The Curious Code of Pan Am Street Signs

Just take the HOV To RCY, OBVIOUSLY.

July 10 marks the beginning of the Pan Am games in Toronto, but they’re already making their presence known with HOV lanes beginning June 29 and, now, mysteriously coded street signs.

Signs with 3 letter codes that look like airport IDs are popping up on the highways to mark each of the 34 venues, designed to help guide ticket holders to the correct competition locations, like RCY (aka Sugar Beach, named after the Royal Canadian Yacht Club). There are now over 5,000 signs in the GTA.

“The signage we’re unveiling today (Tuesday) plays a critical role for the games,” said Saad Rafi, the Pan Am CEO. But, he had some difficulty understanding some of the code himself.

Ticket holders, though, won’t be so stumped: the acronyms on the signs match the acronyms on their tickets, and they’ve also got pictograms of the sports they’re going to see. AND, they’re the same in English, French and Spanish.

“The prevailing opinion is that’s the best way to make sure that we have people getting to the venues on time,” said Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca.

“All of these were focus tested, not only the three-letter code but the three-letter code in combination with the pictogram and also people were asked about how to distinguish the signs,” Rafi said.

“Since these signs are just now going up, I think we should give everybody a chance to get used to where they want to go.”

So, can you decode these street signs? Head over to to take the quiz and find out.