Vancouver Loses its Beloved Steam Clock (for 2 months)

Photo credit: Junichi Ishito | Flickr

Photo credit: Junichi Ishito | Flickr

Gastown has lost an icon. The legendary Gastown Steam Clock, the steam-powered, 16-foot-tall clock on the corner of Cambie and Water Streets, is gone.

The clock was removed on Wednesday morning, Oct. 8, by city work crews, who carted it off on a flat-bed truck.  It will spend the next two months in a city works yard getting some long overdue repairs before being returned to its original location.

The clock debuted on Sept. 26, 1977.  If it happens to look a lot older than that, there’s good reason. The Victorian-style timepiece – with its  brass and copper finishings – was part of a larger effort to give Gastown a more vintage look and lure in tourists (other touches included the faux cobblestones laid down on Water Street).  The clock was installed to cover an existing steam grate and (at least, according to Wikipedia) “prevent street people from sleeping on the spot in cold weather.”

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Vancouver Loses its Beloved Steam Clock (for 2 months)

Three ways Canadian Thanksgiving differs from American Thanksgiving

Pumpkins at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market | Facebook photo.

Pumpkins at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market | Facebook photo.

If you’re American and you love a good holiday dinner, the second weekend in October is prime time to head up to Canada. That’s because Thanksgiving celebrations are in full swing here, so you can enjoy turkey and stuffing not once, but twice–six weeks before American Thanksgiving. Score!

So what’s the difference between American and Canadian Thanksgiving? When I taught English in Japan years ago, my students were surprised to hear that there was a difference at all–but indeed, there is.

I freely admit that most of what I know about the U.S. celebration comes from American television and movies. However, I’ve celebrated many a Thanksgiving in Vancouver and can tell you how we do it based on a very scientific survey of People I Know.

Here are three basic differences.

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Three ways Canadian Thanksgiving differs from American Thanksgiving

First Impressions, Part 3: Vancouver’s Transit System

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Hello again, Vancouver.

In case you missed the last installment of this series my name is Tom. I’m new in Town.

I just moved here from my hometown of Ottawa. It was a bit of leap of faith because I’d never been to BC before, but it’s all paid off. You see, I’ve already fallen in love with your city.

Vancouver has a lot going for it: solid sports teams, a beautiful harbour, delicious restaurants, and more. But as I clumsily learn my way through its neighbourhoods—all unfamiliar to me—I’m learning that there is so much more to this city than the obvious. As a Vancouver newbie, I’m finding that even the city’s ordinary is excellent. Even the mundane is thrilling. Yes, Vancouver, with my fresh set of eyes, I’m here to remind you to appreciate the little things—the lovely little things—because your city is full of them.

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First Impressions, Part 3: Vancouver’s Transit System

First Impressions, Part 2: Vancouver’s Trees

rsz_img_0037

Hello again, Vancouver.

In case you missed the first installment of this series, my name is Tom. I’m new in Town.

I just moved here from my hometown of Ottawa. It was a bit of leap of faith because I’d never been to BC before, but it’s all paid off. You see, I’ve already fallen in love with your city.

Vancouver has a lot going for it: Stanley Park, a thriving nightlife, the Pacific Ocean, and more. But as I clumsily learn my way through its neighbourhoods—all unfamiliar to me—I’m learning that there is so much more to this city than the obvious. As a Vancouver newbie, I’m finding that even the city’s ordinary is excellent. Even the mundane is thrilling. Yes, Vancouver, with my fresh set of eyes, I’m here to remind you to appreciate the little things—the lovely little things—because your city is full of them. Continue reading:
First Impressions, Part 2: Vancouver’s Trees

First Impressions, Part 1: Vancouver’s Pizza

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Hi Vancouver,

My name is Tom. I’m new in town.

I just moved here from my hometown of Ottawa. It was a bit of leap of faith because I’d never been to BC before, but it’s all paid off. You see, I’ve already fallen in love with your city.

Vancouver has a lot going for it: the ocean, a bustling downtown, a solid hockey team, and more. But as I clumsily learn my way through its neighbourhoods—all unfamiliar to me—I’m learning that there is so much more to this city than the obvious. As a Vancouver newbie, I’m finding that even the city’s ordinary is excellent. Even the mundane is thrilling. Yes, Vancouver, with my fresh set of eyes, I’m here to remind you to appreciate the little things—the lovely little things—because your city is full of them.

Continue reading:
First Impressions, Part 1: Vancouver’s Pizza