Staff Profile: Farewell to Davina, BIA Cleaning Professional Extraordinaire!

Posted: Wed Oct 11 18:33:00 UTC 2017

When we've had a staff member for three years, and know and value their work as we do Davina's, it's difficult to say goodbye. But nothing lasts forever and Davina is retiring from cleaning in order to make time for her growing proofreading business, and in that we wish her all the best. Find out more about her business here: Luckily, she's still available in a cleaning emergency, and that's great to know, especially in the high season when we need all the help we can get.

Indeed it makes sense that this is her path, as we've seen her fine attention to detail in all the properties and how it translates into beautiful spaces and contented guests. Before she left this fall, we asked for an interview, to share her Bowen Island story with you all... and Davina was happy to oblige.


BIA: When and why did you move to Bowen? Where did you move from?
Davina: I moved to Bowen the end of November, 2011, from Kitsilano to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle. I fell in love with Bowen in 2000 and visited frequently. Once I became self-employed, I realized that I could do that from Bowen and not have to commute to the Mainland every day.

BIA: What do you like best about working for BIA / why is it a good fit for you?
Davina: Being in such beautiful places, prepping for the guests, imagining their pleased looks when they first check in for their vacation. It's a good fit for me because I enjoy cleaning, am service-oriented, and particularly enjoy the staging details.

Jan (top) and the team at our summer 2017 potluck, with Davina on the right.

BIA: How would you describe your cleaning style, or cleaning philosophy?
Davina: Cleaning, to me personally, equates to spreading TLC and good energy around a space. I sense each space as a living being and feel compelled to nurture that space. A clean space is empowering to those who spend time in it. An unclean, cluttered space has the opposite effect.

BIA: What do you do, when you're not working for BIA (other work, fun)?
Davina: When I am not working for BIA, I proofread advertising material for local agencies and edit novels of authors who are referred to me. I spend a lot of time on the trails with Zoe, my teacup Yorkie, and dining in local restaurants. Most of the time, living on Bowen puts me in vacation mode!

BIA: What's the biggest surprise a guest has left for you (good, bad, totally weird…)?
Davina: The biggest surprise a guest has left me is a $20 tip.

BIA: Which BIA property would you most like to stay in, and why?
Davina: I have stayed in the Eastman Cottage twice. I love the remote location and the expansive view of the water and Hutt Island. I love the cozy cottage feel of this location.

BIA: What's your favourite thing about Bowen Island? Least favourite thing?
Davina: My favourite thing about Bowen Island is the close access to trails, beaches, the close-knit community, the silence, and lack of streetlights at night. My least favourite thing is running for the ferry and rushing around during shopping trips to the Mainland to ensure catching the ferry back home at a suitable time.

BIA: What's your favourite Bowen Island event?
Davina: My favourite Bowen Island events are the Bowen Island Community Choir Christmas and spring concerts; I sing in the choir and it's a wonderful experience connecting with fellow choristers and enjoying the buildup during the week leading up to the concert and of course, being up on stage singing to a wonderful audience.

BIA: What would you hope visitors to Bowen Island could take away from their experience here?
Davina: I would hope that visitors feel pleasantly re-energized after visiting Bowen Island and recognize that this oasis is just a short ferry ride from the Mainland for more relaxation.


Thank you, Davina, for your years with Bowen Island Accommodations, and we wish you success with your home business, Shades of Crimson!

What Wood is Good? Building Safe Indoor Fires

Posted: Wed Oct 04 23:36:00 UTC 2017

Fire season is coming up once more, and most of our guests will be looking forward to building a cozy fire indoors, a luxury we are allowed on Bowen Island, but is becoming a rarity in most cities as homes and building codes modernize.

Enjoy a romantic fire... safely.

We've shared with you in the past why wood is the price of gold out here, and you can re-read that blog post here: Why Firewood Doesn't Grow On Trees.

What we'd like to emphasize in this post is why it's so important to only burn the proper wood in fireplaces and wood stoves. With the cost of wood being so high, it may be tempting to gather wood from outside, but here's why it's a bad idea for your safety, respiratory health, and for our vacation rental homes more generally.

Gathered wood from the forest is not dry enough.
When we say wood needs to be "seasoned," it means having been stored in a ventilated dry area for about a year, so that the moisture in the wood and sap is mostly gone when we burn it. This is important because trying to burn "green" wood, (wood that's been collected from the forest, or unseasoned firewood, for example), results in excessive smoke, particulates being released, and a fire that's difficult to start and keep lit. Fires made of green wood also do not reach a hot enough temperature, and therefore deposit creosote into chimneys, increasing the potential for a dangerous chimney fire.

