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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Tasty Tour of Bowen Island's Food Offerings

Jan Stevens and her son Akira recently got a chance to go on a Savoury & Sweet Food Tour of Snug Cove, Bowen Island. Always wanting to be able to recommend fun activities to her guests, Jan was happy for this chance to get to know one of the many tours provided by Jody Lorenz, owner/operator of Bowen Island Tours, as well as deepen her knowledge of food offerings on Bowen.

The group met at the Visitor Information Centre at 2pm, a wonderful resource for visitors and locals alike. You can find maps, trail guides, Bowen merchandise and lots of helpful advice in this small cottage off Cardena Road. It was a gorgeous July day for strolling Snug Cove, and the selected restaurants were ready for the group’s arrival. The group was small, including Jan and Akira, a couple, and a freelance food writer.

The Snug Cafe's welcoming entrance sign


The first stop was local establishment The Snug Cafe, where the group sat outside under patio umbrellas sipping iced coffees. Jody served up the Snug’s sausage rolls, steak pies, and brownies, which Akira loved so much he made sure to pick one up later, before leaving Bowen.

Next, they stopped in to Candy in the Cove, the world’s smallest candy store, apparently as confirmed by Google. Owner Jan Chilvers was there to offer samplings of modern and vintage candy. If you take the tour, be prepared for a quiz on what is regarded as the oldest Canadian candy? A hint, it was popular in the 1800s.

Candy in the Cove's interesting candy selection

The next stops were a tour of the Bowen Island Beer & Wine Cellar, and carrot cake samplings at the Ruddy Potato deli. While circling back to the lower part of the Cove, Jody gave the group a tour of the Heritage Cottages in the Crippen Park orchard, featuring a display cottage replicating the swinging steamship days of Bowen’s past, and 100-year-old apple trees. Jan especially liked how, throughout the tour, dimension was added as Jody shared Bowen Island facts and history wherever they went, whether in Crippen Park and the Memorial Gardens, or walking past historic buildings like the cottages and the Library (old general store).

Rustique Bistro's lemonade (with "add Vodka" option)

A Niçoise salad served at Rustique Bistro


Next was French Paté and Niçoise salad, served by Celine Boyer of Rustique Bistro, followed by blueberry cream cheese gourmet toast at Branch & Butter on the pier. Jan was especially thrilled to have gluten-free pie at Lime & Moon Pie Company, also located on the pier. While serving, owner Stani Oben talked about the company’s organic ingredients and philanthropic policies.

Pie on the pier - a tasty offering by Lime & Moon Pie Company


Blueberry toast from Branch and Butter


After a walk through Crippen Park on the north side of the main street, enjoying views out to the lagoon and Howe Sound, the group made their way to a restaurant new to Bowen this winter, Barcelona Tapas & Wine Bar. They enjoyed sangria, and Jan was surprised at how much she liked an octopus dish. “The texture was more like chicken than squid, and the sauce was delicious.” Cocoa West truffles were enjoyed afterwards, for a final dessert.

Barcelona's soon-to-be famous sangria


While they didn’t go to every food-serving establishment in Snug Cove, it was probably a good thing; portions were big enough everywhere that by the end of the 3 hours (well, 3.5, they went overtime), the group was satiated, quite full, in fact. Jan and Akira thought it was a great sampling of what Bowen Island has to offer, and exposed the group to some really tasty dishes they might not think to try on their own. If after 60 years on Bowen Island Jan is impressed with the tour and her newfound knowledge of Snug Cove, our visitors would no doubt find it helpful to get to know the island through Jody's Bowen Island Tours.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Evergreen Cottage: A Multi-generational Dorman Family Dream on Bowen Island

The Evergreen Cottage in Dorman Bay is a much-loved vacation rental today, but few guests know that owner Maureen Armstrong has a family history on Bowen Island spanning four generations, many properties, and one dream — to own a place that would host visitors to the fair isle.

