Vancouver Icons: Nine O’Clock Gun

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

It has been 7 years since I first wrote a blog post about the Nine O’Clock Gun in Stanley Park. It’s one of those things that my husband and I walk by and he says to me: “You should blog that!” — and thanks to his suggestions over the years I’ve “blogged that” over 5,570 times, but I digress. The boom of the Nine O’Clock Gun is a part of life in Vancouver, just like the O Canada! Heritage Horns at Canada Place that chime at noon. Firing in Vancouver since 1898, today’s Vancouver Icons photo post features the Nine O’Clock Gun:

1930: Archives #St Pk P121, Leonard Frank Photos.

Nine O’Clock Gun

The cannon was more than 70 years old before it ever got to Vancouver. What had it been doing all that time? Probably poking out of the side of a British ship, but there’s no record of what ship, or where the ship served. Back around 1816, most of Britain’s troubles seemed to be happening inside its own borders … but India was being subdued and maybe the gun saw service there.
[Read more from Chuck Davis: History of Metropolitan Vancouver]

1943: Archives #CVA 586-1645.

Why was the cannon set up in the park? The usual explanation is that it was originally installed by the federal department of fisheries to be shot off at 6pm to alert salmon fishermen in the harbor that it was closing time for fishing. Some variants of that add it was used for that reason on Sundays only. Then, the story continues, as fishermen moved farther out of the harbor in pursuit of fish, the use of the gun for signalling the fishing curfew became an anachronism, but it was decided to retain the gun as a time signal with the boom re-scheduled to 9pm.
[Read more from Chuck Davis: History of Metropolitan Vancouver]

9 olock gun

1921: VPL# 21146, Dominion Photo Co. & 1932: VPL# 6233, Leonard Frank Photos.

9 O'Clock Gun
Photo credit: The Eggplant on Flickr

9 olock gun 9 olock gun 9 olock gun

9 o'clock gun

Olympic City over Burrard Inlet
Photo credit: Frederick Lin on Flickr

Fiery Explosion
Photo credit: Wayneson Chan on Flickr

9 O'Clock Gun
Photo credit: K D Photos on Flickr


Previous Vancouver Icons posts: Malkin Bowl, Search, Vancouver Rowing Club, Echoes, Point Atkinson Lighthouse, English Bay Inukshuk, Hollow Tree, Hotel Europe, Lions Gate Bridge Lions, LightShed, Granville Bridge, 217.5 Arc x 13′, Canoe Bridge, Vancouver Block, Bloedel Conservatory, Centennial Rocket, Canada Place, Old Courthouse/Vancouver Art Gallery, Dominion Building, Science World, Gastown Steam Clock, SFU Burnaby, Commodore Lanes, Siwash Rock, Kitsilano Pool, White Rock Pier, Main Post Office, Planetarium Building, Lord Stanley Statue, Vancouver Library Central Branch, Victory Square, Digital Orca, The Crab Sculpture, Girl in Wetsuit, The Sun Tower, The Hotel Vancouver, The Gassy Jack Statue, The Marine Building, and The Angel of Victory. Should you have a suggestion for the Vancouver Icons series please feel free to leave a note in the comments. It should be a thing, statue, or place that is very visible and recognizable to the public.

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