Last month a travel YouTuber explored the history of the Point Grey Battery, Vancouver’s protection against German or Japanese forces coming through the Strait of Georgia during the Second World War.
The video’s creator, Graham Bradley runs a YouTube channel called Exit Thru the Gift Shop where Bradley travels North America creating educational videos on historical sites or exhibits. While there are videos from attractions in the United States, since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic the videos have strictly come out of British Columbia.
Titled "Abandoned WWII Buildings: Point Grey Battery," the video opens with a shot of the entrance to the gun emplacement’s magazine beside the UBC Museum of Anthropology.
The video, narrated by Bradley, goes on to explain how construction on the battery started in 1938 at the outbreak of the Second World War. The battery’s three, 152-millimetre guns—each capable of hurling a 45-kilogram shell the distance of 143 football fields—made it the most heavily armed of the five coastal artillery forts that dotted B.C.’s coastline.
The video goes on to explain how the guns were loaded, where the ammunition was stored, the support buildings that housed the 250 officers and men who operated the guns.
According to the video, the threat of attack was greatly reduced by 1944 and in 1948 the guns were removed. Throughout the war the guns had largely gone unfired save for a few warning shots at ships entering the inlet.
When the museum was built in the same site its construction incorporated elements of the gun emplacement. Bill Reid's iconic sculpture The Raven and the First Men actually sits on the second gun emplacement.
Going down to the Tower Beach, Bradley’s video shows the two structures that give the beach its name. The hulking concrete towers, now covered in colourful graffiti art, still stand challenging the Pacific as they have done for the last 80 years.
Despite their menacing appearance, the towers held 60 inch spotlights which shone a 80 million candlepower beam into the strait to illuminate potential targets over three kilometres away.