On the deck at the Evergreen Cottage, looking out towards West Vancouver


Her story begins with the birth of her great-grandfather, Jacob Dorman, in Istanbul (then Constantinople) in 1858. Son of an Engineer for the British government, Jacob joined the British army in India, then came to Canada via England in 1885. With his wife Sarah, they had ten children, and of them, Maureen’s grandmother was the third, born in Yale, BC. Ellen Dorman was reported to be the first white person born there.

“My great-grandfather, Jacob Dorman, settled to Bowen Island in 1890. He was a steam engineer by trade and bought a merry-go-round with a calliope that played three tunes, and operated it at the Snug Cove picnic grounds. During the steamship era, Bowen had as many as 5000 people on a summer weekend, coming over on the Lady Alexandra and the Lady Cynthia from Vancouver for the dances and company picnics, and some staying over in the Hotel and the many resort cottages.”

Jacob Dorman with a steam engine.
Photo courtesy Bowen Island Museum & Archives, donated by George Dorman

People enjoying Jacob Dorman’s carousel at Snug Cove picnic grounds.
Photo courtesy Bowen Island Museum & Archives, donated by Art and Margaret Dorman


In 1890 Jacob pre-empted 160 acres of land on Bowen Island, obtained title but then sold it, and obtained land in Snug Cove. He relinquished the land, and then moved back to England in 1895. The Dormans then returned to Vancouver five years later and settled on a land parcel in Dorman Bay as a family in 1905. Jacob’s dream was to build a small hotel on his waterfront property in the bay that now bears his name. Many of Jacob and Sarah’s ancestors are still living in the Dorman Bay area of Bowen Island.

Photograph is of Sarah Dorman and Jacob Dorman at Dorman’s Hill.
Photo courtesy of Bowen Island Museum & Archives, donated by George Dorman


Maureen’s grandmother picked one of the many parcels of land that her father Jacob bought, for her summer cottage, where she could be near the church and the village of Snug Cove. Maureen has fond memories of staying at her grandmother’s cottage in the summer with her parents, Gordon and Ruth Armstrong, enjoying visiting the beach, boating, horseback riding, hiking the trails, and fishing off the dock. Although the property was sold after Ellen’s death, the family’s enjoyment of the island prompted Maureen’s parents to buy a property in Dorman Bay to build their own family cottage, one that was also close to Snug Cove, with beautiful views of Howe Sound in front and five acres of private forest and trails behind.

Water view from the Evergreen Cottage dining table.


“My own children have been coming here all their lives and now my grandchildren enjoy coming to Bowen, now making us five generations of Dormans loving it here,” says Maureen.

“When I retired from our family business in Vancouver, I moved to Bowen and bought the property now called Evergreen Hall Guest House in Deep Bay, also known as Mannion Bay.” Maureen relates that it was built by the Union Steamship Company in the early nineteen forties, as a recreation hall for the guests staying across the road at the Evergreen Park Resort, (also known as the Mannion Bay Resort), which burned down in 1960. The Evergreen Hall, located just across the road from the resort, was bought by a Vancouver entrepreneur who wanted to turn the property into a retreat for city business people. He soon abandoned the idea and the property was bought and restored into a large family home before Maureen purchased it.

Maureen Armstrong toasting to a Bowen summer.

“I have been operating the Evergreen Hall Guest House since 2007 and have enjoyed living here as a full time resident of Bowen Island,” says Maureen. Although her great-grandfather never realized his dream of building a hotel in Dorman Bay, Maureen’s loyal guests can attest that her Evergreen Cottage and Evergreen Hall Guest House are as good a realization of that dream, allowing many to enjoy the island and community that Maureen’s family has loved and helped build over the generations.

Find more information and book the Evergreen Cottage by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Staff Profile: Lisa, Our Newest Cleaning Professional at Bowen Island Accommodations

We love the work our cleaners do for Bowen Island Accommodations. They are the backbone of our business, making sure our properties are in the best shape possible for our guests to enjoy while on vacation. We've had guests refer specifically to the cleanliness of our properties as the reason why they booked with Bowen Island Accommodations.

So at a recent staff dinner chez Jan Stevens, we discussed a blog entry idea: we thought it might interest guests to put faces and names to the hard-working cleaners, whose work we enjoy.

