Beautiful Bowen Island, British Columbia, Canada, is a charming and awe-
inspiring island municipality in Howe Sound. The unique island is only 2 km west
of the mainland at its closest point and 19 km (12 miles) Northwest of Vancouver
in the entrance of spectacular Howe Sound.
Part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District, Bowen Island is approximately
6 km wide, by 12 km long, and 49.94 km², (20 miles².) Of the island’s 12,500
acres, more than 1/3 is Crown land and 650 acres is parkland. Bowen’s
coastline stretches 37 km (23 miles,) with several beaches for swimming
and beachcombing along with interesting dive sites and kayaking destinations.
Perfect for hikes and picnics, Bowen Island has 13,000 acres of forests made up
primarily of Cedar, Hemlock, Arbutus, and Douglas Fir. 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
According to the 2006 BC Stats estimate, there were 3,551 permanent residents
and roughly 1,500 annual visitors. Bowen Island is a popular location for vacation
homes for British Columbians. Approximately 500 people commute off-island to
work, and more than 200 students commute to mainland schools each day.
Bowen has one of the mildest climates in Canada.
ATTRACTIONS AND AMENITIES:
Visitors will find several picnic grounds, restaurants, pubs, coffee shops,
stores, and gift shops to explore in Snug Cove near the ferry dock. There are two
commercial areas with shops and services a short walk from Snug Cove. There
are two marinas for the boating crowd, along with dockside refreshments. Visitors
can also access a wide selection of fine accommodations for extended stays on
Bowen. (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. More than 400 local artists and writers
make up the island’s thriving 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 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 1900s, Bowen has been a favorite destination for Vancouverites
looking for a quiet retreat or a place to get together and spend quality time with
family and friends.
The maple leaf, in the Sixth Annual Contest of the Canadian Travel Bureau in
1938, a Bowen Island maple leaf was the largest in Canada – 249 square inches.
As described in “Bowen Island 1872 – 1972” by Irene Howard.