Dec. 14th, 2011 09:55 pm
hells_half_acre: (The Boys in BC)
[personal profile] hells_half_acre
Sometimes I feel like I should make a fact sheet about Vancouver for non-AU J2 writers - which is pretty silly of me, considering I don't even read non-AU J2...but I guess it just comes from the same part of me who likes very accurate things...and, in order to confirm that I don't like reading non-AU J2, I HAVE read some, and they can be very factually inaccurate about Vancouver.

I've also noticed, in my time on the internet, that non-Canadians kind of lump Canada together like it's the same everywhere, when it's not really. So, here are some facts about Vancouver:

1. Did you know that there's a cannon that goes off every night at 9pm?

It is called the 9 o'clock gun. It's in Stanley Park, oddly pointed TOWARDS the city, not away from it. No one can remember WHY it's fired every night at 9pm, but it's tradition now, so it goes off every night at 9pm even though no one knows why. I think a lot of traditions are like that. 

There are some theories...I think the most believed theory is that it used to signal curfew for fishing boats. 

You can't hear it from all parts of the city. You can hear it really well from my apartment (and I'm a fair distance away), but I'm on a hill, and it's pointed in the direction of my house too. According to my twitter, there are actually vancouverites who don't know about the cannon - which I find amazing. I'm sure you can hear it if you were on the waterfront downtown, or if you were on a hill in East Van (like me), or if you knew to listen for it...

2. It very rarely snows here, and it most certainly doesn't blizzard.

If you want real blizzards, you have to go to the other coast. In Newfoundland, it'll blizzard for 3 days straight and leave 8 feet for snow. It's ridiculous (and I miss it.)

In Vancouver, it only snows occasionally - huge wet snowflakes usually. (See SPN 4x20 and 6x13) It'll maybe leave an inch or so, and then melt the next day. VERY occasionally, you'll get a foot or so - and then no one knows what the hell to do...but that's literally only happened once in the past 7 years. 

So, all those J2 fics where they get snowed in....well, unless you specify that they are living on a mountain, it's just not going to happen.

Also, people will use their umbrellas in the snow. That really made me laugh when I first saw it, because it's SNOW. But then I started using my umbrella too, because the snow is so WET - it's basically like it's raining in, that'll teach me to laugh at people.

3. Sometimes there are animals.

There are always raccoons...they climb on my roof at night. The other day, they tranquilized a bear that had wandered into downtown and was rummaging around in a dumpster in an underground parking garage. There are coyote warning signs in various parts of the city too. It's rare, but, hey - it happens.

As an aside, I never understand people who write about menacing wolves, but not coyotes...coyotes are far more likely to be menacing, in my experience...wolves tend to stay the hell away from people.

ETA: And skunks - there are a LOT of skunks. It's something you have to watch out for when you are walking around at night...especially with dogs.

4. Sometimes people yell "Thank You!" at the bus driver when they get off the bus.

This is happening less and less, but the first time I came here in 2009, it was more common. I arrived from a month spent in Asia, and it was such a *Canadian* thing that I could only laugh and shake my head at it - "yes, I'm home." I don't do it myself, because I have issues with unnecessarily breaking silences...but other people do it. 

5. The Skytrain takes you places. 

Vancouver's "subway" system is called the Skytrain, because it's only below ground when it's downtown - the rest of the time it's elevated.

Anyway, those are the things that I can think of off the top of my head.

Date: 2011-12-15 06:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"There's a cannon?!" Hahahaha! Honestly, it just never came up!

Don't forget the skunks. The ridiculously large amount of skunks.

Date: 2011-12-15 06:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh yeah - I will add the skunks...they are a major hazard when walking at night. :P

I hear that damn cannon EVERY NIGHT!

Date: 2011-12-15 06:11 am (UTC)
nic: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nic I've lived here 1.5 years and never noticed the cannon.

You KNOW what I will be listening for tomorrow!