Jan Stevens (top) and the gang of Bowen Island Accommodations cleaning professionals


Our first Staff Profile is of Lisa, who has recently joined Bowen Island Accommodations this spring, 2017. We are grateful to have her on board!

BIA: How long have you been working for Bowen Island Accommodations?

Lisa: About 3 months

BIA: When and why did you move to Bowen?

Lisa: I’ve been on Bowen 10 years. I moved here because it’s a great environment for my kids.

BIA: What do you like best about working for BIA / why is it a good fit for you?

Lisa: The accommodations are lovely, clean and bright.. along with the fantastic views, they are great places to spend a few hours! The job is a good fit because of its flexibility.

BIA: What do you do, when you’re not working for BIA (other work, fun)?

Lisa: I run Bowen Island Herb Salts, which involves growing a large selection of herbs in my Bowen Island garden, processing and putting the herbs into different Mediterranean sea salt recipes that I then package in glass salt grinders. We then market the grinders both on and off island.



BIA: What’s the biggest surprise a guest has left for you (good, bad, totally weird…)?

Lisa: A great tip :)

BIA: Which BIA property would you most like to stay in, and why?

Lisa: That is hard to choose.. they are all great.

BIA: What’s your favourite thing about Bowen Island? Least favourite thing?

Lisa: My favourite thing about Bowen Island is the quiet and natural environment. My least favourite is the ferry.

BIA: What’s your favourite Bowen Island event?

Lisa: Bowfest.

Awaiting the floats at BowFest

Black Sheep Morris Dancers at BowFest


BIA: What would you hope visitors to Bowen Island could take away from their experience here?

Lisa: An appreciation of the natural environment on and around Bowen Island.

Thanks, Lisa, for taking our interview, and we look forward to trying Bowen Island Herb Salts

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Parking & Ferrying in Snug Cove, Bowen Island

Bowen Island’s village centre and ferry dock happen to be in the same place, Snug Cove. When you add cars into the mix, for about five minutes every hour, it can feel like you’re in downtown Vancouver, not on a quiet island. With a large summer population and more amenities popping up in Snug Cove (and limited parking), where you’re supposed to go and how you’re supposed get there can be as clear as mud.

The Bowen Island Municipality has put together a couple of handy guides to help newcomers and old-timers alike: the Ferry Guide, a recent parking flyer, and the Transportation Guide are featured here.

Here's the Ferry Guide: (Click here to see larger PDFs). This is a great little flyer to remind ferry users about line-up etiquette.



Here's the Parking flyer: (Click here to see a larger PDF). This is very handy for visitors too, as often being able to plan ahead where you will park while you shop will take the stress out of heading to the Cove, especially if you happen to arrive during "rush minute" (ferry loading time), or if you're parking for more than two hours.



And here's the Transportation Guide  (Click here to view a larger PDF). Other great options for getting to and around Bowen Island are listed here. Why not take the bus? A taxi? A water taxi? Or two wheels... check out Zoom Zoom Bowen for scooter rentals.

 Bowen Island Municipality parking flyer


Find these and other handy links in regards to transportation on the right sidebar of the Bowen Island Municipality webpage: http://www.bimbc.ca 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Bowen Island History Mystery: United by a 100 Year-old Painting

In 2005, Jan Stevens established her Bowen Island home as what is now a popular waterfront vacation rental, the Lazy Bowen Hideaway. Her vacation rental business expanded in 2013 after she began to manage additional properties, and that is when Bowen Island Accommodations was created.


The first property owner Jan connected with was Charles McNeill from New York. How she met Charles, the owner of the Eastman Waterfront Retreat and the Eastman Waterfront Cottage, begins with a mysterious antique oil painting that is nearly 100 years old.

In 2006, while Jan was still working as an interior designer in Nevada (her other home turf) a sales rep visited. Eventually, Jan’s conversation with Lori Conway progressed to a discussion about Bowen Island and the Lazy Bowen Hideaway.

Bowen Island struck a chord with Lori. She recalled that her Great-Grandfather Thomas Talton Langlois developed property on Bowen Island in the early 1900s. Where on Bowen she didn’t know exactly.  Lori brought in some old Langlois photos and Jan recognized the names of these early island settlers, as many Bowen roads had been named after them.

