If you find yourself on the seawall heading towards the tip of Brockton Point you will see the Nine O’clock Gun, caged in an enclosure and facing out across the water to the downtown core.
Many visitors to the park - and indeed to the city itself – have not heard of the gun and quite a few are more than a little surprised when the boom echoes across Vancouver and beyond every evening. This event occurs at, of course, nine o’clock and draws quite the crowd at the gun’s location. Be warned though, the blast is extremely loud!
The bronze gun has quite a history attached to it. As a naval cannon, weighing in at 1500lbs, (680kg) it was cast in 1816 in Woolwich, England. It is unknown what action, if any, it saw when it belonged to the navy but it made its way over to Canada in 1856 when the British gave us a total of sixteen cannon and a few of those ended up here on the west coast. The Stanley Park gun then showed up in Nanaimo, again in Esquimalt, until finally arriving at its home at Brockton Point in 1898.
Originally the gun appears to have been installed here by the Department of Fisheries to signal to the salmon fishermen that they were to halt fishing at 6pm on Sundays. The firing of the gun at 9pm was established as a time signal to ships in the area that otherwise had no method of checking their time. With the nightly blast they could now accurately set their chronometers.
Although no longer needed as a timepiece, the tradition of the gun firing at nine has remained with us in Vancouver for well over a century and is well worth experiencing, especially on a beautiful summer’s evening.
9:00 pm everyday this is the site to see at Stanley Park. Be warned its very LOUD!!!