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Bowen Island

Trip Planner Canada  /  British Columbia  /  Bowen Island
(4.3/5 based on 95+ reviews for 6 attractions)
Things to do: adventure, parks, nightlife
Bowen Island, British Columbia, is an island municipality in Howe Sound, is part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District, and is an island included within the jurisdiction of the Islands Trust. Approximately 6 km wide by 12 km long, the island at its closest point is about 3 km west of the mainland. There is regular ferry service from Horseshoe Bay, as well as three water taxi services. The population of 3,402 is supplemented in the summer by roughly 1,500 visitors, as Bowen Island is a popular vacation home location for British Columbians. About 500 workers and over 200 students commute to offices and schools on the mainland each day. The island has a land area of 49.94 km2 (19.28 sq mi).Indigenous peoplesThe name for Bowen Island is Nex̱wlélex̱m in the Squamish language of the Squamish people. The Squamish peoples used and occupied the area around Howe Sound including Bowen Island. Areas such as Snug Cove and a few other parts of the island were used as campsites for hunting and gathering trips.Historically they would use the warmer spring and summer months to travel to resource gathering sites and move from their permanent winter villages. The strip of land between Bowen and Finisterre Islands has a name that translates to "Fast Drumming Ground". The tide rushing in and out is reminiscent of the sound of drums beating quickly. The name "Kwém̓shem" is used for Hood Point. Bowen is still used by people from Squamish and Musqueam for deer hunting. Into the 20th century Bowen Island was actively used by Squamish people for deer and duck hunting, fishing and, later, wage jobs. In conversations with Vancouver archivist Major Matthews in the 1950s, August Jack Khatsahlano recalls knowing several Squamish who worked for whalers on the island at the turn of the 20th century. In a conversation with City of Vancouver archivist JA Matthews, Khatsahlano himself recalls deer hunting on Bowen, saying that at one time he took the biggest deer in British Columbia from the island, weighing in at 195 pounds.
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