Thomas Talton Langlois  1867- 1937

At this point during their visit, history and eventually mystery came alive when Lori spoke of a Bowen painting that was hanging in her mother’s New Mexico home garage. Thomas had so loved Bowen Island that he commissioned a Bowen artist to paint a landscape of his waterfront property, which he named Langlois Bay. The artist, whose name was not known to Lori or her mother, portrayed Thomas’ yacht in the distance, the Loalinda. Maybe the landscape would reveal where Thomas had settled on Bowen?




Upon learning that Jan had a connection with Bowen Island, Lori’s mom gifted the painting to her. Sight unseen, this piece of historic Bowen art was shipped from New Mexico back home to Bowen. After opening the package, Jan found it to be perfectly suited, and mounted it above her fireplace in the Lazy Bowen Hideaway. It was a picture-perfect focal point to share with her guests.


This painting was also the focal point of two intriguing questions, launching a series of events that soon threaded mystery into Jan’s connection with Bowen. The artist was still unknown to her, the signature on the painting unclear. But something else had aroused Jan’s curiosity: there is no place on Bowen called Langlois Bay.

Jan and her son Akira were determined to uncover the truth. One summer, they visited all the waterfront viewpoints they could, yet failed to locate a view that matched the Langlois Bay painting. They concluded that the artist had simply considered the best of Bowen and all surrounding views to create the painting.

After returning to Bowen the following summer, Jan’s neighbours invited her to a party. Still enveloped by thoughts of the mysterious artist and the Langlois Bay painting, Jan eagerly chatted with a guest at the Atherton’s party about her search for answers. It was then that Jan and this guest dashed next door to the Lazy Bowen Hideaway to view the painting. Was he familiar with this Langlois Bay viewpoint? Yes!


The next day, he took Jan by rowboat to the very spot, just north of the Mount Gardner Road government dock. To Jan’s delight, the view matched the painting. There was little Flower Island in the centre, Hutt Island on its left and Mount Garibaldi in the distance. With that view in sight, and with turning back to look at the land, Jan had finally discovered Bowen Island’s Langlois Bay.


Langlois Bay with Mt. Gardner in the distance.

But one answer continued to elude her: who was the Bowen Island artist that Thomas commissioned almost one hundred years ago? She’d never been able to decipher that signature.

At that time, unbeknownst to Jan, her sleuthing had stirred up yet another fortuitous connection. A woman by the name of Linda Froese was researching her family history and did an internet search for the Langlois surname. She came across a blog post written by Jan about “A beautiful summer vacation on Bowen.” In this post, Jan had written about her newly acquired painting and that it was commissioned by Thomas Langlois. As luck would have it, Thomas was a cousin of Linda's grandmother, Alma!

Alma Morrison (Linda's Grandmother)
Alma picking fruit on Bowen Island
Linda contacted Jan to ask if the painting had a signature and offered that even if it wasn't signed, she had a strong hunch about who the artist was, and had even more information to share about the mystery of the Langlois Bay painting.

As it turned out, Linda was related to Thomas and of course to Lori, who had given Jan the illustrious painting. Jan introduced Linda of northern British Columbia to Lori of Southern California via email. It is a small world with no boundaries after all, especially on Bowen Island.

Much storytelling ensued. More Bowen Island history surfaced for Jan and light was shed on the secretive identity of the artist Thomas had commissioned to paint his Langlois Bay.

Linda’s grandmother, Alma, had grown up on Bowen after moving from Detroit. Thomas, being Alma's cousin, was raised in her household. They were both friends with Mack Eastman from their childhood in Detroit, who visited her family on the island. Mack married Antonia Larribe Eastman, a painter who trained in Paris and who most certainly painted the scene for Thomas.

Center is Antonia and right is Mack Eastman

Linda mentioned that Mack’s grandson, Charles McNeill, owns a property on Bowen and might it be the Langlois Bay waterfront property? Jan called Charles in New York to introduce herself and to share all the synchronicity revolving around the painting, her meeting Linda Froese (sounds like rose), and might his grandmother be the artist? Was Charles the link to solving the mystery artist? Jan, Linda and Charles arranged a meeting on Bowen and were delighted to discover their interconnections, all starting with the painting of Langlois Bay.

