How a YouTube video got BC Ferries to change their tune


Passengers on BC Ferries‘ Queen of New Westminster may have noticed something a little off on any recent trip.

The ship’s whistle, known as airchimes, was sounding out of tune.

While not everyone might notice, a video posted from local “ferry spotters”–as in people who are wildly enthusiastic about all things ferry–pleaded with BC Ferries to do something about it.

Ferry spotter Brandon Siska tweeted the video to BC Ferries.

And, lo and behold…BC Ferries not only said they’d look into it, but they also actually did.

“It turns out a pipe leading to one of the three horns comprising the ship’s whistle was cracked, so they uncracked it (or something like that),” explains columnist Jack Knox in the Times Colonist this week.

The video makes a note that the out of tune sounds are “a disgrace to Robert Swanson.” Swanson was an inventor, and it was B.C. premier W.A.C. Bennett brought Swanson aboard for the task of designing the sound for BC Ferries’ airchimes.

Swanson has described the sound as “a very carefully tuned major chord.” Vancouverites may also know Swanson’s work from something else: The four opening notes of “O Canada” that sound at noon daily from Canada Place.

The Queen of New Westminster turns 53 this May.

Read more from the Times Colonist

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Lindsay is the Managing Editor of Vancouver Is Awesome, and the co-host and co-producer of the Vancouver Is Awesome Podcast. A fifth generation Vancouverite and life-long foodie, Lindsay also serves as a judge for the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. Previously the Food Editor of Daily Hive, Senior Editor of Vancity Buzz, and Editor-in-Chief of, in her past life in L.A. she earned an MA in English, attended culinary school, and was an English professor. Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: // Twitter/Instagram: @squashblossom