British Columbia

Stanley Park's 9 O'Clock Gun silenced by shortage of cannon powder

Vancouver's iconic gun will fire for the last time Thursday until a new supply of the specific powder it requires can be secured.

Supply of black powder needed to fire muzzle-loaded naval cannon difficult to find

The Vancouver Park Board says Stanley Park's Nine O'Clock gun will not be able to fire after Feb. 10 until staff can find a supply of the powder it needs. (Twitter/Vancouver Park Board)

Thursday could be the last night for a while that Vancouverites hear the iconic Nine O'Clock Gun fire.

The gun, located in Stanley Park, fires nightly at 9 p.m. and has nearly every night since the late 1800s. Now, according to the city's park board, firing will be temporarily suspended because the specific cannon power needed to make that happen is unavailable.

The 200-year-old cannon, which was cast in Woolwich, England in 1816, was scheduled to fire Thursday night but there is no word when it will boom again.

A statement from the board says the type of black powder needed to fire the muzzle-loaded naval cannon is difficult to find in most parts of the world but it will continue to search for alternative stocks.

The city says its supplier closed last fall and, now, what supply staff was able to secure, has run out.

"Staff will continue to explore alternative options in order to resume operation as soon as possible," read the statement.

The gun has been fired over Vancouver's Coal Harbour daily at 9 p.m. for more than a century, although the park board website says the time was shifted to 7 p.m. at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to honour health-care workers.

It was last out of commission in October 2021 after a tree fell and damaged the shed where staff prepare the cannon charges.

With files from The Canadian Press