Date: 2011-12-15 06:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow...I'm starting to wonder if I am the only one. (Well, it's gotta be me and everyone else who lives on this hill in East Van.) :P

Date: 2011-12-18 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We can only hear it sometimes from our place (also East Van), but we can hear it from indoors in a relatively soundproof-ish building.

We went down to the cannon one night, and after it goes off, it echos *really loudly* off the high-rises in Coal Harbour and downtown. Wonder if they warn potential residents - "Um, you don't need to be asleep at 9 PM, do you?"

Date: 2011-12-18 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was wondering that about the places in Coal Harbour. :P

Date: 2011-12-15 06:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Interesting. It's always neat to learn things about other places that aren't obvious.

I agree about coyotes. (People call them coy dogs around here, and for the longest time I had not idea what they were talking about. I thought it was like a pack of regular looking dogs that went wild in the woods. Then one day it hit me, 'coy'-> coy-ote->coyote.) They can be vicious-they aren't as afraid of humans as they should be and they're sneaky. We have to be careful about dogs(little dogs), but mostly cats, at night. Though I live in a rural area, so people expect animals here. Though there are no wolves-they were all killed off. But who knows if they will be reintroduced someday.

Date: 2011-12-15 06:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, it's weird how people always take wolves as being so scary - I'd be WAY more freaked out if I came across a coyote (or coyotes) than I would be if I came across a wolf (or wolves). Yet, wolves all get killed off, and coyotes are still around...not that I want coyotes to be killed off, of course. Killing is bad.

My favourite quote from Farley Mowat: "We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be - the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer, which is, in reality, no more than the reflected image of ourselves."

Date: 2011-12-15 06:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I like that quote. It really resonates some truth.

Date: 2011-12-15 06:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Question for it common for restaurants to have chopsticks on the table even if it's not a place that would serve food traditionally eaten with them? In one of the last couple of episodes, the Biggerson's has chopsticks in packets on the table like we'd maybe see drinking straws here in the midwest US.

I like the parts of Canada I've visited. I love Toronto. I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan which is pretty much on Ontario's border. We'd cut across Canada to get to New England to visit my Nana in the summer. The craggy north Atlantic coast is my favorite part of the world and I hope to get to Halifax and the Bay of Fundy some day. Jasper and the Rockies would be awesome too.

Date: 2011-12-15 06:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No, that's not very common. You really only see chopsticks on the table for restaurants that serve Asian food or "Fusion" restaurants (Asian-inspired food). I think Biggerson's was like that because they had the Asian Salad thing on the menu that Bobby ordered...but even then, restaurants with just one Asian dish will just bring you chopsticks if you order that dish.

I love the Atlantic coast...and Ontario, where I grew up. I think I'm eventually going to move back to Ontario - it's just a matter of when and where.

Date: 2011-12-15 06:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think an inch of snow is enough for drugged Jared to do a snow angel - naked of course ;) but knowing about the coyotes I could have made Jared wandering off into the woods to search his dogs far more scarier. Thank you!

Date: 2011-12-15 06:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Haha, you can do drunken "snow" angels in the frost if you wanted - that happens much more frequently ;)

And yeah, I wouldn't really want to wander around the woods at night :S

Date: 2011-12-15 07:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Jared was just on meds, insomniac and a bit jazzed - it's still my fav story. Had quit writing though after I met them in person....
oh, and I've seen a little news story with a black bear found in a dumpster in downtown. What was weird, one of the workers looked really familiar, like I have seen him as an actor on show *puzzled*

Date: 2011-12-15 07:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My sister and I joke that everyone has a doppleganger in who knows!

Date: 2011-12-15 06:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
LOL - i would totally believe that Vancouver was arse deep in snow 6 months of the year based on my fic reading!

And you have bears, coyotes, skunks...and people go on about the dangerous animals in Australia!

Also - I always say Thank You on buses and trams.