Charles Ian McNeill traveling to Bowen Island.

That's how Jan and Charles met, and later formed a partnership where Jan would manage the two vacation rentals on his family’s property. The Eastman properties were likely part of the land holdings sold by Thomas T. Langlois but the location is actually a few lots south of Langlois Bay, on the other side of the Mt. Gardner dock.  Did Mack, Antonia, and Alma arrange these new friendships from the other side? 

Charles McNeill (right) with his sister and brother,
at the Eastman Waterfront Retreat

Charles McNeill writes about his family history, the property, and Antonia's art in the Eastman Waterfront Cottage:
Painting by Antonia Larribe Eastman
“Most of the paintings in the cottage were done by my grandmother, Antonia Larribe Eastman, born and raised in Paris, and a highly accomplished painter who studied with Fernand Léger. The furniture was also painted by hand by Antonia.

Antonia's work influenced by Fernand Leger
My grandfather, Samuel Mack Eastman, discovered this spot on Bowen Island in 1918 when he came to recuperate from an injury sustained in World War I while serving in Canada’s army. He liked it so much that he bought this acre of oceanfront property for $300 that same year! Mack and his wife Antonia built a cabin here and my mother, Isabelle, spent her early summers here from the 1920s on, and all of the summers of her later years. This was my mother’s favourite spot on Earth. The new cabin was built around 1950 and continues to serve us well.

Painting by Antonia Larribe Eastman
The Eastman Waterfront Cottage was passed down to me and my wife Joan. We bought the property next door and built the first certified Platinum green home on the island in 2009. Now, we have a spectacular modern retreat and a vintage cottage, both popular Bowen Island waterfront vacation rentals.”

Painting of the first Eastman cabin, by Antonia Larribe Eastman




Thursday, February 23, 2017

Escape from Hawaii: Why We Come Back to Bowen Island

With every new guest who stays with us at Bowen Island Accommodations, we hope they come to love Bowen Island as much as we do. So when guests return for another stay, we delight in knowing that they do feel this way.

But when return guests make the trip from lovely Hawaii to Bowen, then we're really curious.

Brett and his family are staying this spring for their second time at the Lazy Bowen Hideaway, and have kindly taken the time to tell us about what makes Bowen Island special to them (enough to leave their tropical paradise for our temperate one).

Brett & family on the ferry to Bowen Island


BIA: Why do you and your family come to Bowen Island? Especially considering, you live in Hawaii! And many of us here would love to have a warm winter or spring vacation there.

Brett: We usually come during spring break (yes, there are also "seasons" in Hawaii), which is in March.  It is our alternative island as a getaway and hideaway from anything Americana, especially in these days, to enjoy the majestic landscape of British Columbia.  Also, when we are on an island, we are much more refrained from just getting behind the wheel and driving all day, which defeats the purpose of a relaxing vacation.

Exploring rain forest trails at Killarny Lake.


BIA: What’s your favourite thing to do here? What’s your kids’ favourite thing to do here?

Brett: Absolutely nothing. But if we do venture out, a stroll or jog around Killarney Lake is a must. My wife loves visiting the quaint local shops and farms, plus the museum. My kids often think they are on the Thomas the Train island (Sodor) from the cartoon show, although the ferry terminal is a good substitute. Otherwise, they just play in nature, from skipping rocks to looking for wildlife. Before I forget, we can not overemphasize how friendly the locals have been, and we hope we are doing the same, welcoming visitors in Hawaii.

Family time in the forest


BIA: Any favourite activities off-Bowen that you do on your way up, or as a day trip?

Brett: We usually spend a few days in Whistler. We can not imagine a day trip from Bowen Island. Why would we want to leave unless we have to?


BIA: Any unexpected surprises during your last trip (good or bad)?

Brett: Can't think of anything bad...although I do get nervous sometimes about not being able to get on a ferry when the line is long.


