Every evening Vancouver is rocked by the sound of a loud blast. The source? The 9 O'clock gun in Stanley Park, which has fired daily (almost without exception) for approximately 115 years. While the gun is fired out of tradition today, it has been suggested that it was originally installed to let fishermen know what time the fishery closed (6PM), and was later used so that sailors in the harbour, and inhabitants of Vancouver, could sync their clocks. Some of this is speculation, since there are no written records available. What we do know is that this 12-pounder navel gun was made in England in 1818, and was sent to the "provinces of Canada" in 1856, along with 15 other cannon by the Royal Navy. The gun was first placed in the city of Nanaimo (Vancouver Island), and was later moved to the Royal Navel base at Esquimalt (near the provincial capital, Victoria) out of fear of an American invasion of Canada. In 1898, after the American threat had passed, the gun was moved to Vancouver. Thanks to a local newspaper from the period, we know the gun was first fired from Stanley Park on October 5, 1898.
For more information on the history of the gun check out Vancouver History.ca