1. O Canada Horn (Things I’d Miss About Vancouver If I Moved Away)

I’m currently on vacation in Europe and this month also marks my seventh year in Vancouver. To celebrate, I’m highlighting a few things I’d miss about Vancouver if I moved away:

The O Canada Horn is one of those things that’s uniquely Vancouver.

Everyday at noon, The horn blares out the first four notes of O Canada (the Canadian national anthem) loud enough to be heard all over the downtown area.

Welcome Centre

From the West End to Gastown no one misses noon time in Vancouver.

It’s always comforting to hear that sound when I’ve been out of the city for a while, and I’m sure it’s a welcoming sound to visitors too

Canada Place

The horns sit atop of Canada Place (on top of the Pan Pacific hotel), with sets facing different directions.

Called the ‘Heritage Horns’, history has it that the horns were designed by steam engineer Bob Swanson for the BC Hydro Canadian Centennial project in 1967, and blared for years from on top of the old BC Hydro Building. It moved to Canada Place when the BC Hydro building was converted into condos.

Canada Place

The O Canada horn at lunchtime is a charming Vancouver soundmark that I’ll miss if I ever moved away.

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  • Reply Txrvs

    We just got back from a week in Vancouver. The first time we heard it, we thought it was a cruise ship. The next time, we realized there was no ship but it was probably a noon whistle. The third time, I realized it was O Canada.

    I am very proud to have figured this out before my Canadian wife did!

    14 August, 2010 at 8:09 pm
  • Reply Elsa

    Hahaha…. Good for you! it usually takes a while to realize exactly what it is.

    15 August, 2010 at 5:24 am
  • Reply bobinkits

    It’s funny isn’t it, the 12:00 horn everyday is like comfort food. It just makes you feel warm and fuzzy all over.

    16 September, 2010 at 9:53 pm
  • Reply Mike the bus driver

    I believe the horns were first heard on the Centennial Train that crossed Canada in 1967. They were then installed on the roof of the BC Hydro building at Nelson and Burrard, where they remained for many decades until the building was turned into a condominium apartment complex (and not a very good one).

    20 October, 2010 at 3:53 am
  • Reply Nhillary

    Can anyone confirm if it’s the same sound clip they play on Rock 101 at noon? Kind of a source of debate at the moment with a friend.

    27 February, 2011 at 2:18 am
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