9 O'Clock Gun
The 9 O'Clock Gun is a cannon located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, that is ordinarily shot daily at 21:00 (9 p.m.) PT. From 30 March to 30 April 2020, the gun is set to fire at 19:00 (7 p.m.), in support of local health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The gun is a 12-pound muzzle-loaded naval cannon, cast in Woolwich, England in 1816. The crests of King George III and Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave, Master-General of the Ordnance at the time the cannon was cast, are on the barrel. Seventy-eight years later, in about 1894, it was brought to Stanley Park by the Department of Marine and Fisheries to warn fishermen of the 18:00 Sunday close of fishing. On October 15, 1898, the gun was fired for the first time in Stanley Park at noon.
The 21:00 firing was later established as a time signal for the general population and to allow the chronometers of ships in port to be accurately set. The Brockton Point lighthouse keeper, William D. Jones, originally detonated a stick of dynamite over the water until the cannon was installed. The cannon is now activated automatically with an electronic trigger which was installed by the Parks Board electrical department. It is still loaded daily with a black powder charge. The fluorescent lights illuminating the gun from overhead go out exactly ten seconds before it fires, and turn back on a few seconds afterward.
The clock used to time the firing of the gun runs slightly fast, such that towards the end of each year, the gun fires up to 50 seconds before 9pm. At New Year's Day, the clock seems to be reset, and the gun goes off at 9pm again.
The 9 O'Clock Gun has been silent for at least seven periods: once during World War II, in 1969 when it was stolen and held by University of British Columbia Engineering students until a "ransom" was donated to BC Children's Hospital, in 2007 during a work stoppage, in 2008 when UBC Engineering students painted it red, and on 20 May 2011, July 22, 2017, July 26, 2017, August 8, 2019, October 7, 2019, November 17, 2019, November 26, 2019 with no explanation. After the 1969 theft, the cannon was surrounded by a stone and metal enclosure as shown in the photo.
The gun was restored and sheltered by a new pavilion designed by architect Gregory Henriquez in 1986 and built as a centennial gift to the city from Ebco Industries, Chester Millar, First Generation Capital, and the Hudson's Bay Company.
In the past there was a Texaco floating gas station permanently anchored in line with the gun and in 1964 someone was able to toss rocks from the beach below into the barrel which then perforated the 'O' in the large illuminated sign above the barge. The barge was moved slightly after that event.
At noon on Canada Day (1 July), three additional cannons were added to the sea wall just to the West of the 9 O'Clock Gun. These three cannons each fired seven times, resulting in a 21 gun salute.
- Ip, Stephanie (29 March 2020). "COVID-19: Stanley Park's Nine O'Clock Gun to fire two hours earlier for health-care workers". Vancouver Sun. Postmedia. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
- "British Cannonball Sizes". arc.id.au.
- "Vancouver's Nine O'Clock Gun". Retrieved 2008-05-28.
- "Nine O'Clock Gun (@the9oclockgun) - Twitter". twitter.com.
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