The Ancient and Honourable Hyack Anvil Battery will be carrying on its longtime tradition of doing its “anvil” salute on Victoria Day. In addition to the traditional salute to the memory of Queen Victoria (who named New Westminster) and to the reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, this year’s salute will also recognize the newest member of the Royal Family, The Royal Westminster Regiment, the 130th anniversary of the Salmonbellies and more.
How long has this tradition existed in New West?
New Westminster has been recognizing Victoria Day since 1859. A newspaper covering that event said “(it) was a day of general rejoicing and festivity in Queensborough (New Westminster), the capital of British Columbia.”
How does it work?
Today, the Ancient and Honourable Hyack Anvil Battery uses an anvil and gunpowder to fire its 21-shot salute. Archie Miller, the battery’s Master of Ceremonies, explains what’s happening on the field and offers a series of historical anecdotes between shots.
“People are intrigued by what they are witnessing and enjoy hearing the details of the shots,” Miller said in a press release. “The formal protocol of firing specifically for someone or something catches their attention and they like to learn more.”
Does the anvil salute only happen on Victoria Day?
Through the decades, the salute has taken place for “regal and vice regal visitors,” as we well as other special guest and occasions. While the Victoria Day salute has taken place in Queen’s Park for many years, it’s also taken place at city hall and at the foot of Eighth Street. Special salutes have also been held in honour of events like the Olympic torch run in 2010 and the opening of Anvil Centre in 2014.
The event is on Monday, May 20 at Queen’s Park Stadium. The festivities get underway at 11:30 a.m., with a performance by the Band of the Royal Westminster Regiment. A “sighting shot” will be fired at 11:55 a.m., with the actual 21-shot salute starting at noon. Once all of the shots have been fired, you’re welcome to go out onto the field to get a closer look at the anvil, meet Battery members and take a selfie or two.
Is there anything else I should know?
You may want to bring earplugs because it’s loud. Very loud!
“It’s loud, it’s colourful, it’s free and it’s great fun for the whole family – well dogs might not be too impressed with the loud booms – maybe best to leave them home,” said the press release. “Oh yes, and turn off your car alarm – the explosion always cause several in the parking lot to go off.”