiny park next to the intersection. One of the figures can be seen pointing to the green light on top. Every year at midnight, on the eve of St Patrick’s Day, neighborhood residents gather to paint a giant green shamrock in the center of the intersection.

Table of Contents