SARNIA, ONT. -- In Sarnia, a new pandemic craze sees businesses take verbal shots at each other through signs.

Started by a local radio host, the effort is designed to give a social media boost to suffering businesses, hard hit by the lockdown.

While many of the signs feature some tongue at cheek adult humour, it seems the craze is welcomed.

From the outskirts to the downtown, dozens of businesses have joined the war of words.

In one case, a garden centre took a shot at a trophy shop down the street. Peter Sparks, of All Seasons Trophies, fired back.

“I think it’s fantastic that a garden centre and I can do something together, or a hair salon and a liquor store. Everybody seems to be friendly about and building relationships”.

Sarnia, Ont. sign war (Facebook)

Sarnia, Ont. sign war (Facebook)

Although Sarnia’s sign war is currently the largest in Canada, the idea began in the US and has spread to other places including Listowel.

Max Major of 106.3 Cool FM started the Sarnia effort last Friday. Since then it has well, blown-up, online. Major has had inquires from all over the world, and tens of thousands of views on his social media posts.

“This is just a great opportunity to just let off some steam. It’s like a pressure release valve, or at least for a moment.

Max Major

Sarnia radio host Max Major on April 28, 2021. (Sean Irvine CTV News)

That’s especially true for locked-down businesses looking for any kind of cross-promotion. Tammy Maur, of Pharmasave Pharmacy, took a jab at the adult store across the road with a sign reading “The Stag Shop can elevate mood. Pharmasave elevates everything else”.

Maure says it’s all in good fun.

Tammy Maure

Tammy Maure, of Pharmasave on London Road, stands her entry in Sarnia’s sign war. Many of the signs have tongue and cheek adult themes. (Sean Irvine CTV News)

“Because everybody needs to smile right now, so if you can pick on each other, and have some fun doing it, and everybody laughs then it’s worth it.”

And Maure says that is true even if only mom and dad get most of the humour.

“Nobody has taken it the wrong way, all the posts are positive and funny, they’re laughing.” A senior passing by agreed.

“Absolutely, at this time in our lives, why not?”

Sarnia, Ont. sign war (Facebook)

Sarnia, Ont. sign war (Facebook)

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley welcomes the fun.

“Have had no complaint on the signs, and if so would so say lighten up. As Monty Python would say ‘it's time for something different’, in these humorless times and let's laugh.”

Watch the video above if you’d like to see a fun take on Sarnia’s sign war.