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.

Wildfires

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

PNE

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.

Origins

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

Repairs

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:

DEAR SIR, AS YOU ARE PROBABLY AWARE THE 9:00 GUN HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED. IF THE CITY OF VANCOUVER WANTS IT BACK A PHOTO OF OUR MAYOR TOM CAMPBELL, OR A REASONABLE SUBSTITUTE SHOULD APPEAR IN THE VANCOUVER SUN ON TUESDAY DONATING A HUNDRED DOLLARS TO THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL.

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.

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Sources

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/

 

Afternoon Tea in Vancouver

Credit: Neverland Tea Salon

Afternoon tea has always been a fun way to experience an iconic British tradition. With a variety of teas and unique locations available, many different hotels, cafes, and salons offer their own versions of this popular activity. Additionally, it’s a social opportunity that doesn’t leave you feeling rushed.

I think that’s part of the reason why afternoon tea is so popular; people can sit and relax, taking their time sampling the different menu items provided, while enjoying the company of others. Most afternoon teas provide an atmosphere of elegance and can be enjoyed year round, which is great in a place like Vancouver, which may or may not have less than spectacular weather sometimes!

In our post today I am going to list some popular places to enjoy afternoon tea; however, this list is not limited to just downtown Vancouver. Places like Victoria are well-known for having a strong British influence, and there are many places worth visiting in the surrounding areas of Vancouver. Before we start the list though, here are a few things you should note.

The terms ‘high tea’ and ‘afternoon tea’ are commonly used together but are actually different things. Designed for commoners during the 1700s, high tea was a hearty meal consisting of meats and vegetables, consumed after the workday.  Afternoon tea, on the other hand, originated in the 1800s, courtesy of Anne Russell, the Duchess of Bedford, who often felt hungry around mid-afternoon and would ask for tea and a snack to be prepared for her. Quickly, this became a trend and many amongst the higher classes began taking part. This is also the version which is accompanied by both smaller savoury and sweet dishes.

Thus, afternoon tea is what this post will be focusing on. Since there is more to the experience than just tea and food, the places on this list will also be judged on their atmosphere, value, and unique features. Accompanying each location will be the cost per adult (pre-tax and not including gratuity), as of July 2018.

Fairmont Empress Hotel

This iconic hotel in B.C.’s capital city of Victoria has mastered authentic Victorian elegance with modern sophistication. The Fairmont Empress has served more than 80,000 guests annually and uses bone china from England to dish out a locally made menu with a selection of teas that are ethically and sustainably sourced, as well as offering their own famous chocolate cake. Surrounded by elegance and with the finest service, you will find yourself travelling back through time when dining in their historic lobby.

Cost Per Adult: $78

Credit: Tourism Victoria

 

Notch 8

The Notch 8 restaurant in the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is famous for their themed afternoon teas. With a fine attention to detail, guests enjoy a selection of pastries with edible decorations, unique platters and dishware that match the theme. Over the years, this restaurant has had themes ranging from the Brothers Grimm to old Hollywood. Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Notch 8 offers guests a different experience every time they visit.

Cost Per Adult: $65

Credit: ICE Portal, Inc./Accor Hotels

Neverland Tea Salon

The Neverland Tea Salon is one of the newer locations on this list and offers a whimsical approach to afternoon tea. Enjoy bottomless teapots and choose from any of their four different afternoon tea menus. With a children’s tea option, reviewers have commented that the Neverland Tea Salon is perfect for younger guests. Dietary restrictions cause no issue here, as vegetarian and gluten-free options are readily available. Enjoy desserts and sandwiches that are as cute as the atmosphere at this spot.

Cost Per Adult: $38           

Credit: Neverland Tea Salon

                                                                                                                                   

Adonia Tea House

Adonia Tea House is perfect if you are looking for a vintage atmosphere for your afternoon tea. This quaint shop tucked away in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood advertises a relaxed setting, perfect for anyone wanting an afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of life. Keeping up with the trends set by the hotels, Adonia promotes their authentic experience with fresh and local ingredients. You can also enjoy their tasty sweets and savoury items to go with their catering services. Don’t forget to purchase some tea from their selection of products available for sale.

Cost per Adult: $33

Credit: Adonia Tea House

 

Pâttisserie Für Elise

Located inside an authentic heritage home in Vancouver, this charming location is a hidden gem worth exploring. Pâttisserie Für Elise specializes in traditional afternoon tea, but with French desserts. Located in Yaletown, this shop is a charming escape from the rush of the downtown core. Enjoy their desserts to go, and the Victorian feel while sampling your macarons.

Cost Per Adult: $30

Credit: Claudia Lucía via Instagram

 

For those who are afternoon tea experts, or those looking for their first experience hopefully this post has you already making plans to try some of the places we’ve listed. If we missed a place that you think should have made the list then let us know!

 

 

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