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Lack of powder silences Vancouver's historic Nine O'Clock Gun indefinitely

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver parks board says the city's historic Nine O'Clock Gun is being silenced by a lack of explosive powder that's needed to fire it.
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A person carrying an umbrella is silhouetted while walking on the seawall at Stanley Park in Vancouver, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. The Vancouver Parks Board says a lack of black power used to set off the historic Nine O'Clock Gun in the park means it will be silenced after Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver parks board says the city's historic Nine O'Clock Gun is being silenced by a lack of explosive powder that's needed to fire it.

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 board's supplier closed last fall and it bought as much of the charcoal, saltpetre and sulphur mix as possible but reserves have run out.

The 200-year-old canon was scheduled to fire Thursday night but there was no word when it will boom again.

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.

The gun was also briefly silenced last October when a falling tree damaged the shed where the explosive charges are prepared, but firing resumed within a month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2022.

The Canadian Press