Date: 2011-12-15 07:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Haha,'s the thing most people get wrong, because Canada=Snow to Americans...and that's true of OTHER parts of Canada - but not Vancouver. Vancouver and Vancouver Island are both mild unless you are on a mountain. Vancouver is wet for 6 months of the year (at least), but that's about it. :P

But we don't have poisonous snakes and spiders!

Yay for saying Thank You on buses and trams!! I like polite places :)

Date: 2011-12-15 07:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hee! It's funny how people think Vancouver gets lots of snow. Kind of how people generally believe Seattle gets nothing but rain 90% of the year. Actually, Hawaii gets more rain than Seattle. :P

We get coyotes and raccoons around here, too. And possums. Do you get those, too?

Date: 2011-12-15 07:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I haven't seen any possums - but that doesn't mean they're not there!

It's kind of funny that people will believe that Seattle gets rain 90% of the year, and Vancouver gets snow - yet, we're only about a 3 hour drive apart! They'd be more accurate to believe that Vancouver gets rain 90% of the year (it sure feels like it sometimes.) :P

Date: 2011-12-15 08:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah the weather for Seattle and Vancouver matches most of the time. I keep track of them both year round and we're either the same temp or very close. Occasionally one will be sunny and the other not, but for the most part our weather is similar.

Date: 2011-12-15 08:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, gosh, I wish I'd known to listen for the canon when I was there for VanCon!

Date: 2011-12-15 09:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Haha, sorry I didn't mention it! I highly doubt you can hear it from the Wall centre anyway - it's on the other side of downtown...and all those tall buildings kind of block the noise ;)

Date: 2011-12-15 12:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, you learn something new everyday, I thought it snowed more in Vancouver.

Oh, and Brits do the 'thank you' thing for bus drivers too, at least I do, though due to my area it's more likely to be 'cheers' or 'ta'.

Yesssss, cultural diversity, I love it so. <3

Date: 2011-12-15 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Well, I guess it's not that odd then! And I guess the rest of Canada is just rude for not thanking the bus-drivers!! :P

Date: 2011-12-15 06:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree with [ profile] fateofshadow Brits say thank you on buses too. In fact, I'm so in the habit of it that I think it's rude when people don't. :P

VERY occasionally, you'll get a foot or so - and then no one knows what the hell to do...

HELLO ALL REACTIONS TO SNOW IN THE UK. It was the most hilarious thing. Once, in my first year at uni, we got... 3 inches of snow? And London just stopped. The tubes stopped, uni was basically closed. No one had the first idea how to react. And ther was me going, "well this is ridiculous! It's just snow! Act normally! Go about your business! It's not going to kill you unless you're an idiot and go running in it." So I went into uni, and I travelled up to north London to see a friend, and I was all dandy and grand. And then, about a week later, peple started writing in to the government and the BBC and whathaveyou saying "Norwegian airports can stay open in the snow. Canadian airports can do it, Icelandic airports are fine. Why are we so useless when it snows?" And there's the rest of the UK going "are you serious? It nearly never snows here! And you're always complaining about taxpayers money being spend on redundant things! What the hell!?"

And thank was a rant you probably didn't need to know. Sorry. Just, people are morons sometimes.

But yey! Cannons! And Skytrain! Sounds like a mix between the tube and the DLR (Docklands Light Railway - it's... in London docklands. It's basically the Skytrain actually).

Date: 2011-12-15 07:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Brits say thank you on buses too. In fact, I'm so in the habit of it that I think it's rude when people don't. :P

Oh no! You would think I was rude! I don't do it...but it really is because I've got this weird thing where if I think too much about raising my voice, than I can't do it. I make up for it by saying thank you when I get ON the bus - it's preemptive.

Haha, yeah, that's what happens when they get more than a foot of snow in Toronto too. :P Toronto is cold, but doesn't actually get much year they called in the army. People are still making fun of them for that. But, it's what don't get any snow, so you scale back your snow-removal people/equipment, and then when it does snow, you don't have enough people/equipment to handle it! I'm sure Vancouver has the same problem, only even worse. They probably only have snow-removal stuff for the roads that go up the mountains.

