Gastown steam clock

The Gastown steam clock is a steam-powered clock located on the corner of Cambie and Water Streets in Vancouver’s Victorian Gastown district.

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The 16-foot-tall, 2 ton clock has four faces displaying the time. Each quarter hour the clock chimes the sounds of the Westminster Quarters. On the hour the large whistle will sound and steam will puff from its top.

Although it looks like a remnant of the Victorian era it was actually designed by Canadian clockmaker Raymond Saunders in 1977. The clock was funded by local business and property owners to attract visitors to the area during a refurbishment and rejuvenation of the historic Gastown district.

It is believed to be the second steam clock built in the world. The first was built by John Inshaw in 1859 to attract patrons to his Birmingham tavern.

The clock is not entirely steam powered. It has three electric motors, which operate two internal fans, and the clock itself works on gravity system. The clock runs by steel ball weights descending.

After checking out the clock it is worth checking out the historic buildings, shops and eateries in Gastown.

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