Summer in Review

With the days already growing shorter, the colour of the leaves starting to change and crops reaching their harvest point, Vancouver is ready for the fall season. Since next Friday is the first day of Autumn, why not reminisce on everything that happened this past summer in BC.

Honda Celebration of Lights

Watching the magnificent firework displays along Vancouver’s beaches is an annual tradition. This year’s competitors were South Korea, Sweden and South Africa. Each created an unbelievable combination of fireworks, related to the theme of ‘Love’. However, the overall winner of both the Judges’ and the People’s Choice was South Korea.

Credit: geebird11 via Instagram

Pride Parade

Another annual event in the summer is the Vancouver Pride Parade, which brings together people from all over the city. Again this year, the parade was a success, and we even received a visit from our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.


This year, we saw another season of the devastation that can be caused by wildfires. At one point, there were approximately 600 fires burning across BC at the same time. As a result, the province entered a state of emergency and also required the presence of the Canadian Armed Forces. Only within the last 2 weeks have the fires begun to lessen; however, the damage will have a lasting effect on our beautiful province. Below is a photo of one of our tour guides on the lake during mid-summer, surrounded by smoke. 

Credit: Stephen Elgar


Caramel apples covered with crickets, KitKat fries, and all sorts of delicious foods were present at this year’s Pacific National Exhibition. Also, new this year to the Fair, was the jousting show, Knights of Valour. Viewers could watch real and heartstopping, unchoreographed matches between professional jousters. Huzzah!

Credit: Tourism Vancouver/PNE

Cloudraker Skybridge 

A new suspension bridge opened up this past summer, and the Cloudraker Skybridge offers some of the best views in Whistler. Were you daring enough to walk 140 metres across the Whistler Bowl from the Peak to the West Ridge?

Vancouver Art Gallery

This summer, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s feature exhibit felt like it was made for a Canadian. The exhibit, called Cabin Fever, showcases the culture behind the architecture of a typical cabin in North America.

Royal BC Museum

In Victoria, the new exhibit at the Royal BC Museum, Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs, had everyone talking. The displays feature ancient artifacts and visitors had the opportunity to explore the mysteries of the Eqyptian civilization. Check out one of our previous blog posts for a complete review of the exhibit. Fortunately, visitors have until December to check out the displays for themselves.

Vallea Lumina

Another new attraction to open up in Whistler this summer was the multimedia night walk called Vallea Lumina. The story focuses on the tale of two long-lost hikers who stumble into a world of enchantment and light amongst the forgotten legends of Whistler.

Bard on the Beach

Hopefully, everyone had the chance to brush up on their Shakespeare with Bard on the Beach. This summer’s shows included As You Like It, Macbeth, Time in Athens, and Lysistrata.

Credit: Stephen Elgar


We wish we could sit and go over everything that happened this summer, but hopefully, our blog brings back a few recent memories. Was there anything you experienced this summer that should be on this list? Share it with us on social media!

History of the Nine O’Clock Gun

Credit: Graham Cox


Not far from the Georgia Street entrance of Vancouver’s Stanley Park rests the famous Nine O’Clock Gun. One of the city’s older monuments, this gun has watched Vancouver expand into the metropolis it is today. 

Unlike so many landmarks that reach a point where they shift from an active member of the community to a retired piece of history, the Nine O’Clock Gun continues to not only be used but every once in a while make a few local headlines. From lightning strikes to kidnappings, few have lived like the Nine O’Clock Gun. So join us as we explore the exciting adventures of this historic artifact of Vancouver.


Going into specifics, the ‘gun’ is actually a cast-iron navy type, twelve pound, muzzle-loader cannon. Although it was cast in 1816 in England, it didn’t reach Vancouver’s shore until 1894. Its original purpose was for local fishermen to set their chronometers and warn them that the fishing day was coming to a close. Previously, a stick of dynamite had been used on a fishing-rod (a much-needed improvement – especially for whoever had to light the dynamite!).

The Nine O’Clock Gun continues to fire today; every evening at 9:00 pm. Additionally, it has been fired to signal the start of the New Year, the moment of silence in the Remembrance Day ceremony, and the end of WW2. The gun was also fired for the death of its oldest friend, Captain WD Jones, who had been tasked with firing the gun for many years.

Credit: Tourism Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic


Throughout its life, there have been times when the gun has remained silent. First in 1936, when a defective firing cap needed replacing and secondly, during the entirety of the Second World War. Also, in 1956, the city paused all firings due to damage. It seems that after 50 years of active duty, the Nine O’Clock Gun required heavy repairs.