Newfoundland was the only place that I've lived that shut down for snow FOR GOOD REASON. Where you weren't like "oh, this is stupid, it's just a little snow" you were sitting there thinking "it's a good thing I stocked up on food before this storm hit."

Are the DLR trains built by Bombardier? All the Skytrains are.

Date: 2011-12-15 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, you've explained why, so I probably wouldn't think you were being rude. But to be fair, no one does it in London. But then again, you have no contact with bus drivers in London. You touch in with your Oyster and don't have to say a word. And you exit the bus at the back. Which is actually very sensible and I wish they did that in York...

Well, a foot to me is fine. That's a sensible amount to find difficult. This was, no joke, 2 inches. And while I'm still on the side of those who think that it wasn't something we should be expected to be able to cope with, it does seem ridiculous.

Haha blizzards. Is it weird I want to experience a blizzard? I'm trying to convince mum to take up all to Norway next Christmas. Though to be fair, none of my family live anywhere where it snows that much.

Haha! Indeed they are made by Bombardier! [link]

Date: 2011-12-15 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We get off the back of the bus too - which is why there is a need to raise the voice to say Thank You :P ...but when we get on, the driver is sitting right beside where we validate our tickets or show our passes or whatever.

I don't think it's weird that you want to experience a blizzard. I actually really like them. I mean - yeah, it's pretty horrible when you have to walk to university the next day and the four-lane street with sidewalks has now become a two-lane street without sidewalks, and car side-mirrors are passing by only about six inches from you...but when the blizzard is actually happening, they are nice to look at.

Haha, yup! Those are basically exactly like the Skytrain! Complete with not having any drivers. :)

Date: 2011-12-15 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aah I see what you mean. No Londoners don't do that. They're all much to... Londonish. Complete with being surly in public. But I dislike it when people just say Londoners are rude. It's just... there's so many people in London! You can't be continually nice to all of them, it woud be very tiring. Which makes me sound like a complete arse, but it's true. On the whole, they're very nice. Just not on public transport. Which I think is understandable really. :P

Haha that reminds me of a postcard you can buy in Norway which is of a lorry (truck :P) driving along a road that had been cleared of snow. But the snow is taller than the lorry, so the lorry is basically driving through a snow tunnel. That's basically the image I ahve of winter in Norway. Which of course is not really accurate at all, but I can dream. :P

I love that they drive themselves! Sitting at the front is the best on the DLR. You get great views of London. And watching little kids sitting at the front is also great. :D

Date: 2011-12-15 07:13 pm (UTC)
ext_29986: (motorhead dean!)
From: [identity profile]
This is awesome.

We also have raccoons. I've been seeing them a lot recently. And coyotes, though they are more shy. At least we don't have SKUNKS. that would be terrifying!!

The Sentinel took place in Cascade, a half/Seattle half/Vancouver madeup city. Too bad they never incorporated the nine o clock gun! Ah, Sentinel, slashy trash! :)

Date: 2011-12-15 07:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, skunks themselves are actually kind of cute - but you are always terrified that you are going to scare them. I keep an eye out, and if I see one, I cross the road and walk on the other side. And then you just have to hope that there's no one around walking their dog...

I never watched The Sentinel...but hey, maybe the 9 o'clock gun would have been TOO "Vancouver" and would have ruined the image of "Cascade." :P

Date: 2011-12-16 01:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The bear on the dumpster made the Boston news channels yesterday...or maybe the day before? Anyway, it was cute.

Do you have foxes? We have both coyotes and foxes. Not usually at the same time, but they do show up in the same space. Since my dog runs towards foxes but away from coyotes, I'd rather see coyotes!

Blizzards. Ah. I'm hoping we can avoid any of those this winter.

Date: 2011-12-16 02:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't know if we have foxes. I assume we must. Maybe they are like the possums - just because I don't see them, doesn't mean they aren't there. I don't see coyotes either - I just see the signs warning for them.


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