Things to Do on Bowen Island: Top Things Residents Love About Bowen ~ Part 2

As with Bowen Island in general, the enthusiasm around sharing what people love about the Island has been awesome. We’ve had so much interest in Part One of the “Top Things Residents Love about Bowen” that we’ve added not just this second offering, but a third as well, which you can find here.

As with many visitors and residents, my husband, David, and I have a story of how we arrived and feel in love with Bowen. Our friend and RMT Extraordinaire, Harmony Shire, was working in Vancouver and had just moved the month before to Bowen Island.

During one session, Harmony was talking to David about how much she was loving the Island and how much healthier she felt being on Bowen. It was a Friday morning. My husband walked out of seeing Harmony and called me to suggest we look at getting a B&B on the Island for the weekend. We needed to check out this mysterious and miraculous place called Bowen.

By 8pm that night, we were snuggled into The Guest House on Mount Gardner Road. We spent the weekend, visiting Snug Cove, touring the neighborhoods, enjoying the fresh air, the calm of Bowen’s bucolic forests and hills....and actually doing a bit of work remotely as well from among the glorious green and forests of our new-found home. 


Just as Harmony described, we loved how Bowen felt –this amazing, laid-back, rejuvenating spirit. We felt as if an Island-size “ahhhhhh” descended over our stressed out City-living bodies.

Less than four months later, my husband and I had bought our dream home and moved into a life for which we are grateful every day.

If you want to know why Bowen is such a fantastic place to live then you need to go to the source. For us, that ‘source’ is Harmony Shire. We are honoured to have Harmony Shire and her husband, Aaron Davision share their top five things they love about Bowen.

You will find Harmony working her magic as a Registered Massage Therapist at Bowen Island Wellness Centre. She also teaches yoga out of the The Well Yoga Studio and is part of the Bowen Birth Collective. They are a team dedicated to helping and educating women through their birthing years on Island. Harmony is tragically passionate about health.

Needing mortgage advice? Aaron is a mortgage broker who has been living on Bowen Island for three and a half years. Aaron and Harmony just celebrated the first birthday of their first child Maple, and couldn’t be happier about raising her in such a lovely environment. He is passionate about the environment and sustainable living practices.

Five things Harmony and Aaron love about Bowen:

1)    The Bowen Island Ferry
Although it can be the most frustrating thing in the world to miss the ferry heading in to town or coming home, the ferry is a huge piece of what makes Bowen. When you’re coming home, it feels like you’re already there once you board the ferry. It’s like an extension of the peace on island. All the stresses of the city just fall away. Besides that, the ferry, and the increased logistic complications it brings, are certainly a reason, if not THE reason, many more people don’t move here. Not that I don’t want people to move here, but the lower population is part of what makes it quaint and small-town feeling, which is nice.

2)    The People
Most people that live on Bowen are lovely. It seems to take a certain kind of person to leave the city behind, and all its comforts, in favour of a life less complicated and (hopefully) less stressful. The one thing that struck me most is that people smile and say hi when you walk past them, rather than pretend you’re not there. It’s like we’re all on the same team and everyone’s open to getting to know everyone else.

Unlike how it felt in the city, where everyone is always too busy to meet for coffee or dinner etc, there seems to be more time here. Or maybe everyone is more open to connection. Or maybe there’s just less to do so everyone’s schedules are empty, not sure. ?


3) Nature
Nature is everywhere on Bowen. From the parks to the trails and hikes, if you love nature you don’t have to look very far. Having this much greenery around also makes the air smell sweeter and has the surroundings actually look beautiful when it rains, unlike the city which just looks gross. 

4) Wildlife
There is so much wildlife around. From the deer that walk through our yard daily, to the eagles and seals and birds and whales. You almost start to get used to it. It’s wonderful to be able to take a pause and notice the majestic beauty of all the animals around.


5) Depth of Relationships
This kind of dovetails with "The People", but I believe it’s worth stating as a separate line. I’m not sure if it’s the type of people that find themselves on Bowen, or the fact that it doesn’t seem like people are too busy and distracted to be present and connect, but it feels like relationships deepen quicker. There is an epidemic in the world of loneliness and feeling separated from people. Connection with others is the cure. Being on Bowen feels like a long overdue solution for life itself.

There is an epidemic in the world of loneliness and feeling separated from people.
Connection with others is the cure.
Being on Bowen feels like a long overdue solution
for life itself.
~ Harmony Shire & Aaron Davison

Can you have a successful off-island business, working primarily from Bowen? Lorraine McGregor is a business consultant, coach and growth strategist. She identifies barriers to growth in systems, products, people, and organizations and then help implement solutions to build a new road forward. Her husband, Rob, is an executive leadership coach who is working on his PhD in industrial marketing on Followership Intelligence in Sales Teams. Together, through Spirit West Management, they created and honed a set of tools that have helped people pinpoint and change habits that stop them from getting what they do want. They’re lucky to have clients they love on island, in the city, and in North America. 

Friends are what make Bowen and we are grateful to have Lorraine and Rob, helping make the Island such an awesome place to live.

Lorraine describes their ‘ Bowen Story’ as to why she and her husband, Rob, moved to Bowen:
My husband, Rob, and I moved to Bowen to find sanctuary from the noise and traffic of the mainland. Our roles in helping companies grow, as well as coaching in family businesses to work out roles, succession, conflict and selling the business, are intense. Yet what we’ve found here is community - people want to know us. They are ready to stop and talk in the midst of their walk, project, rumination on the beach, or weighing what to buy in a store. People on Bowen want to connect. I find that so enormously moving that every time it happens I feel deeply grateful to my husband for pushing me to move to this island.