With the barrel appearing thin and worn, and a small hole noticed, repairs involved 100 pounds of bronze welded to the cannon’s surface. Had this not been successful, the gun would have needed to be replaced, and an important piece of Vancouver’s history would have been lost.

While time and age seem to affect the gun the most, it also once met the misfortune of a lightning strike, which delayed the firing by almost 2 hours. The result was a series of electric failures requiring repair.

Credit: tyler.the.photographer via Instagram

Pranks and Ransoms

The Nine O’clock Gun has also seen its share of pranks by local hooligans. One reason for the metal cage that now surrounds the gun, is the various attempts to place large rocks inside the barrel. The first time this happened, the floating Chevron Gas Station in Vancouver’s harbour had to replace their damaged sign. The second time, rocks showered the decks of nearby boats.

The second reason for the cage and the most infamous prank was because, in 1969, the gun was discovered missing. Soon after came the ransom note reading:


The city never did donate the money, although community members actually raised $400 and donated themselves. Part of the reason for the lack of official city response was due to the timing of the kidnapping – around the same time as the start of the University of British Columbia’s engineering week, a time where pranks occur annually. In the end, the gun was returned and no other kidnappings have occurred.       

Credit: Tourism Vancouver/Barberstock Films


Whether you are a visitor that stays late to watch the firing or a local who uses the blast as a curfew warning, it is hard to imagine Vancouver life without the Nine O’Clock Gun.



Russwurm, L. (2013, November 07). Vancouver Was Awesome: The Adventures of the Nine O’Clock Gun |. Retrieved August 22, 2018, from https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/2013/11/06/vancouver-was-awesome-the-adventures-of-the-nine-oclock-gun/                                     

History of Vancouver – Nine O’Clock Gun at Stanley Park. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.vancouverhistory.ca/archives_gun.htm

Post, M. (2013, May 30). History of Stanley Park Nine O’clock Gun. Retrieved from https://www.insidevancouver.ca/2013/05/30/history-of-stanley-park-nine-oclock-gun/


Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs – Exhibit Review

Credit: Royal BC Museum

Ancient Egypt has always enthralled the world with its mysteries. So when the Royal BC Museum announced its latest feature exhibit, it was easy to see why people began planning their next trip to Victoria. Given the enchanting title of, “Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs,” visitors have the chance to explore the wonders of the ancient Egyptian civilization.

Exhibits of this grandeur are usually something you’d find in the halls of European museums. In particular, many people are excited about the fact that this exhibit offers an in-depth look into the entirety of the Egyptian culture.

Credit: Royal BC Museum

The overall verdict? Whether you’re an amateur archaeologist or someone looking for something to do this weekend, this exhibit should be on everyone’s must-see list.

The exhibit showcases history ranging from the Predynastic Era (5000-3000 BC) to the Greco-Roman Period (333 BC – 313 AD). Within these periods, the displays are then divided into sections illustrating aspects of average life for the Egyptian people. These sections include:

  • Landscape/Climate
  • Gods/Goddesses/Mythology
  • Pharaohs
  • The Citizens/ Private Life/Hieroglyphics
  • Architecture/Sacred Temples
  • Beauty
  • Funerals and the Afterlife

Many of the visitors seemed to favour the sections that focused on the mythology, the pharaohs, and the funeral preparations. That might be Hollywood’s influence since the movies tend to focus on these aspects, but it was interesting to see fact separated from fantasy.

Credit: Royal BC Museum

Here you get to see the complexities of a culture where most everyday things symbolized something far grander. Animals were not only food but sacred pets or the symbols of gods. The pharaohs were labelled the divine rulers of Earth, and the middlemen between the gods and people. The gods themselves were found in every part of life and held supreme power.

Each area of the museum was lined with dozens of artifacts, some of which are thousands of years old. Various interactive elements also exist, making this exhibit great for kids. The presentation of the content wasn’t overly text-heavy and offered lots of visuals. It was also easy to follow along with the story being told, as guests aren’t lost within a sea of technical terms and historical figures.

Credit: Royal BC Museum

Reading between the lines, however, the exhibit’s sections each uniquely address a few overarching topics. The themes of power, prosperity, and the struggle for eternal life follow guests throughout their visit. As a result, you leave the museum with a sense of curiosity regarding the secrets of the pharaohs and how history really came to be as it’s known today.

Credit: Royal BC Museum

To summarize my recent visit, I was left in awe of the incredible achievements of the ancient Egyptians. The very first sign you see once you’ve entered the exhibit perfectly describes what a guest will experience, with the statement, “Let’s Travel Back in Time.”

Credit: Royal BC Museum

Entrance to the exhibit is available as an additional purchase on our Victoria & Butchart Gardens Tour. See our Royal BC Museum Page for more information.

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