Actually, for a long while around the 70s, the ‘stop’ signs in some areas in Quebec were bilingual, showing both ‘Arrêt’ and ‘Stop’.By the end of the 70s, it was decided to simplify new signs with just one language, ‘Arrêt’ was chosen in most sectors, but ‘Stop’ is also used in other sectors, in Montréal or in Granby, for example.Both are permitted.
The change was gradual, as signs had to be replaced.Bilingual stop signs still exists in Quebec, but that’s mostly in ‘first nations’ areas, such as in Nunavut (Stop and the Inuktituk or Inuinnaqtun equivalent, near Quebec you have signs that include ‘wendat’ version, in Mistassini, etc, etc… There are a few ‘trilingual’ stop signs in those areas.There is no strong opposition for a ‘Stop’ sign in Quebec, but the choice of ‘Arrêt’ was mostly to show the french face of Quebec.
You have to realize that up to the 40s and even 50s, signage in Quebec was in majority in english, even in areas where there was a french majority (this was across the province but when you look at pictures from commercial streets in Montreal, be it downtown or most other neighborhoods it’s pretty evident).So in the context of the quiet revolution, the french population finally took control of their destiny and gradually with bill 101, but in general along with this affirmation, came the desire to make the place a bit more to the image of the people who lived there.So ‘Arrêt’ was not chosen, as some anglophones might think, for a distaste of english, but to ‘fix’ what was up until very recently (at the time) a pervasive english facade for Quebec.
note: In 1968 the Vienna convention adopted the official definition of what the STOP sign should be, and it can be in a local language, for instances in Arabic countries, the stop can be written in Arabic.
That’s curious, probably it has to do with some traffic convention signed by European countries before the EU (Russia and Balkan countries are outside EU and use it for instance) where the STOP sign was defined as STOP, not the translation to the country’s language For example Spain do use STOP where Mexico and other Central American countries do use ALTO and South Americans as well as Puerto Rico, that’s part of USA, PARE, that has the same meaning as ALTO.In Portugal it’s also STOP, but in Brazil is PARE, the same word in Portuguese as in Spanish.In this way it does make sense that Canada (I don’t know about other French speaking countries outside Europe) to use “ARRÊT” instead of “STOP”.
Why does Quebec use “arrêt” for stop signs instead of “stop” like other French countries?”Stop” is a valid French word and used in France.Many in Quebec feel threatened by the English language—understandably so, seeing as they are surrounded by overwhelmingly pervasive English media.