Giant Shiny Cylinder to Replace Gastown Street Clock (temporarily)

Photo sourced from the Make It Rain Kickstarter page

Photo sourced from the Make It Rain Kickstarter page

Feeling a little steam clock withdrawal? There may be a solution.

A pair of Vancouver architects has proposed a temporary fill-in for the famous Gastown steam clock, which has been out for repairs since October.  They want to install a shiny, 27-foot-high cylinder at the site of the existing steam vent.

Dubbed “Make It Rain – A Reflective Cloud Chamber,” the cylinder – to be made of soft, reflective material – will pulse and sway as it fills with steam, creating a living, breathing work of art that reflects, literally, the surrounding buildings, trees and people.

It sure beats the plywood box that’s currently covering the steam vent, and the mock-ups look gorgeous.  Just one problem: It’s going to take $19,500 to make the project happen.

So the architects have turned to crowdfunding site Kickstarter.  The project has attracted a groundswell of support, but they still need help to reach their goal.

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Giant Shiny Cylinder to Replace Gastown Street Clock (temporarily)

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)

Inside Vancouver’s Hidden Past – The Secret History of the Gastown Clock…

Photo courtesy of Alex Schwab

The following article was contributed by Will Woods as part of our Inside Vancouver’s Hidden Past series.

Being a tour guide I get all kinds of questions. Some are straight-forward (“What year was Vancouver incorporated?”), some are thought-provoking (“Is all the condo-building in Vancouver reducing or contributing to homelessness?”) and some are absurd (“Does Canada have its own money?”).

One of the questions I often get is “what is the story of the Gastown Steam Clock?”. A seemingly innocuous question you might say. Yet it’s never been a question I like answering.

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Inside Vancouver’s Hidden Past – The Secret History of the Gastown Clock…

A Perfect Day in Gastown

The following post was contributed by Carrie Leung, Tourism Vancouver’s Client Manager for the Chicago, Midwest and Western US markets. Read about her perfect day in her favourite neighbourhood, Gastown.

One of the many things that make Vancouver unique are the diverse neighborhoods, perfect for sightseeing and shopping. Gastown, a unique neighborhood in the downtown core and the original city of Vancouver, is by far one of my favourites. I love wandering along the cobble stone streets that reflect a refreshing mix of old and new. To start my afternoon of re-discovering Gastown I drop into the Canadian Maple Delights Gourmet Bistro & Shoppe for a latte and maple sugar cookie. Yummy!

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A Perfect Day in Gastown