Bowen Island


Bowen Island, British Columbia, Canada, is a charming and awe-inspiring island municipality in Howe Sound. It's part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District. Approximately 6 km wide by 12 km long, or 20 square miles or 12,500 acres. More than 1/3 is Crown land and 650 acres is parkland. The island has a land area of 49.94 km² (19.28 sq mi). The island at its closest point is about 2 km west of the mainland.  Its coastline covers 23 miles with several public beaches available for swimming and beach-combing, interesting diving sites and kayaking destinations. Bowen Island is located 12 miles Northwest of Vancouver in the entrance to Howe Sound. Bowen Island contains 13,000 acres of treed land (primarily Cedar, Hemlock, Arbutus, and Douglas Fir) which is perfect for hiking and picnics. Grouse, mink, eagles, ravens, cormorants, deer and colonies of blue herons call Bowen home. AND It is only a short, relaxing, 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.


There were 3,551 permanent residents as of the 2006 BC Statsestimate, a number that is supplemented in the summer by roughly 1,500 visitors, as Bowen Island is a popular vacation home location for British Columbians. About 500 workers and over 200 students commute to offices and schools on the mainland each day.


Bowen has one of the mildest climates in Canada.


Visitors will find several picnic grounds, restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, stores and gift shops to explore in Snug Cove near the ferry dock.  Plus two new commercial areas with shops and services located a short walking distance above Snug Cove. Mariners will find two marinas. Visitors can also access many fine accommodations on Bowen for extended stays (no overnight camping or trailer parking is permitted on the island). Bowen is the first island municipality in the Islands Trust with an RCMP detachment, an elementary school, a middle school, a BC ambulance station and a volunteer fire department. The island is the permanent home of approximately 3,500 people. Over 400 artists and writers live on the island providing a strong arts community.

Bowen Island is also a popular destination for boaters who experience sheltered bays and safe anchorage, salmon fishing, dive sites and clean swimming beaches. Bowen is a two hour journey for boaters leaving Vancouver and running at about seven knots.

Bowen’s History:

Bowen Island, like the rest of Canada, originally belonged to the First Nations. It was a hunting and fishing ground for the Squamish.  Charles Hill-Tout, an early Canadian anthropologist, included Qole’laqom on Bowen Island in his list of village sites for the Sk’qo’mic, a branch of the Salish.


Since the early 1900’s Bowen has been a favourite destination for Vancouverites looking for a quiet retreat or a place to get together and spend quality time with family and friends.


Interesting facts: 

The maple leaf, in the Sixth Annual Contest of the Canadian Travel Bureau in 1938, a Bowen Island maple leaf was the largest in Canda – 249 square inches. As per described in “Bowen Island 1872 – 1972” by Irene Howard.

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