Cannon Firing

This post also announces the creation of a Things to do on Vancouver Island page on The Sheep Are Out Blog.  As I come across fun things to do on the island, I will write about them and link them to that page on the blog.  If you are looking for interesting things to do in the Vancouver Island cities you see listed there, please check out the links and blog posts to get ideas.  Also, if you have any ideas for things that aren’t listed there, please send me an email.  We are definitely still learning our way around the island, and welcome any fun ideas.

Cannon Firing

Every day in the summer at noon they fire off the cannon by the Bastion in downtown Nanaimo.  We stumbled upon this tradition one sunny afternoon as we were wheeling Little Man in the jogging stroller towards the sea wall.  It was the music of the bag piper that caught our attention first, the massive cannons second.


We learned from these presentations that the cannons were never used in battle or for protection, but that they were used in official ceremonies and now were a part of local tradition for summer afternoons.  The firing was always proceeded by bag pipe music, and a few times a local highland dance troupe would dance as well.

Over the summer we went so often that if we were anywhere within ear shot of the cannon and Little Man heard the pipes, he’d ask about the cannon.  Little Man had a love/hate fascination with the cannon firing.  He wanted to be there, wanted to see and hear it fired, but would sit for most of the time with his hands clamped over his ears throughout the presentation.  He would eye the cannon suspiciously through the whole thing, then we would cover his ears before the shot, and once it was over he’d ask for it to fire again.


The pipes reminded me of Binghamton where a friend played pipes and we would go to his troupe’s biannual Robert Burns dinner complete with requisite haggis.  There was also something special about sitting on the balustrade, watching the ocean and listening to the music.  Little Man would sit spell bound, so for a moment I could concentrate on the sound, not on whether or not my toddler was about to dash into traffic or tip over the sea wall.

When the cannon firing starts up again next year, Little Man will be a year older.  He’s now at an age where he is developing long term memory, and he might… just might… remember these visits to the Bastion and the cannons.  I can’t wait to see what his memories are.

cannon 3


4 thoughts on “Cannon Firing

  1. cheryllovesfood

    Love the bagpipes, I worked for a local golf course that had a fellow play Amazing Grace on the pipes every day. Jeez, you guys get all the fun stuff, cannon firing, music, dancing…. and I thought our nose picking contest was awesome. Only in the South.

    1. TheSheepAreOut Post author

      Ha! I should enter Little Man in the nose picking contest. He just noticed that nose picking can be an excellent activity, and that he can really bug his parents by parking his finger up there. 🙂

  2. Jen Bauder

    When you all first announced your plans to move to Nanaimo I did a little reading about it online and learned that it is the Bathtub Racing Capital of the World. I think you need to check out some of that action….

    1. TheSheepAreOut Post author

      We totally do! The bathtub racing happens in the summer. We were here for the races this year, but I think that Little Man had a bit of a melt down on the way. So Dave and I had to content ourselves with a massive plate of poutine while Little Man ran around like mad on the Harbourside Playdock. All in all, not a bad day… Maybe next year you guys can come out for that. Between our little ones, I think we might be able to “man” a vessel…

      > Date: Thu, 7 Nov 2013 19:14:51 +0000 > To: >


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