Most of us are susceptible to the magic of islands, needing only the shortest of voyages to awaken the explorer in us. Bowen Island, a mere twenty-minute ferry ride from West Vancouver, has been beguiling visitors for hundreds of years. First came the Squamish people to hunt and fish in the summer, building a smokehouse and dwellings in what is now Snug Cove. Inevitably they were followed by explorers, settlers, miners and loggers.
In the early 1900s a new era in island history began when Captain John Cates, and later the Union Steamship Company, regularly ferried thousands of pleasure-seekers to disport themselves in the tearooms, dance pavilions, hotels and picnic grounds of Snug Cove. Today Bowen is a quieter place, dedicated to preserving its island environment. While the welcome is still warm, and visitors may stroll through the craft shops and partake of home baking in the restaurants, most are there to explore the parks and beaches and surrender to the island tempo. Highlights: Forest, lake, meadow; Snug Cove, Deep Bay lagoon, fish ladder; western red cedars; waterfowl, kingfishers. Terrain: Mostly flat. Forest and meadow trails, road.
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