Branches and fallen wood are not properly seasoned to burn indoors.

Beach wood/driftwood causes toxic gases.
Burning the salty driftwood that you find on the beach releases carcinogenic gases from the chlorine in the wood. Apart from being a risk to you if you inhale the gases, releasing it into the environment is no good for others who might inhale it as well. On top of the danger, it's possible that the smoke from burning driftwood could corrode some metals found in wood stoves. So please, never collect and burn driftwood.

Leave it on the beach - driftwood is dangerous to burn.

Other things to never burn:

  • Pressure-treated wood
  • Wood pallets
  • Garbage
  • Forest debris

And please remember...
Outdoor burning is never allowed on any of the properties, at any time of year. This is for your safety, the safety of the property, and in respect to neighbours in the area.

What can I burn?
Please, only burn the firewood or long-lasting packaged logs we provide at our properties. If you want to burn more than what we provide, buy dry, seasoned wood or packaged logs meant for indoor burning, available in bundles at mainland gas stations or other reputable stores. While you likely won't find dry log bundles for sale on Bowen, the General Store and Irly Building Centre on Bowen Island sometimes sell compressed logs meant for fireplaces and wood stoves as well.

Note: In addition to providing enough wood* for your evening fire we also have log bundles for sale at the Lazy Bowen Hideaway and Lazy B Waterfront Suite. They are 20.00 (includes tax), counted up and charged to you after your stay.


We appreciate you taking the time to read about indoor fire safety. Our hope is that you enjoy safe, warm, and wonderful fires during your stay in the colder season.

After you build your safe fire, you can rest easy and put up your feet!

* Enough wood for an evening fire means 4 logs per night plus kindling and paper.

Interview: Twenty Years Visiting and Loving Bowen Island

Posted: Sat Sep 30 17:51:00 UTC 2017

We love hearing from guests who choose Bowen Island again and again for their vacation getaways, as we know they love it as much as we do. Every now and then we like to ask them what, specifically, they love about this special place. Robert, who, with his wife, has stayed many times with Bowen Island Accommodations, kindly agreed to answer our questions about their Bowen Island experiences.


BIA: Where is home for you, and why do you choose to vacation on Bowen Island?
Robert: My wife and I live in Port Coquitlam and have visited Bowen Island at least twice per year for close to 20 years. At first we would just do day trips and have dinner in Horseshoe Bay to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Our kids were just young then and we would go usually on a Saturday with our two Basset hounds to walk around the Killarny Lake trail, and also visit Dorman Point. The trails were very pleasant to walk, the meadow area along the Crippen trail has been a favourite spot for us.

BIA: What's your favourite thing to do here?
Robert: We often bring our inflatable canoe to paddle in Tunstall Bay,  and we usually always include a visit to the Cape Roger Curtis area as well to walk the trails there.

Robert and his wife have been vacationing on Bowen Island for over 20 years

BIA:You've stayed many times at the Hollybarry Cottage (a vacation rental until 2016), twice at the Lazy Bowen Hideaway, once at the Lazy B Waterfront Suite, and twice at the Eastman Waterfront Cottage. What have you enjoyed about these places, and do you have a favourite?
Robert: I would have to say our favourite place to stay now is the Eastman Waterfront Cottage. We enjoy the close proximity to the water with all the properties, and we find the people that have homes locally are very pleasant. We have always felt welcome.

For several years we would stay at Hollybarry Cottage during Easter and then at Island Thyme suite on the opposite side of Bowen during the September Long weekend. This was our family tradition. Sadly, Island Thyme suite has new owners, and we have not tried vacationing there under the new owners' term. We were first introduced to the Lazy Bowen Hideaway when the HollyBarry cottage was not available one Easter weekend. We decided to try the Eastman Waterfront Cottage as well, as we were comfortable trying another property managed by Jan as we knew it would be clean and well appointed.

Robert's family swimming the waters around Bowen Island

BIA: What's your favourite place to eat on Bowen, or do you cook at your residence?
Robert: We do cook most of our meals at the cabin when we stay on the island. We just find it to be more relaxing to stay at home and prepare our own meals and have more family time together. The best views are often at the cottage! We have ordered takeout from a couple of the restaurants on the island and enjoyed the meals at the cottage, taking in the view.

