The covering of a ghost sign in Winnipeg’s Exchange District has sparked a conversation about preserving pieces of Winnipeg’s past.

Red River College is installing a new sign overtop the existing Royal Bank of Canada ghost sign at the Paterson Global Foods Institute.

The sign will be 36 feet wide and 30 feet tall and it will display the names of the Paterson Global Foods Institute and Red River College.

The new sign will not be painted on, that’s not allowed, instead it will be placed overtop the Royal Bank ghost sign eventually covering the entire ghost sign.

Red River College spokesperson Conor Lloyd said it received approval from the City of Winnipeg to go ahead with the work.

Lloyd said the placement and positioning of the new sign was approved as part of the construction and design phase in the “preservation of the iconic heritage building.”

The Paterson Global Foods Institute used to be home to the Union Bank which opened in 1904 and later became the Royal Bank of Canada building in 1925.

There are close to 150 ghost signs in Winnipeg’s Exchange District.

Matt Cohen with the Advertising Association of Winnipeg, organizes ghost sign walking tours every summer.

Cohen said he knew the Royal Bank sign would eventually be covered but he said that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“It gets people to appreciate the signs,” said Cohen.

Cohen is confident heritage designation will protect other ghost signs from getting covered up because the signs are considered a character-defining element of historical buildings.

Building owners can’t cover them up unless they get a special permit from the City of Winnipeg.

“In the case of the sign at 504 Main Street, Union Bank Building (which is on the List of Historical Resources), the applicant received approval via the issuance of a heritage permit to install a new sign over the Royal Bank ghost sign by employing best practices for heritage conservation, specifically that the new intervention is ultimately reversible and will not cause undue damage to the ghost sign beneath,” the city said in a statement to CTV.