A frequent 20 minute ferry crossing from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver will bring you to the historic shores of Bowen Island in the boaters’ paradise, sheltered Howe Sound.
About three thousand artists, daily commuters, writers and happy retirees live on Bowen’s 52 sq. kilometers. The potato shaped island is about 10 kilometers long and a little over 5 kilometers in length.
The ferry pulls into aptly named Snug Harbour, with its historic Union Steamship Company store, its Regional Park information site, and its commercial centre. The main street is busy with merchants offering groceries, gifts, home cooking, and recreation and the locals as well as the visitors happy to partake and to visit. A friendly and busy little centre as well as being the historical hub, Snug Cove is a perfect landing spot. A popular and crammed marina in summer is also tucked in here.
Crippen Regional Park, which encompasses much of a once bustling resort in the 20’s, includes much of Snug Cove.
Bowen’s topography distinguishes it from the rest of the Gulf Islands; it is part of the Coast Range and therefore more mountainous and hilly. Mt. Gardner rises to 762 meters, for example, as compared to Penders’ highest point, Mt. Norman at 244 meters. Because the island is so steep, with many rocky outcroppings, and thick forest, agriculture is limited to a few areas only.
First Nations people, the Squamish, used Bowen Island only as a stopping off point for limited hunting and fishing. Recreational boaters still fish the waters off its coast, but hunting belongs to the past.