Lorraine’s favourite five things about Bowen:

1)   The Bowen Island ferry line is my time to think, write, read, call or just watch the world.

2)   Our neighbours are there for us, to just drop by, lend a hand, or hang out.

3)    Conversations are real, authentic, heartfelt, and fascinating.

4)    Our views to Keats Island and Gibsons are endlessly changing and beautiful no matter what the weather.

5)    We already live in the place that everyone wants to holiday in.

People on Bowen want to connect.

I find that so enormously moving

that every time it happens I feel deeply grateful

to my husband for pushing me to move to this island.

~ Lorraine McGregor


As the creative director and a bartender at The Bowen Island Pub, Joshua Keith Young, has a fantastic memory –rarely forgetting people’s names or what they like to drink. He is also one of those individuals who makes everyone feel at home and appreciated. The perfect person to have behind the bar at your local pub! 

Joshua and his girlfriend moved to Bowen for three months.... two and a half years ago.  


Top Eight Things I Love About Bowen Island (Joshua Keith Young):

1)    Seemingly every time I go to the general store, I encounter at least one person I know. There's usually more than a few perfect 'hellos' and 'how you doings' as I walk through the produce aisle.... almost to the point that it feels like I'm on the Truman Show.

2)    I would never break driving laws on Bowen Island...not for moral reasons, but for the fact that all the peace officers are my friends, and I don't want to make things awkward the next time we see each other at the beach.


3)    Every time I take the Bowen Island ferry from the Mainland back to Bowen, it feels like I'm taking a vacation. I impatiently wait in a line up, take a boat through a beautiful seascape, just to land on one of the most beautiful and unique islands in the world.

4)    Surrounding a community by water has great social benefits.  Suburbias that border each other on the Mainland tend to have dirty side effects, such as crime and graffiti. On an island, the sense of community is more about tolerating and getting along with each other than natural competition with someone across an imaginary line.

5)    Bowen Island has a very diverse set of social demographics, all of which seem to get along with each other. There's not a lot of places in this world where a hippie, a retiree, and a movie star will sit at the pub for a beer, socialize, and see each other as equals.

6)    Single small businesses are respected and supported by committed citizens. Trades and fair deals are reached on a person’s word, as opposed to strict contracts based on distrust.

7)    Oddities are more respected than luxuries.  An $80,000 Mercedes Benz won't turn a single head, whereas a $200 beater car with a disgusting paint job is the bee's knees.

8)    Citizens of this small community, as many others, are conditioned to be comfortable with themselves as individuals. Instead of always to impress and define themselves in front of new people, they have become comfortable with who they are. Their genuine demeanour is reflected as such.





We can hike, kayak, swim, beachcomb,

watch for whales, and gaze up at eagles soaring, just out our back door.

~ Jacqui Massey

Jacqueline Massey has been hanging out on Bowen for a few decades now. As the Executive Director of the the Hearth: Arts on Bowen (formerly, Bowen Island Arts Council), Jacqui has witnessed a great many wonderful things on Bowen Island and is hard-pressed to limit what we love to ten.

Things We Love About Bowen [according to J. Massey, Arts Leader Extraordinaire]:

1)    The kindness and generosity of Islanders when you find yourself on a ferry bound for Horseshoe Bay and you realize you've left your wallet on your bedroom dresser.

2)    The wonderment of wandering in our woods, finding delight on the same paths you've meandered down before, time after time.

3)    Gourmet (and healthy if you so desire) food to go – at the Ruddy Potato and Artisan Eats – for those nights when cooking is not an option.

4)    The dark and stillness of the starry night.

Photo courtesy of Edward Wachtman 

5)    That we can hikekayak, swim, beachcomb, watch for whales, and gaze up at eagles soaring, just out our back door.

6)   Our Beer & Wine store that caters to everyone's needs.

7)    The Knick Knack Nook –and its volunteer warriors diverting abandoned stuff from landfills, and then investing in community groups and services.

8)   Ron Woodall – who reminds us through his cartoons that we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously.

9)    The ferry ride home to our idyllic island, especially after a frenetic day in the city.

10)    The passion and ingenuity of Islanders who deepen our lives through their art, music, writing, performances and who invite and challenge us all to explore our own creative selves.


Read more reasons why you’ll love being on Bowen Island in Parts One and Three of the Top Things we Love about Bowen.

Looking to buy or sell real estate on Bowen Island? This series of videos and our Essential Real Estate Reading blogs offer the detailed information you need to make an informed decision.

Do you have a ‘Bowen Story’?

What are the top five to 10 things you LOVE about Bowen Island!??

Let us know in the comments below...




For more information about how you can experience “The 11th Best Place to Live in the World” explore Tourism Bowen Island. For accommodations on Bowen, visit the Tourism website, which has a list of options.

For real estate enquiries, call or text me, Vaune Kolber, at 604.506.7534. Or visit my website Better on Bowen Real Estate. Current listings on Bowen are located here

You’re going to LOVE your new home! I love every minute of helping people buy/sell their homes on Bowen and in the Vancouver region.

I can also help you with referrals outside the Lower Mainland. Give me a call or text at 604.506.7534 to find out more.