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What Is The 9 O’ Clock Gun
7 Nov

What Is The 9 O’ Clock Gun?

If you have an interest in Canadian history, then you might know that at one point it was a British colony. The large swathe of North American land still has some traces of its English past. For instance, the city of Victoria was named after the British Queen at the time, whilst the province that it is the capital of is literally called British Columbia! Guests of the Hotel L’Hermitage Vancouver are well placed to explore the region’s British colonial past.

But this blog will focus on one artifact in particular. The 9 O’ Clock Gun is a relic of the province’s British past but also a symbol of the city’s strength and unity. Whether you’re a guest of hotels with pools in Vancouver taking a walk round the famed Stanley Park, or you’re setting out for a spot of city sightseeing, one landmark you can’t miss, and definitely will hear, is the 9 O’ Clock Gun.

What Is The 9 O’ Clock Gun? 

A muzzle loaded naval cannon dating back to 1816, the Gun was originally built in Woolwich, England and was only brought to Vancouver just under 80 years later. Overlooking the Vancouver Harbour, the gun was transported for the purposes of firing at 6 pm every Sunday, to alert fishermen of closing time for their work.

Design Of The 9 O’ Clock Gun 

The 9 O’ Clock Gun is decorated with a monogram of King George III, who was the King of England at the time. The Master General of the Ordnance Henry Phipps is also mentioned on the engraving. Specifically speaking, the gun is a 12 pound muzzled cannon, typical of early 19th century armaments.


For guests of Vancouver accommodation downtown, the 9 O’ Clock Gun is easy to find overlooking Coal Harbor on the Stanley Park Seawall Walk. Look to your right and you’ll see the gun locked within a cage (added around it due to the risk of vandalism).

Does The Gun Still Fire? 

The gun does indeed still fire. Every day at 9 pm, the gun shoots off a black powder charge that is electronically triggered on an automatic timer. The idea is that with its daily noise, the general population can signal the time, much like the chiming of a clock tower. It was also intended to help the chronometers on ships in the harbor to reset themselves accurately. For this reason, the gun actually goes off slightly before 9 pm, thus traditionally allowing ships the time to set their clocks.

Though the rise in digital technology rendered the gun’s job redundant, it still goes off every night and on New Years Eve at midnight to mark the new year.

A Landmark In And Of Itself 

Despite its practical usage, the Gun has overseen many changes in Vancouver over the years and has changed a lot itself. Nowadays, it is stationed within a refurbished pavilion, introduced on its centenary in 1986. Guests of luxury Vancouver hotels who want to see the gun in action can still do so, and will see the fluorescent lights illuminating the gun from above go out exactly 10 seconds before the firing, and return a few seconds after, symbolizing the tenacity and history of the city.