Tourist in Your Town: Bowen Island – CBC News | Bowen Island

Tourist in Your Town: Bowen Island – CBC News

CBC News - August 6, 2017

By Bridgette Watson and Deborah Wilson

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Kayaking, labyrinth, 1,000-year-old Douglas fir among Bowen highlights

Tourist in Your Town is On The Coast’s summer series. We visit communities in the Lower Mainland to explore hidden gems to check out for a summer visit.

This week Producer Bridgette Watson caught a quick ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island. That’s where she met resident Lorraine Ashdown who moved to Bowen 15 years ago.

“I was attracted to the people, to the sense of calm, to the very obvious respect for the environment, to the absence of commotion … there is still not a single streetlight here,” Ashdown said. “I also fell in love here.”

Lorraine showed CBC some Bowen Island highlights, starting on the boardwalk that leads to the Union Steamship Company.

Union Steamship Company

The historic landmark is a launching point for many visits to Bowen.

“This is a favourite destination to come and moor your boat and stay a few days,” Ashdown says about the resort.

Bowen Island Sea Kayaking

Ashdown suggests visiting the Snug Cafe nearby to start your day with a hearty breakfast.

“And then I would come down to Bowen Island Sea Kayaking,” she said.

“Do that for a couple of hours, then you might want to eat again.”

For that post-paddling meal Ashton suggests the Deli at the Ruddy Potato, in Village Square, or the Village Baker which is also in the square.

“After you’re all charged up I’d go see Jamie Woodall at Zoom Zoom Scooters,” Ashdown said about the carbon-positive scooter rental company.

“I would hop on a scooter and I would most likely go over to see ‘Opa’ which is the big thousand-year-old Douglas fir tree.”

‘Deeply spiritual place’

It is so tall you can’t see the top of the tree from the base.

The tree is located at the Xenia Creative Development Centre. “It’s a very deeply spiritual place.”

At the base of the tree are offerings: sage, sweetgrass, and twigs tied in bundles.

“Bowen belongs to the Squamish people,” she said. “You understand that when you see the tree.”


Up a dusty trail is the Xenia Centre’s 11-circuit labyrinth, created in a spiral shape from 500 rocks.

Many labyrinths are seven or nine circuits, Ashdown said.

“An 11-circuit labyrinth gives you a lot of time to think, she said. “When you get to the middle, I bet you $500 you’ll feel different.”

Killarney Lake

After the labyrinth she recommends a scooter ride to Killarney Lake.

A walk around the lake takes about 50 minutes, she said, “if you’re relatively fit.”

“But nobody has to be in a hurry.”