Things to Do on Bowen Island: Top Things Residents Love About Bowen ~ Part 1

Why visit Bowen? Why buy on Bowen?
Located a 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay and ‘just off the coast of ordinary’, owen is a natural paradise with all the benefits of living in nearby Vancouver.

Whether you’re looking for a cool place to visit, seeking to connect with nature, community, and what’s truly meaningful in life, longing for the ideal place to raise your kids, or wondering how to have your own home and still live in the Lower Mainland, Bowen Island offers a place to be unlike anything else you’ll find.

As with many who visit or move to the Island, my husband and I ‘discovered’ Bowen Island through a friend (thank you Harmony Shire!). We fell in love with Bowen at first sight. From the moment, we first decided to ‘check out’ the Island to the day we moved in was less than four months. We bought our dream home –all for the price of a small two-bedroom condo in Vancouver (or thereabouts).

My mom also chose to live with us. Bowen Island is an ideal place for families and to raise kids. The lifestyle on Bowen is unrivaled and still accessible when one compares housing prices to other parts of the Lower Mainland. There’s a reason why the London Sunday Times called Bowen Island “the 11th Best Place to Live in the World.”

For our family, Bowen is truly a paradise –we’re literally living at the crossroads of ‘Adams and Eves.’  

There’s so much to love about Bowen. Residents and tourists alike, almost everyone has a story about why they love Bowen, their first visit, or why they moved here. For many, it is truly a magical place to be. 

For our family, Bowen is truly a paradise –we’re literally living at the crossroads of ‘Adams and Eves.’ We love it here.

To help give you a sense of what is so special, unique, magical, and dare I say paradisiac about Bowen, we’ve reached out in true Bowen fashion to a number of residents who gladly and without hesitation agreed to share the top five to ten things they love most about the Island.

No visit to Bowen is complete without a pause at Artisan Eats, located in Artisan Square, right next to our Better on Bowen office. With a warm inviting space, enticing offerings, inventive menu items, the best French fries, ‘can’t help myself, must have more’ house-made baked goods, and a mesmerizing view of the stunning Northshore Mountains, Artisan Eats is a place to relax, meet friends, and to just be. 

With her husband, Christophe Langlois, Julie Cree is the community-focused co-owner and talented entrepreneur behind this Bowen success. As Alexandra Gill of the Globe and Mail testifies, “of all my new Bowen Island discoveries, Artisan Eats Café & Fine Foods definitely tops the list.”

These are a few of Julie’s favorite things to do on Bowen Island…

1. Community – Every day I see at least one person I know, usually more…. many more. A greeting, a smile on the face, a small chat, a bit of gossip…. After 14 years here, I couldn’t imagine living any other way!

2.    Live Entertainment – With little ‘outing’ opportunities, a local band playing at ‘the Pub’, ‘Doc’s’’, the Legion, or the theatre is such a fun night out…. where again, I run into those familiar faces out for a good time.

3.  The Commute – I love my commute! Within 5 minutes I am at work, unless I’ve had to avoid a lot of deer on the road. I love seeing all of the trees go by en route and depending on whether or not I’m heading to work or back home, I will also gaze out at the ocean and mountains for a spell.

4. Summer – I love summer gatherings on one of our many small but beautiful beaches, where friends informally come together with nibbles and wine for sharing. At some point, each of us sits staring out at the ocean, mesmerized by the calm and beauty.

5. Our Market and Festivals  –  I love our markets and festivals; the Saturday Farmer’s Market at BICS and the  Tailgate Marketsin the parking lot, the Sunday Artisan Markets in the cove, Bowfest in Crippen Park, and most of all Applefest which has grown into a magical gathering of locals and visitors, generally on a cool but sunny fall day. The whole orchard fills with gourmet food, heritage apples, chatting neighbours, delighted children…and the apples…. so many apples in so many forms!  

I love my commute!

Within 5 minutes I am at work,

unless I’ve had to avoid a lot of deer on the road.

~ Julie Cree

As an Artist, Framer, and Marketing Consultant, Marie appreciates the community's connectedness. “Bowen has the best of both worlds!  Close to Vancouver (just a short 15 min ferry ride) and yet vastly different with a warm, intimate community"  Marie is also owner of Marie Neys Fine Art & Framing, and partner in Catching Stars Gallery has recently moved to Bowen (opening Summer 2018).

