Discover the stranger or quirky side of Vancouver that makes it such a unique place to visit and live …
In the 1950s, Vancouver was home to the largest neon company in the world and second only to Shanghai in neon per capita; 18,000 neon signs, or one for every 19 residents. At the time it was considered by pilots to be the best-illuminated city in North America. The largest beacon was the BowMac sign on Broadway. While only a few of the original signs remain, neon is making a comeback in downtown’s Granville Street entertainment district, where new businesses are being encouraged to add bold exterior lighting that echoes the city area’s neon-lit past.
Vancouver’s Secret Tunnels
Stories abound about the city’s alleged plethora of secret underground tunnels. Chinatown is supposed to be criss-crossed with them – road crews sometimes unearth them when they’re working in the area. And there’s definitely a tunnel running from the main Canada Post building on West Georgia Street. The disused route – it runs under Homer Street and along Cordova Street towards the waterfront – was once used by Canada Post for a Halloween party.
For more than 25 years at noon each day, a set of horns atop a downtown Vancouver building played the first four notes of Canada’s national anthem, O Canada. The 10 aluminium horns were so powerful they can be heard over much of the city, and those nearby had to plug their ears. When the building converted to a condominium in the mid-90s, the horns were moved to the top of the luxury Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel at Canada Place. Want to hear them? Listen out at midday and you won’t be disappointed.
The Nine O’Clock Gun
A loud old English sea cannon was placed in Vancouver’s Stanley Park just over 100 years ago and fired originally to remind local fishermen of fishing time limits But now, it sounds every evening at 9pm as a time signal – and a tradition.
Courtesy Tourism Vancouver with additional material from GayVancouver.Net (Gay Vancouver Online).