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Vancouver’s Steam Clock resembles a large grandfather clock that someone has left out on the street. Ponder its odd shrouding of “white smoke” at the top. Listen to its machinery working busily inside and you will hear its Westminster-style whistle every 15 minutes with a toot on the hour. As its name suggests, the clock is partially powered by steam and is one of just a few in the world.
The clock is not only significant because of its uniqueness, but it also marks the western boundary of this portion of the city known as Gastown. It represents an earlier time when the byproduct of hot water was a source of energy. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, this was a major industrial area. Businesses relied on steam to power machinery. Stand in the clock’s vicinity and realize that steam lines run below your feet to power the timepiece.
Read the plaques at the clock’s base and you’ll discover that a number of modern businesses and a Canadian airline are sponsors, meaning the clock can’t be as old as it looks. It was actually put in place in 1977. The clock’s works are only partially run by steam, with three electric motors making sure it keeps running on time.
The clock’s symbolism draws attention to an area that had a seedy past and was threatened with being replaced by a freeway in the 1960s. The community fought back and the next decade was a time for resurrection, restoration and a clock. Look around at the fine old buildings that surround the clock to realize how history can prevail, even if the centrally located timepiece is newer. Be watchful for the clock’s maker, Raymond Saunders, who checks on the clock twice a week and let’s people activate the whistle.
Visit the Steam Clock by journeying to the end of Water Street in the Gastown district. Travel by public transit that serves this area frequently from all parts of the city.
Located in Coal Harbour, this luxury hotel is steps from Granville Street, Canada Place, and Vancouver Waterfront. Vancouver Convention Centre and Harbour Centre are also within 10 minutes. Waterfront Metro Station and Vancouver Waterfront Station are within a 5-minute walk.
Located in Downtown Vancouver, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of BC Place Stadium and Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Vancouver Central Public Library and Rogers Arena are also within 15 minutes. Stadium-Chinatown Station is 6 minutes by foot and Vancouver City Center Station is 8 minutes.
Located in Coal Harbour, this luxury hotel is steps from Waterfront Centre, Vancouver Convention Centre, and Vancouver Waterfront. Canada Place and Robson Street are also within 10 minutes. Burrard Station is 6 minutes by foot and Waterfront Metro Station is 6 minutes.
Located in Coal Harbour, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Pacific Centre Shopping Mall and Vancouver Art Gallery. United States Consulate and Vancouver Convention Centre are also within 15 minutes. Burrard Station is only a 2-minute walk and Vancouver City Center Station is 5 minutes.
Located in Downtown Vancouver, this romantic hotel is steps from Granville Street and Orpheum Theater. Robson Street and Vancouver Art Gallery are also within 10 minutes. Vancouver City Center Station is 6 minutes by foot and Granville Station is 8 minutes.
Located in Downtown Vancouver, this hotel is steps from Granville Street and Vancouver Waterfront. Harbour Centre and Pacific Centre Shopping Mall are also within 5 minutes. Granville Station and Burrard Station are within a 5-minute walk.
Located in West End, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Orpheum Theater and Vancouver Art Gallery. Pacific Centre Shopping Mall and Canada Place are also within 1 mi (2 km). Burrard Station is 10 minutes by foot and Vancouver City Center Station is 11 minutes.
Located in Coal Harbour, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from United States Consulate and Vancouver Waterfront. Robson Street and Canada Place are also within 10 minutes. Burrard Station is 6 minutes by foot and Granville Station is 10 minutes.