Marie’s five top things she loves about Bowen:

1. Discovering seashells on the floor of my car, instead of dirt, salt, and grime.

2. Introducing new people to the diversity of talented Bowen Artists. 

3. The generosity of spirit in the Bowen Community.

4. The unique businesses on Bowen.  

5. The closeness to Vancouver. 

There is something almost sacred

about swimming through the stars in the sea, beneath the stars in the sky. 

~ Chris Corrigan

Chris Corrigan is a Bowen resident you always appreciate meeting again and again. A long-time contributor to the community and a great conversationalist, Chris works with organizations, communities, and teams to address strategic challenges, using dialogic approaches to decision making. 

These are the top eight things Chris loves about Bowen:

1. The darkness – We live next to one of Canada’s earliest metropolitan areas and yet I have a dark sky. That means I can see the stars, and the Northern Lights (which I do, about six times a year). There is nothing more spectacular for me than a clear moonless night. And on summer nights when the bioluminescent algae (phosphorescence) are active in our waters, there is something almost sacred about swimming through the stars in the sea, beneath the stars in the sky.

2. The storms – On Bowen, we feel the rawness of the wind and cold, the lashing of the rain, and the silence of snowfall. Weather is not something to be merely endured, but to embrace. It energizes, terrifies, soothes, and leaves us awestruck with wonder.

3. Animals – We live on an island full of deer and slugs and ravens and eagles and owls set in a sea full of starfish and dolphins and seals and whales and salmon.

4. The deep history – We live on Nexwlélexwm, in Atl’kítsem/Txwnéwu7ts, at the edge of the Squamish Nation world. There is a deep history to this place, encoded in the physical landscape, whether it is the story of the twin sisters who became the mountains the English named The Lions, or the story of the two-headed sea serpent Sínulhkay who slashed the land in two and created what is now called Whytecliff. 

5. Our gathering places – We gather in traditional ways, over beer and whisky in the pubs, during community festivals and farmer’s markets, in coffee shops and restaurants, on the beaches or in the parks, in our churches and school gyms and little halls. We don’t have a community centre, so we make do with what we have. Community becomes more important than “centre”.

6. Our village – Snug Cove is a working village, not a ‘gussied up’ tourist trap. It is the place we come to buy our food, do our business, meet our neighbours. Its authentic character is due to the fact that is serves Islanders first, which makes it a fascinating experience for visitors who come to see what we’re all about.

7. Our neighbours – Like all small towns living intimately with people has its pros and cons. But at its best, we are a community of people who look out for each other and witness each other’s lives - the struggles and celebrations, births and deaths, comings and goings. We are almost all from somewhere else and this little island has become our place of deepest belonging. We are known here.

8. The change – Bowen changes. Sometimes slowly, sometimes fast. If you don’t like change, this isn’t place for you. But if you can steep yourself in the place, you become in sync with the changes that are happening. They aren’t always what you want, but over time as people come and go, you become more and more a part of what is happening, changing right along with Bowen.

We look out for one another.

~ Edward Wachtman

Edward Wachtman is “a long-time Bowen resident who loves the idiosyncrasies of Island life.” 

Edward's ‘What I LOVE about Bowen’  list in no particular order:

1. Bowfest – the entire day, from the parade to the closing of the beer tent.

2.  Remembrance Day – Bowen has one of the largest per capita turn-outs in Canada. The number of wreaths surrounding the Cenotaph at the end is amazing.

3. Darkness – the relatively absent artificial light makes nighttime real.  We can see the stars and marvel at the blue hued moon shadows.

4. Our sense of community – We look out for one another. What binds us together is stronger than what pulls us apart.

5. Our soothing, pristine environment – walking a forest trail on a clear, crisp autumn day. The scents and sounds of the fallen lives are a harbinger of the coming winter, a wonderful reminder of the cycle of life.

Andrea Clark is owner of Nectar Yoga and B&B. Nectar Yoga B&B offers modern beach-style cottages, daily yoga, meditation, on-site massages, a traditional Finnish sauna and delicious vegetarian breakfasts to their guests. Situated in a forested setting, the geodesic yoga dome is a picture-perfect structure for connecting to your inner peace and healing. Nectar Yoga B&B is also open to the Bowen community for daily yoga classes. 

They have many things that we love on Bowen that we recommend to their guests: And of course, there’s yoga in our dome, meditation, vegetarian breakfasts.

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 this Part One of the “Top 5 to 10 things People Love about Bowen” that we’ve added not just a second offering, but a third as well, which you can find here.

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.

What are the top 5 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

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.