BIA: What’s your favourite place to eat on Bowen, or do you cook at the Hideaway?

Brett: We usually do takeouts (Ruddy Potato) or buy produce to cook at home.


BIA: Why did you choose Bowen Island Accommodations / Lazy Bowen Hideaway?

Brett: It has everything we imagined in a rustic seaside cottage, and more (the modern conveniences...). Jan has been very responsive and takes excellent care of the property with a designer's touch.

Skipping rocks at Eagle Cliff Beach,
with the Lazy Bowen Hideaway in the background.


BIA: Any recommendations for folks new to vacationing on Bowen Island (preparations, things to do, places to go, what to bring)?

Brett: We are selfish in that we want Bowen Island to be a "hidden" destination, like the many places we wish the tourists had yet to discover in Hawaii. Other than being prepared for the colder weather, I would say the best Bowen Island experience is not to have a to-do-list: there are only so many roads, but the trails will lead the visitors to wonderful memories.

*****

Thanks so much for taking the time, Brett. We love to hear from returning guests about what makes Bowen Island special to them!

Do you have a special connection with Bowen Island as a vacation spot, and would you like to share your story? Click here to email us - we'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Art Galleries of Bowen Island

Bowen Island is an island of artists. We have shows, arts events, paint nights, theatre productions for both adults and children, music events, and more. In the visual arts, we have enough galleries to fill your day or weekend visit. Some are small, in private homes, and others have regular hours for the public.


Here is a list of galleries to check out (see websites for hours):


  • Bowen Island Arts Council: The Gallery @ Artisan Square. Juried & open shows. 589 Artisan Lane. (604) 947-2454. (New Cove Commons building location for Autumn/Winter 2017, in Snug Cove)
Bowen Island Arts Council,
Gallery @ Artisan Square

  • Arts Pacific Gallery (Artisan Square). Multiple artists & media. 587 Artisan Lane. 604-947-0489
ArtsPacific Gallery

  • Gilt Gallery (Artisan Square). David & Holly Graff, gilded glass, paintings, installations. 555 Prometheus Place. 604-618-1409.
Copper & Gold Vases,
by Holly & David Graff
(Gilt Gallery)

  • Juniper Studio Gallery (Artisan Square). Vikki Fuller, oil paintings. 582 Artisan Lane. 778-888-9640
Nuit Bleu by Vikki Fuller
(Juniper Studio Gallery)

Mugs by Jeanne Sarich
(Cloudflower Clayworks)

  • The Sign Studio (Artisan Square). A shop specializing in hand-painted and wood signs; with displays of paintings by Jane Dunfield, Diane Buchanan, Reidun van Kervel, Coral Louie and others. 571 Artisan Lane. 604-947-9803
Reflections
by Coral Louie

  • Fotofilmic//Pulp Gallery (Snug Cove). International film-based and analogue photography. 461 Bowen Island Trunk Road. 
Fotofilmic//Pulp Gallery
in Snug Cove

Thunderbird by
Simon Winadzi James
(Kolus Art Studio)

  • Coastal Patterns Gallery (West side). Gregg Simpson, abstract & surrealist art. By appointment. 897 Windjammer Road. 604-947-9408
Paintings by Gregg Simpson
(Coastal Patterns Gallery)

  • Venture West Native Arts (Deep Bay).  Authentic BC Native artworks, various artists. By appointment. 472 Melmore Road. 778-839-8754. Often has a table on Sundays at the Summer Market (marina lawn). 
Venture West Native Arts
(home gallery)

  • Bowen Island Metalworks (Snug Cove). Stacy Beamer, Daniel Waefler. Metal sculpture, furnishings. 1101 Miller Road. 604-309-1058. If the red door is open, pop in! Otherwise, call for appointment.
Garden Gate by Stacy Beamer
(Bowen Island Metalworks)



Other places to buy and view art & crafts:
Vendors at the
Seaside Marketplace
(USSC marina lawn)

Farmers' Market at the
Bowen Island Community School


Shop from home for Bowen arts at these two sites as well:

For theatre, dance, and other performance arts, see our Events page, as well as Tourism Bowen Island.