The 9 o’clock gun

1) here’s me video-taping the gun firing … at 18 sec mark

You can set your watch in Vancouver by three things no matter where you are in the downtown – the whistle of the Gastown steam clock (though increasingly the poor thing is wonky and opts to whistle more when it wants than on every quarter of the hour); the 12 noon Canada Place whistle (which blasts out the first 4 notes of O Canada) and the 9 o’clock gun near Brockton Point at Stanley Park.  Some considerable historical mystery continues to surround the gun. We do know it is a 12-pound muzzle-loaded naval cannon. We do know it was cast in Woolwhich, England in 1816. We do know it appeared in Stanley Park in about 1894. Note the ‘about’ there. We don’t really know that for sure but it’s a best guess. There are no end of stories as to how the gun appeared in Vancouver and you can do a google search yourself to read about the various theories.

We also do know the gun was first fired – at noon not 9PM – on 15 October 1898.  At some mysterious time later the firing was moved to 9PM, purportedly to allow ship chronometers in port to be accurately set (before that the Brockton Point lighthouse keeper actually lit a stick of dynamite over the water…. my, how’d you like that job?!). Although the gun nowadays is fired automatically with an electronic trigger, Vancouver Parks Board staff still load the gun daily with a black powder charge.

The gun has not fired 4 times since its inception – twice thanks to University of BC engineering students; once thanks to World War II and once, inexplicably, without reason in May 2011.

We gather most nights on our balcony to watch the gun fire and count the seconds after the smoke flash announces its firing and the moment when we actually hear it – usually 10 seconds.  Last night we cycled down to join a mob there most nights to watch it live from ground zero. I had said to G I figured it would be anti-climatic … but, as the video above attests, I was wrong. It’s bloody loud when sitting right behind it!

IMG_3328 (1024x765)2) the view looking east from behind the gun

IMG_3332 (1024x765)3) G admires the city from Stanley Park

IMG_3333 (1024x765)4) ready to fire

Last night we also opted to sous vide a 28oz porterhouse we had our butcher cut for us. The blessed steak was as large as my head and consists of the striploin on the larger side and the tenderloin on the smaller side.  After sous viding it for about 2.5 hours we then deep-fried it for about a minute and served it up with a good bottle of Nk’mip Qwam Qwmt Cab Sav, jumbo scallops, homemade popovers and some snap peas. Fabulous!

IMG_3315 (1024x765)5) that’s one big steak

IMG_3314 (1024x765)6) ready for the sous vide machine

IMG_3316 (1024x765)7) in she goes

IMG_3320 (1024x765)8) after the sous vide, season then deep fry

IMG_3323 (1024x765)9) result is yummy … striploin is on top of the bone; tenderloin beneath it

IMG_3327 (1024x765)10) the final dish is served with some mushrooms and delicious jus G made

IMG_3317 (1024x765)IMG_3318 (1024x765)11 & 12) G’s seafood coquette appetizer was awesomely good

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