I don’t quite remember how I came to realize that Vancouver has one of the strangest traditions I’ve ever come across. It wasn’t long until I wanted to check it out for myself. If you happen to be in Stanley Park at ten seconds before 21:00 an alarm begins to sound, red lights flash and people in the area stand motionless in perfect unison. Then, even though you’re expecting it –
there’s a deafening explosion as Vancouver’s 12 pound gun sparks to life and fires. Apparently, it can be heard as far away as Mission, British Columbia over 60kms away at about 3 minutes past the hour. The canon itself is almost 200 years old and although fired electronically now, has been sounding out the time in Vancouver’s Harbour (almost every night) since 1898.
A little more on the 9 o’clock gun’s history can be found here.