; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: The Nine O'Clock Gun

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Nine O'Clock Gun

What to do when bored on a lovely Sunday evening, at quarter to nine? Rush down to Stanley Park to check out the Nine O'Clock Gun of course!!

Every night without fail, Vancouver's Nine O'Clock Gun sounds off, letting out a blast that is heard throughout much of the lower mainland. I often heard it growing up, a sonic boom kind of sound echoing in the air a few seconds past nine from my bedroom where I lay on the bed doing my homework and gabbing on the telephone. Having grown up here all my life, it's funny that I had never actually gone down to the gun to see it in action until quite recently! And let me tell you, that shit is loud!!

I didn't want to look like a total ninny with my hands over my ears, but the anticipation of when the cannon was going to go off was killing me. The only warning you get is a flashing of red lights to prep you for the oncoming blast. But there's no counter, no clock to count the seconds down... just a flashing of lights, and then, BOOM! My ears are still ringing from it.

Currently, there's a year-long exhibit going on that's appropriating the meaning of the nine o'clock gun. Once used to signify the end of the fishing day, or to help in navigation, the nightly shot doesn't hold much meaning any more to Vancouverites, other than being a tourist destination. Artists Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber have designated a different meaning for each day for a year that the gun goes off as a public art project called A Sign For the City.

Look for this month's nightly meaning on posters at bus stops or in full page pullouts in The Georgia Straight.

And if you can't get to Vancouver to check it out, there's always the magic of YouTube:

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