So much to see around Howe Sound

BIA: With many vacation rental offerings here, why do you choose Bowen Island Accommodations?
Robert: We like using Bowen Island Accommodations as Jan has a good support team, she is very prompt with her replies to vacation requests, and we just find the process to be very organized and effortless!

There are trails here for all the family members to enjoy.

BIA: Any recommendations for folks new to vacationing on Bowen Island (preparations, things to do, places to go, what to bring)?
Robert: My recommendation to people wanting to vacation on the island is to bring a variety of clothing to be outside during all types of weather, and make sure to bring a camera. We also bring movies, books and/or games from home that we've always been meaning to use, but don't seem to have time to when we are at home.

Also, we always bring our coffee french press, usually stop for muffins and bring some nice wine. Staying for two nights is a must, but three nights is better!

The ferry service is excellent, we have never had more than a one sailing wait even at the busiest of times! We might have been lucky, but we don't mind waiting as it isn't a very long turnaround for the ferry.


Thank you to Robert for taking the time to answer our questions, and we so appreciate his love of Bowen Island, going back 20 years!

Staff Profile: Anne

Posted: Wed Sep 20 22:49:00 UTC 2017

Last summer we interviewed Lisa, our newest cleaning professional. This fall we introduce you to Anne, our longest-standing cleaning professional, whose attention to detail and focus on guest experience makes her work with Bowen Island Accommodations so valuable. When you see the cleanliness of our vacation rental homes, it's due to the keen eye of cleaners like Anne -- most of whom, if not all, have been trained by her over the years.

BIA: How long have you been working for Bowen Island Accommodations?
Anne: 5 years

BIA: What do you like best about working for BIA / why is it a good fit for you?
Anne: What I like best: working as part of a team of cleaners; the individuality of each property and the waterfront locations; satisfaction of contributing to making it a clean and inviting place for the next guests. Why is it a good fit for me? After retiring from office work, the part-time work of cleaning vacation rentals keeps me physically active.

BIA: How would you describe your cleaning style, or cleaning philosophy?
Anne: I put myself in the shoes of guests and aim to provide a clean and comfortable environment for their stay.

BIA: What's the biggest surprise a guest has left for you (good, bad, totally weird…)?
Anne: I have not come across any real surprises, but there is always the suspense before entering the house, whether guests left the place as they found it. Of course, when guests leave a tip for the cleaning staff, that is a pleasant surprise.

Which BIA property would you most like to stay in, and why?
Anne: The Waterfront Suite! I love the closeness to the ocean and the decks.

BIA: When and why did you move to Bowen? Where did you move from?
Anne: 1979 when our son was 4, we moved from a high-rise in Vancouver's West End to our present house, which was a cabin that was raised by one storey and was partially renovated. Bowen appealed to us because of the rural character and being an island. And the house prices were much less than in the city, making it possible for us to own our home. Bowen had the same appeal for us then as it has today for young families; it is a wonderful community for raising children.

Anne (centre) & Jan (top) and the BIA team of professional cleaners

BIA: What do you do, when you're not working for BIA (other work, fun)?
Anne: I run a small B&B, using the guest room in our house to offer accommodation with breakfast. In my spare time, I like going for walks, I love to swim in the ocean in the summer and ride my bicycle in the city, enjoying the bike routes along the Vancouver waterfront. During the colder months, I don't spend as much time outside and I knit socks and read.

BIA: What's your favourite thing about Bowen Island? Least favourite thing?
Anne: Favourite: Beaches, forests, wild berries.
Least favourite: Days of rain and darkness.

BIA: What's your favourite Bowen Island event?
Anne: Bowfest.

BIA: What would you hope visitors to Bowen Island could take away from their experience here?
Anne: Closeness to nature, serenity and friendly encounters with the community.

A Tasty Tour of Bowen Island's Food Offerings

Posted: Thu Jul 13 00:23:00 UTC 2017

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.

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

Posted: Wed Jul 12 00:01:00 UTC 2017

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.

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

Posted: Tue Jul 04 18:52:00 UTC 2017

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

Parking & Ferrying in Snug Cove, Bowen Island

Posted: Tue Jun 20 22:46:00 UTC 2017

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: 

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

Posted: Wed Mar 29 01:32:00 UTC 2017

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

Escape from Hawaii: Why We Come Back to Bowen Island

Posted: Thu Feb 23 20:37:00 UTC 2017

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!